KEYSTONE RESORT GUIDE
Images courtesy of @Keystone Resort
Keystone Expert Itinerary
The Windows, North Peak, The Outback, North/South Bowl, Bergman/Erickson Bowls
From River Run Village – Dercum Mountain - The Windows – North Peak – Cat South Glades – The Outback – North or South Bowl – Lunch at the Outback – Bergman/Erickson Bowl – Dercum Mountain Laps - Return to River Run Village
*This itinerary covers a massive amount of terrain and can easily be split over a couple of days. If its a powder day, skip to Step 5 after Step 1).
1. 8:30 AM – THE WINDOWS are the Perfect Warmup to the Glades and Hikes Ahead
From the RIVER RUN BASE AREA, catch Summit Express or River Run Gondola to directly reach the top of DERCUM MOUNTAIN. For a warmup, point your skis down Schoolmarm until you reach Wild Irishman or Paymaster. Wild Irishman is groomed less frequently and will likely prove more the more challenging of the two. Either will prepare you for the challenging day of glades and hikes ahead.
When you feel warmed up, catch Montezuma Express, drop onto Mozart on the skiers left side and head underneath the Outpost Gondola to find the gate to THE WINDOWS. This area has no shortage of options amongst the weaving glades that opens up into optional wider steep chutes below. Unless you are ready for a hike, drop into any of these chutes for a phenomenal gladed adventure to the base of NORTH PEAK. On a good powder day, the hike to the Upper Windows,"The Windows Knob" is well worth it (note, it take ~20 minutes to reach the top).
2. 9:30 - 11 AM – NORTH PEAK for long, continuous bumps and glades galore
NORTH PEAK has some of the longest, continuous bump runs on the mountain along with top notch groomers and glades. Cat Dancer and Cat South Glades offer challenging bumps or incredible glades. Both are worth at least one run. To reach the NORTH PEAK, head behind the patrol shack and look for the Cat Dancer sign. The Cat South Glades are off of the skier's left, but be sure not to head too far left or you'll wind up back by the Wayback Lift. Hug the skiers right treeline for lengthy glades and often untouched, phenomenal snow.
After that, head to Starfire for a speed filled groomer. Hop on the Santiago Express and make a U-turn off of the top to enjoy the view. If you're ready for more bumps after that cruiser, start back down the same route and drop off to the right to check out Powder Cap, Ambush or Bullet. If you're looking for more glades, Bullet Glades or Trees, off of the skiers left or right of Bullet, are great tight and technical options.
3. 11 AM – 12:30 PM – Time for THE OUTBACK
To reach THE OUTBACK, head down Anticipation or Spillway, both terminate at the base of the Outback Express. Head on up and first take in the view. When you reach the top, decide whether you want to pop off your skis or board for a 2 minute hike to North Bowl or South Bowl. If you want to hike further, you can go up to the 'Cat Turnaround' for longer runs in the Bowls or towards the Tele Trees for mellow, open glade skiing that is rarely visited by anyone but the most savvy skiers around (ssshhh)!
If hiking is not your thing, head down North Bowl for a quick steep, or South Bowl for some open skiing into different types of glades; some are wide open and expansive, while others have clearly cut paths that weave beautifully in and out of different types of trees. You will be sure to find fresh snow wherever you go.
4. 12:30 – 1:15 PM – Lunch at The Outpost Lodge or Labonte's
After an action packed morning, head to the Wayback Lift and drop down to The Outpost Lodge for a selection of cafeteria-style food. For BBQ and outdoor seating, pick your favorite trail from this morning on North Peak and head over to Labonte's.
5. 1:15 PM – 2:45 PM – Erickson or Bergman Bowl
Time to work off that lunch! Try to leave The Outpost before 1:45 and ski around to the back of the lodge to find the gate to access the the hike to Erickson or Bergman Bowl.
Erickson offers steeper terrain, and may be particularly sun affected in the late afternoon if it is not a powder day, nonetheless, there is still plenty of fun if you stick to the trees. (*Pro Tip - Generally, for the best snow in Erickson Bowl on a powder day, it should be skied around 10-11 AM after patrol has finished their avalanche control work in it). Erickson will drop you back to THE OUTBACK where you can enjoy a few last runs there before it closes at 2:45 PM. We recommend that if you choose to go to Erickson Bowl, come prepared with the appropriate Avalanche safety gear. Although it is maintained by patrol, it is always better to be safe.
Dropping into Bergman will take you back towards NORTH PEAK on some mellow, but beautiful open bowl skiing that is rarely touched due to its hike-to only access. Bergman Bowl has very little to no avalanche risk, but still bring a buddy for safety.
6. 2:45PM – 4PM – Late day fill on DERCUM MOUNTAIN
As the "Dark Side" of the mountain starts to shut down, head back to DERCUM on the Ruby Lift. Frenchman, Spring Dipper or Santa Fe all ski great in the afternoon. For a fun, luge style glade run, head down Paymaster and drop into the woods on skiers right. You'll find a straight line through the trees known to the locals as "Tiger Line". Be sure to take advantage of the surprisingly common, non-existent lift lines on the frontside in the late afternoon, perfect for getting top to bottom runs in before the close. Check out "The DL," located on the skier's right on the "Edge of Missouri", directly under the first pitch of Summit Express and River Run Gondola, for a late day hollywood run that will thrill you and those riding above.
Congratulations! You've explored some of the best terrain Keystone has to offer. Time for Après check out our Après Ski Guide.