There are many notable mountains in Colorado, USA. Keystone is one that stands out for its out and back style lifts and trails. It also has world class parks and unique events throughout the season. The combination of activities you can find here exemplify the active lifestyle which Colorado is known for. The mountain village offers an atmosphere oriented around family fun. So if you’re looking for a day in the mountains filled with physical activity and good eats then you have found the right place.
- Access: Fly into Denver, Take I-70 West 75 miles, exit 205 for Copper Mt. Alternatively take the The Summit Express Shuttle from Denver Airport or the Summit Stage busif you are nearby in Summit County.
- Season: Early November – Late April
- Elevation: Summit – 12,408 ft / 3,782m Base – 9,280 ft / 2,829m Vertical drop – 3,087 ft / 941m
- Number of Lifts: 20 lifts including 2 gondolas and 6 high speed lifts all servicing 127 trails over 3,087 acres of rideable terrain.
- Lift Ticket Prices: Adult (13-64) $105 USD; Child (6-12) $61 USD; Senior (65+) $95 USD. Discounts and season tickets available on Keystoneresort.com
- Park Facilities: 5 terrain parks all fit in the Area 51 zone
- Top Features: In addition to world class terrain parks, Keystone has the only night riding in Colorado, wed-sat the gondola and the peru express lift stay open to 8pm.
The early boarder gets the worm.
Keystone is home to the best pre-season jib park in Colorado (maybe the whole country). Its top of the line, temporary park is set up near the top of the River Run Gondola on a short trail called “Scout”, serviced by the ranger triple chair. Because of this limited space and maximum hype, massive lift lines can form at the bottom of Ranger. So if you are going to Keystone in November then show up early in the day. You’ll need to try for first chair or be prepared to wait a little while.
Intermediate terrain for all!
With an average annual snowfall of just over 200 inches, Keystone isn’t known for its deep powder days. But when they do happen, they have the right trails and open fields to enjoy the deep stuff.
The out and back layout of Keystone invites you to explore the depths of the resort differently than a standard single peak face. For example; the fastest way to get out to Wapiti Peak is to take two separate gondola rides. A quick run down spillway and then take the outback express quad. Followed by a 1 mile hike to the summit. Once there you will find the north bowl, south bowl and a slew of trails below the treeline with endless possibilities.
When the snow really starts coming down you may want to investigate Keystone Adventure Tours (KAT for short). Have a guide and a snowcat take you and your friends up to Independence, Ericson or Bergman Bowls. Here you can experience wide open powder fields, intermediate to advanced cliffs and tree riding. All this without the worry of it being tracked out or waiting in lift lines.
Riding your bike year round? Not exactly.
Yes of course in the summertime Keystone is known for its extensive downhill mountain biking terrain and lift access. The resort has 55 trails available for bikes that cover 55 miles of terrain. But if you are there for winter like most, then you can ride any of the snowy trails at Keystone on a snowbike. The new sport hasn’t really caught on in the mainstream but it is a fun and exciting alternative and at least it’s not skiing! Rent a snowbike on the mountain for $40 a day and attempt to mimic what the summer guests do.
Area 51 doesn’t have any aliens but it is out of this world.
Imagine 5 separate terrain parks all in one tight zone. These are serviced by 2 lifts with over 100 features to hit at any given time. You may want to pinch yourself but then you will feel the pain cause you ain’t dreaming. The Park Crew deserve an award for the level of progression they bring to the sport every year.
Easy Street, I-70, the Alley, Park Lane and Main Street are the five trails within the park, each with a different focus. The beginners want easy street while the intermediate riders will enjoy I-70 and Park lane. The Alley is full of technical rail lines and wall rides to keep even the most advanced jibbers busy. From 40ft long rails to jersey barriers, massive booters to micro rails, this park literally has everything you could ask for and more.
Every year right before Dew Tour at Breckenridge the big names (like Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo) can be seen training for the slopestyle event on the Main Street jump line. This set of Jumps is the second biggest in Colorado. It’s also the first big line to open for the year. That is what draws the pros to Keystone. The good times filming videos are often what keeps them there.
Get a quick meal and keep riding.
For breakfast there’s no better place than the Haywood Cafe. They have an affordable breakfast sandwich and hot coffee that every rider craves before a long day on the hill. Their breakfast and lunch menus are filled with delicious american food options. It also happens to be the only sports bar in Keystone with a wide selection of beers, cocktails and big TVs.
For mid-day The Miners Cart is located near the base of the river run gondola. It offers corn dogs, grilled cheese and beef sliders. If you are up top of that same gondola you might find a seat at the Summit House Food Court. The food court features an asian noodle bar and Epic Burgers alongside other american cuisine. Above the food court is the Top of The Rockies Tavern where you can have “adult beverages”. They also have an apres food menu during night skiing operations.
There are several pizza places at Keystone but Pizza on the Run is by far the best deal. You can have a great cheesy wedge of goodness and a beer for $7.00 USD. They also offer whole pies and other italian food.
Dinner and Drinks in the Village.
9280’ Tap House, open till 6pm daily and midnight on weekends, has a variety of local craft beers and cocktails. Their house nachos are a local favorite which go great with the variety of sandwiches, wraps and salads offered here.
If you’re looking for something from the grill, try Zuma Roadhouse. Open noon – 11pm this place has a full menu featuring everything from duck poutine to grilled salmon. The grilled food seems to be endless here. You’ll be sure to find what you’ve been craving after a long day of shredding.
Why ride Keystone?
Why Not? It may not be the social nightlife center like Breckenridge, but it is the snowboarder’s mountain of choice in summit county. Great terrain, affordable prices and the ease with which you can move around the mountain is lightyears ahead of the rest.
The unique activities make it a great group adventure or family destination. If you find yourself planning a trip to summit county then Keystone should be on the list and probably near the top.