Picture this. Minutes ago, you got off Alpine, one of the five high-speed lifts at Copper Mountain, and are now on your way to Far East, one of three black diamond trails on the face of the mountain. A cloudless blue sky is overhead and untracked powder awaits your descent. You slip over the edge, linking a dozen “S” turns in the newly fallen snow. To your left and right are friends who’ve accompanied you, some on skis, some on snowboards. Floating through 30 more turns, you all reach the bottom, each sporting ear-to-ear grins as you make your way back to the lift for a repeat performance.
Copper Mountain has been rewarding snow sport enthusiasts with moments like the above since opening in late November 1972. Shortly after its debut it didn’t take long for the Summit County resort to find itself on the radar of Front Range, out-of-state and international skiers that were looking for a new destination that didn’t require going over Vail Pass, Loveland Pass or Berthoud Pass.
Just 77 miles west of Denver the resort—at 2,490 skiable acres—is one of the largest skiing and snowboarding resorts in Colorado. Thanks to topography that naturally divides the terrain into three distinct ability levels, the mountain makes it easy for experts to stay to the left, intermediates to stay in the center and beginners to stay to the right. Over 140 marked trails are served by 23 lifts that rapidly whisk skiers and boarders uphill.
Four bowls—Spaulding Bowl, Upper Enchanted Forest, Copper Bowl and Union Bowl—invite expert and advanced two-plankers and snowboarders to explore this formidable foursome of double black diamond playgrounds, while Union Meadows thrills adventurers with single black diamond terrain. With an average annual snowfall of 300 inches, five terrain parks, a season stretching from mid-November through mid-April, a 2,601-vertical drop and panoramic views of the Tenmile Range, it’s no wonder why the resort is so appealing.
Understandably, seeing that guests have a fantastic time is the mission of Powdr Corporation (Powdr), owners of the resort. The company, whose mission statement reads “deliver memorable experiences, enhance people’s lives and have fun doing it,” bills itself as an adventure lifestyle company that believes “there is nothing better for the soul than to live a balanced life full of adventure.” Powdr, who portfolio includes Eldora Mountain Resort near Boulder, Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, Boreal Mountain Resort in California and Vermont’s Killington Resort, strives to provide people not only with authentic adventures centered around experiential programming, but also have resorts focused on sustainability.
“It is a really special company,” says Megan Fearnow, senior vice president, marketing services at Powdr. “The job of our resorts is to enable people to play outside, but I am absolutely inspired by making sure that our playgrounds and those environments are going to be around not only for us, but also for my kids, and for my children’s children.”
Fearnow, who moved with her husband to Denver from her hometown of Boston in 1998, didn’t find her way to Powdr until 2015. Prior to adding the Park City, Utah-based firm to her resume, she first put her well-honed strategic planning and marketing skills to work at McClain-Finlon Advertising, where she spent 10 years. Her next stop was Factory Design Labs, where she employed her skills for six years. Seeking a re-boot, she left Factory Design Labs in December 2014 to launch More Mavericks, a consultancy enterprise, which led to her landing at Powdr.
“Essentially my business was brand building and social responsibility all in the same breath,” added Fearnow. “It was the perfect moment in time for them and for me because they wanted to build and strengthen the brands within their portfolio.”
After meeting John Cumming, CEO; Wade Martin, President and Chief Revenue Officer; and Tim Brennwald, executive vice president and chief operating officer; transitioning to Powdr was easy.
“They were basically about delivering amazing experiences at awesome places, but equally important was taking care of the environment and making a difference,” Fearnow explains. “I was at a time in my professional life and personal life where I wanted to only work with people and brands that were like-minded. Powdr really resonated with me.”
Since coming on board she’s taken her enthusiasm for effecting change and turbocharged it, lending her abilities to furthering the reach and impact of Powdr’s Woodward Experiences. Introduced in 1970, the summer camps focus on inspiring the young attendees to thrive through creative expression in sport, technology and music.
“I’m a mom, so building confidence in kids is a really, really key thing I’m passionate about,” says Fearnow. “Empowering kids, it was a natural fit for me because I was looking to be a role model (for my son).”
Fearnow’s compassion for children and those less fortunate is deep-seated, going back to her childhood. She credits her parents for teaching her the importance of being humble, giving back and thinking long and hard about what is important in life. Those values were further underscored at the all-girls Catholic school she attended. To say she’s embraced volunteerism is an understatement. Over the years, she’s been involved with Judi’s House, Cocktails for a Cure, ACE Scholarships, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Bright Pink and Denver Active Children’s Foundation.
“I have to credit Cathey Finlon, who was my entry point into the nonprofit scene in Colorado,” comments Fearnow. “Besides being able to run a successful business, she also believed you have to take care of the community around you.”
While at McClain-Finlon Fearnow did pro bono work for Junior Achievement, the Denver Dumb Friends League, SCFD, the Denver Art Museum, Special Olympics and Children’s Hospital. Now, in addition to supporting several causes, she sits on the board of The Salah Foundation. Created by her great uncle upon his death in 2009, the private family foundation supports nonprofit organizations in America whose mission it is to strengthen families and communities. The executive director of the foundation is Noreen Salah Burpee, Fearnow’s mother, and the role model for her daughter’s philanthropic passion.
The foundation, which funds on average 150 grants annually, takes a keen interest in education, medical research, community development and self-sufficiency programs designed to help the economically disadvantaged, the young, the elderly and the disabled.
“Whether it’s the I Have a Dream Foundation or Big Brothers and Big Sisters or issues associated with child abuse and human trafficking, we’re working to give kids a safe haven,” says Fearnow. “We fund a lot of clinical trials and are also working with Children’s Hospital doing enormous work in the oncology area. How amazing would it be if some these issues were solved in our lifetime?”
If you happen to cross paths with her this fall mountain biking at Copper Mountain or this winter skiing at Copper or Eldora, take a moment to learn more about her fervor for giving. You’ll likely feel like there isn’t any mountain you can’t climb to improve people’s lives.
2,490 skiable acres, 140 trails
75 miles from Denver
Adult Season Pass—$409
Teen Season Pass, College Season Pass, Senior Season Pass—$319
Adult Secret Season Pass—$559
Teen, College & Senior Secret Season Pass—$469
Copper Creek Golf Course
The Perry and Pete Dye-designed layout plays 4,281 yards from the forward tees and 5,880 yards from the back tees. Peak green fees are $89 for 18 holes with a cart; off peak green fees are $76. Peak green fees are $59 for 9 holes with a cart; off peak green fees are $46. Mid-day, Twilight and Super Twilight rates are lower.
Eldora Mountain Resort
680 skiable acres, 53 trails
47 miles from Denver
Adult Full Season Pass—$409
Adult Mid-Week Pass, Junior Full Pass, College Full Pass, Senior Full Pass—$309
Kim D. McHugh has written about travel, food, snow sports, chefs, hotels, architecture and interesting people since 1986. A former associate editor at Rocky Mountain Golf magazine, the Lowell Thomas award-winning writer is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and former president of the North American Snowsports Journalists Association—Rocky Mountain Region. He enjoys sharing those “I-didn’t-know-that” revelations with readers in articles that have appeared in the San Francisco Examiner, The Denver Post, Toronto’s Globe & Mail, SKI, Hemispheres, Colorado Expression, Tastes of Italia, Vail/Beaver Creek, Luxury Golf & Travel and Colorado AvidGolfer.
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