A good choice for beginners with nursery runs conveniently located at the resort base and up at the top of Dercum Mountain, the first peak reached as you leave the base complexes, and accessible via the easy-to-ride newly upgraded River Run gondola. Initial lessons will most likely take place on the Discovery beginner slope but there are about 50 easy runs in this initial part of the ski area to progress on to once you’ve mastered your technique.
Virtually all of Keystone’s extensive terrain is accessible to intermediates, from the relatively easy terrain on the front of Dercum Mountain, to the progressively steeper runs on North Peak, served by the Santiago chair, the next mountain back, and finally on The Outback, the resort’s highest and steepest terrain and the furthest from the resort base area. Although it offers mostly advanced terrain there are several intermediate blue square runs here to try.
Runs are up to five kilometres (three miles) long (Schoolmarm) and are open for night skiing most evenings as part of western North America’s largest floodlit ski area operation. There’s also the option to ski at one of four other ski areas in the region too on the area lift pass.
Half of the terrain is rated advanced and you’ll find most of it a few lift rides away from the resort base on either North Peak or The Outback. However a major draw at Keystone is the snowcat-served ski area in three bowls - Erickson, Bergman and Independence – the last the most recent addition, available since the 2007-8. For a fixed fee you can expect to make about ten guided descents per day. Back on the slopes, the Santiago quad provides direct access to some great bump runs while the Outback chair serves some of the resort’s steepest tree skiing and popular runs including The Grizz, Timberwolf and Badger.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
A great resort for boarders, Keystone has an excellent terrain park, wonderful freeriding terrain, and a high speed lift network of chairs and gondola to get you to it all quickly and comfortably.
The A51 terrain park is one of the best in the world, covering some 20 acres of Keystone Mountain. It is floodlit for night riding and features both a half-pipe and Olympic-scale superpipe as well as table tops, hips, spines, rails and gaps. The park is one of the first in the world to open each season – normally when the resort opens in early November
There is a second terrain park on the Jackwhacker trail which offers more table tops, hips, spines and other jumps of various sizes but largely aimed at intermediate – advanced riders.
Cross country skiing at Keystone is centred on the resort’s Nordic Center (+1 (970) 496 4275) which has 16 kilometres of groomed trails within the resort’s boundaries but also provides access to more than 57 kilometres of linked trails through the nearby White River National Forest (a three-and-a-half mile drive away). Rentals are available on site and a wide range of tuition programmes and tours, including ladies only and night time full moon tours, are available. A ski pass needs to be purchased to use the trails by the day or multi-day.
Average Snow And Weather Conditions
As one of the world’s highest resorts and operating one of North America’s biggest snow making systems, Keystone rarely has any difficulties providing abundant snow cover even when mother nature isn’t delivering too much of the natural stuff in early season. However, with an average 5.75m (19 feet) of powder falling, and then maintaining its integrity longer, thanks to the altitude and north facing slopes, the resort is a good choice for those searching reliable snow cover.