The Ski Mountain
If you’re skiing with family and kids of varying skill levels, but prefer more challenging terrain when you get some run time on your own, Keystone Resort delivers. This resort is known for its warm and wonderful ski school, replete with snow forts and parent/kid/instructor time, on a mountain that will work for sports enthusiasts – no matter their level of experience. If the toddlers need training, the tweens are pushing intermediate and the teens want parks and steeps, Keystone gives you something fun and challenging — and the ability to still meet for lunch. It also offers the largest night skiing venue in Colorado, making this a solid choice for the whole family.
The Mountain Experience
Think family, which means watch out for crowds, especially on holidays and weekends in early and mid season. But the crowds are there for a reason. It’s a fun and versatile mountain, vibrant atmosphere and the people are where you’d expect them — the expert skiers in The Outback; the local teens and college students in the A 51 Terrain Park and so on. Plan to join a group or stay away from the areas at your choice.
Keystone Resort Ski Terrain
• Beginner: Dercum Mountain is home to long green and blue runs as well as the Ranger Learning Area, a great place for beginners. Children’s programs such as Kidtopia and Camp Keystone (see “skiing with kids” below) offer engaging, age-appropriate learning opportunities for younger skiers.
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: Intermediate skiers can find a variety of terrain on all three of Keystone’s mountains – Dercum, North Peak and The Outback. Dercum has the most intermediate trails and is accessed by three lifts, but as all of these feed from the base of the mountain where crowds are biggest, there’s some wisdom in heading to the Outback Express to access intermediate runs higher on the mountain.
• Advanced: While Keystone Resort offers plenty of family friendly trails, 49 percent of the terrain is ranked as difficult. Five above-treeline bowls are accessed by snowcat or hiking, with the North and South bowls above The Outback leading to some of Colorado’s best tree skiing. Expert skiers looking for deep powder and untracked runs can have a snowcat drop them at the Outback bowls for $5, or pay $10 round trip to see the lay of the land, or sign up for a day of snowcat skiing at prices that are markedly less than comparative resorts.
• Terrain Park: Keystone Resort is home to A-51, one of the world’s top rated terrain parks. The terrain park accessed from the Peru Express is among the most popular in Summit County, and attracts a large number of progressive young snowboarders and skiers.
If you are a newcomer to the mountain, get a daily grooming report from a resort host when you arrive in the morning, or look out for a groom report map located at the top of main ski runs. These will help you see which runs have fresh powder (or yesterday’s moguls). Because of the Keystone’s popularity, the major runs offer red, yellow and green symbols to direct you to the lifts that have the least traffic. (Yes, red means crazy crowded. Go for the greens.) If you are an advanced skier looking for powder in the Outback, get to the mountain early. Keystone Resort offers Colorado’s longest ski day, with night skiing on green and blue runs on Dercum Mountain until 9 p.m. during peak season.
Keystone is a mecca for free entertainment throughout the winter season including holiday light displays, movies and free concerts. There are ticketed festivals too, like the Bluegrass on the Snow festival. The variety of entertainment is perfect for families, with varying ideas of what makes a fun après skiing experience. You’ll find the young and hip crowd at 9289, a bar located in pedestrian designed River Run Village. They offer happy hours on the deck from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Notable, at 11,444 feet, Keystone’s Bavarian cuisine Alpenglow Stube is the highest elevation Four-Diamond rated restaurant in the country. Patrons are delivered by gondola and can exchange ski boots for fuzzy slippers at the door.
Charming Victorian town with 75+ restaurants, bars, historic district and ski in / ski out access.
There are plenty of condominiums and lodges located only a short walk from the lifts in Keystone’s two villages at the base of the mountains. River Run Village offers the easiest access, while Lakeside village on Keystone Lake offers the largest Zamboni smoothed ice skating rink in North America during winter. Both are popular family choices. Use the Ski Lodging Deals box above and right to find Keystone’s best Lodging choices and deals.
Skiing with Kids
Kids can sign up for Camp Keystone, a program that allows children to participate in an array of on-snow activities, from kid’s nights out, themed days, and more. Keystone offers a “Mom, Dad, and Me” program, where instructors review the day’s progress and activities with parents in order to keep everyone involved in the learning process. On some big-traffic weeks, the resort also offers “Kidtopia” — an awesome snow fort featuring 15’ turrets, a maze and slide – as well as “disco tubing” and other adventures.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost*
Lift Tickets (pre-purchase online): Adult $87-$99; Child $46-$57; Senior $77-$89; (COMPARE PRICES) Season Pass: (purchase by 10/14/12) Adult $679; Child $349; Senior $539 Other Passes: 7 day pass (purchase by 10/14/12) Adult $529 Special Deals: Passes also good for Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Arapahoe *prices reflect our best effort to gather from resort published information. LINK.
by Kristina Nayden