Keystone Review

Keystone, Colorado

Keystone is one of the several Summit County resorts about 75 miles from Denver. It’s popular with families with tons of mellow groomers, large terrain parks, and kids programs. They also have the largest night skiing operation in Colorado, with 15 lighted trails that extend all the way to the top of the mountain.  This review is based on many visits over 40 years and a variety of conditions.

North Peak at Keystone, March 2006

North Peak at Keystone, March 2006

Stats

 

Vertical Drop 3128′
Size 2870 Acres
Annual Snowfall 235 Claimed / 235 Actual: Rank 58
Lifts 14
Trails 117
Review Date Late 1980’s, March 2006, December 2015
Number of visits 5
Our Rating ★★★
Resort website https://www.keystoneresort.com
Keystone trail map 2013

Keystone trail map 2013

Keystone Review

Our first time visit Keystone together was cut a little short due to a really bad collision AiRung had with a snowboarder. But I skied there for several days back in the late 1980’s when I was helping run a Nastar race, as well as a night skiing session back in the 80’s. Each and every time I was there, strange things happened.  It was either poor management like restaurants being closed, getting stranded on the gondola for about an hour, or the terrain closed for no apparent reason. Thus, it’s a bit hard to give Keystone a decent review. Note that we have very few pictures because it was only one day with flat light.

Over all

On paper Keystone checks most of the boxes with almost 3,000 acres, over 3,000 ft of vertical, 135 trails, over 600 acres of snowmaking, and 14 lifts. The one missing ingredient is snow, with only 235 annual inches. That’s right at the bottom for all the Colorado resorts on our list. For some reason Keystone gets about 115-inches less than nearby Breckenridge to the west, and 165-inches less than nearby Loveland just to the North. Because of that they focus on snowmaking and grooming, which is impressive. One of the highlights we noticed was the mid-day grooming which freshens things up nicely.

Mid-day grooming at Keystone, March 2006

Mid-day grooming at Keystone, March 2006

The front side

On the front side, there really isn’t that much for us on skiers left of the mountain which is mostly beginner and low-intermediate terrain. This would be a GREAT place to go if you are in those categories though. I can’t think of many other places that have so much easier terrain. On skiers right the Gondola and Montezuma serve some steeper blues that are always groomed and great for high-speed cruising.

The back side

On the back side there are are 2 distinct peaks with some steeper terrain: North Peak and The Outback. We spent most of our time on those 2 pods in 2006. North Peak was a blast with some steep long groomers. It was bulletproof off the groomers when we were there. So we didn’t sample the many bump runs, trees, and above-tree line terrain (hike-to or snowcat). A lot of it was actually closed.

We did managed to go back to Keystone after AiRung became a much better skier. And our experience changed for the better. We were not able to write a review of the restaurants on the mountain because they were either closed or everyone crowded into the couple that were open. We had wanted to try the very well-reviewed Der Fondue Chessel, but it was one that was closed (in March 2006!).

View of Breckenridge from Keystone, March 2006

View of Breckenridge from Keystone, March 2006

The good

  • Has nicely protected terrain on a storm day
  • Great grooming and snowmaking
  • Great place for high-speed cruisers

The bad

  • Not that challenging
  • Lack of snow
  • Can be crowded

Would we go back

We would like to go back to give Keystone another chance. There are a lot of things that we weren’t able to do when we were there last that we would like to give a try. Next time we are in Summit County we will probably spend another day there.

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