Andrew Strong          September 2019

An easy trip from Denver, reasonable lodging options and convenient, free parking are just a few reasons why Keystone is one of the most family friendly resorts in the Colorado Rockies. However, don't be fooled by its "family-friendly" reputation. Keystone has plenty to offer off-piste enthusiasts - rock crags, bowls, glades and backcountry account for more than half of the terrain. Snowfall is reliable, averaging 225"+ annually. Keystone is easy to navigate with two base villages - Mountain House and River Run. Lakeside Village, 5 minutes away, has more dining options, shopping and one of the world's largest Zamboni maintained lakes for ice skating. There is also plenty of variety. Novices can try Schoolmarm, a 3.5 mile Green from Dercum Mountain summit to either base. Steeper Blues can test Intermediates (Elk Run) and Experts can play in tree-riddled glades (The Windows) or five hike/cat-accessible bowls. A trip to Keystone can easily be combined with visits to nearby resorts. It's on the Epic Pass and has value pass options with nearby Breckenridge as well as Crested Butte. For those wanting more, Keystone has the largest night skiing area in Colorado.

RESORT FEATURES

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CONDITIONS

Quick Take

 LET'S GO 
  • Bring the whole family. Keystone has something for everyone. Kidtopia has no end of fun activities and kids under12 ski free (with a two night lodging package)

  • Backcountry terrain is under the radar; even though it's cat accessible, it tends to be less traveled

  • Fast groomers abound on all three mountains

  • Getting around is easy. Parking is free and resort shuttles run regularly to nearby restaurants and entertainment

  • Excellent lift infrastructure (20 lifts) means limited lines even when it's crowded

INSIDER TIPS
  • The newer River Run has become the main base village and has more options for dining and après ski. Mountain House is low key and has more convenient ski school access

  • Advanced and expert riders should head to the North Peak and Outback. Have lunch at The Outpost while over here (it's also gondola accessible if you want to rendezvous with the less adventurous members of your group)

  • For backcountry access, The Outback bowls (North & South) are cat accessible for $10 (runs most of the day). Erickson & Bergman requiring hiking; Independence requires a cat reservation as part of a package

  • Kids will love Kidtopia at the summit of Dercum Mountain. Here you will find the world's largest snow fort with slides, climbing nets, towers and daily free events

  • Stay mid-mountain or higher to avoid lift lines at the base. Take the Summit Express to reach mid-Mountain, it's faster than the River Run Gondola

HESITATIONS
  • Relatively less snowfall than other CO resorts (and the terrain on the North Peak requires significant snowfall)

  • Not the most luxurious of the Summit County resorts

  • The après scene is mostly sports bars in River Run Village or dives to grab a beer off the mountain

  • Limited ski-in/ski-out lodging options, though free shuttles run regularly around the broader resort area

  • On-mountain dining is mainly cafeteria-style

GETTING TO & GETTING AROUND

 
Getting To
  • Closest Major City: Denver, CO

    • Distance: ~90 miles West 

    • Travel Time: ~ 1.5 hrs 

  • Closest Town: Dillon, CO​

    • Distance: ~7 miles, 12 mins​

Neighboring Resorts
  • Neighbors on the Epic Pass​

    • Breckenridge (15 miles, ~30 mins)

    • Vail (40 miles, ~45 mins)

    • Beaver Creek (50 miles​, ~1 hr)

  • Other Neighbors

    • Arapahoe Basin (5 miles, 10 mins)

    • Loveland (13 miles, ~20 mins)

    • Copper (20 miles, ~30 mins)​

Travel by Plane
  • Closest major commercial airport: DEN - (Denver International)

    • ~90 mi East, ~1.5 hrs​​​

Travel by Bus
  • Cars are not needed if staying in Keystone or the sourrouding area

    • Pros: Parking is free; provides flexiblity to visit other ski areas

    • Cons: Roads can be treacherous 

  • ​Ride shares are available, but not reliable and can be expensive

Travel by Car

Keystone is the closest Epic resort to Denver, only 90 miles (1.5 hours), West on I-70. It's easily accessible by shuttle. Families and larger parties may want to rent a car to venture to nearby towns for supplies or dinner and to visit neighboring resorts. 

The Lay of the LAnd

Coming soon - easy navigation with all of the key spots highlighted 

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