Keystone Resort built its reputation on family-friendly skiing, but since the new millennium, management has turned one eye toward the younger generation as well.
Now, families love its long, gentle slopes and the resort’s variety of activities, from ice skating on the largest Zamboni-maintained ice-skating rink in North America to tubing, cross-country skiing, dinner sleigh rides and excellent dining.
Most people take advantage of the free parking at River Run. From there, you can either avoid schlepping your gear by hopping on a shuttle to the older base area, or you can walk through River Run Village, which is filled with coffee shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques. Ski school and rentals are located at the base of the gondola. Keystone's Lakeside Village, which is not adjacent to the base of the ski area, also offers plenty of casual and fine dining establishments, as well as a handful of specialty shops.
Keystone provides the most intermediate terrain of the four ski areas in Summit County, with 32% being blue. Nineteen percent of its runs are geared for beginners.
But advanced riders dig its terrain parks, snowcat skiing and après ski specials. Almost half (49%) of Keystone’s runs are advanced. Keystone’s A51 terrain park is the largest night park in Colorado. During the day, a mini terrain park trains beginners to ride rails and get air, so they can eventually graduate to A51.
With 3,148 skiable acres, Keystone is the most expansive resort in Summit County. Full-day snowcat operations open up 858 acres of coveted bowl skiing, with pitches approaching a 50% grade. The tours cost around $200 and include fat ski rentals, beacons and an amazing lunch in a cozy yurt.
Keystone’s three peaks — Dercum Mountain, North Peak and the Outback — each have distinct personalities.
Dercum, or the front of the mountain, is like a dapper gentleman, ushering people to its perfectly groomed, mostly intermediate fall lines.
North Peak is a little rougher around the edges; it offers long, thigh-burning bump runs, as well as groomers.
Then there’s the Outback, which, as you might guess, is in the “way back” of the resort, accessible by hitting North Peak first. The Outback can get a little wild, with its tree skiing, but it also provides groomed runs for the fainter of heart.
Atop the Outback, a huge log cabin hosts a cafeteria, offering organic milk and burgers, among other selections.
Next door, the Alpenglow Stube turns up the ambiance with a European-style welcome. At the Stube, you can trade in your cold boots for soft, cozy slippers and enjoy the brunch buffet.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Keystone is its night skiing. It’s the only resort in Summit County that challenges you to ski from early morning until 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays (there’s no night skiing on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during the Christmas holiday). And, I gotta tell ya: There’s nothing better than skiing into the sunset …
*all photos courtesy of Keystone Ski Resort