Keystone is best known for the steep slopes and long blue groomed ski runs. In fact, skiing is by far one the best family friendly things to do in Keystone, CO. Downhill skiing at Keystone is one of the best experiences you’ll ever have.
Keystone is the only ski resort in Colorado that offers night skiing which is great if you arrive in Keystone a little later in the day. Make sure your legs are in shape! If you time it perfectly, at about 4pm, a group of grooming snow cats arrive at the top of Dercum Mountain. As the Snowcats arrive, the ski patrol lowers the ropes and you’ll have fresh groomed “corduroy” to ski on for the rest of the evening. Keep riding a lift to the top of Dercum Mountain and you could even get another fresh ride down “Spring Dipper” as the snowcats arrive at the top again. Don’t miss it!
Keystone’s skiing terrain is greatly varied and caters to anyone’s level of skiing. The A51 terrain park (formerly Area 51) in Keystone is one of the biggest and best in North America and was built to create more “energy”. There is even a ski run on the side to watch the daredevils fly high into the air and land perfectly against all odds. From half pipes to rails to jumps big and small, to fun boxes, and a superpipe, you won’t be disappointed with what the A51 terrain park has to offer. Beginners can ride down Easy Street for the smaller jumps and pipes. This area was specially built for beginners to terrain parks and offer smaller versions of everything at the large park. Best of all, both terrain parks are in the same vicinity, so you can still do tricks with your expert friends. Both terrain parks are open for use by snowboarders and freestyle skiers.
At the top of the River Run Gondola which is newly re-named Dercum Mountain the terrain levels out and is perfect for beginners. In fact, there is a large portion of the mountain dedicated to ski school for all levels. By far one of the best features about skiing at Keystone is that even beginners get to experience the very top of Dercum Mountain (previously Keystone Mountain) and won’t feel left out at the bottom of the hill like many other beginner ski areas. The view from the top is downright outstanding with a clear view of Lake Dillon, Dillon, Frisco, and even Breckenridge can be seen from the top of Keystone. If you’re confident enough after your lesson for the day, you can make you way down the green Schoolmarm ski run all the way to the bottom of Keystone Resort. Otherwise, the River Run Gondola offers return service to Keystone’s base area without the embarrassment of your skis falling off and losing your poles. Try another ski lesson tomorrow….you’ll get the hang of it quickly!
The Outback & More
Keystone also offers advanced skiing terrain. The Outback is the 3rd of Keystone Resorts mountains and offers excellent expert terrain. Large soft moguls are among the best features of the cleared ski runs. However, there are numerous ski runs peppered with perfectly spaced trees as well. Even if there hasn’t been fresh snow in weeks, it is easy to find massive powder stashes among these trees runs such as Timberwolf or Wolverine.
If skiing from the lift isn’t enough to satisfy your craving for steep and deep slopes, you can hike for a short while from the top of the Outback to get to some of the most secret powder stashes Keystone has to offer. This is definitely where you “earn your turns”. Hiking for just 15-20 minutes will earn yourself a perfect “powder run” with unbroken powder like you frequently see in all the Warren Miller movies. It’s well worth the trip. Don’t forget to give “The Windows” a try. Access this trail right underneath the North Peak Gondola.
If you don’t really want to “earn” your turns, you can also pay $10.00 to have a snow cat shuttle drive you to the back country powder stashes. The snow cat ride is first-come first serve, so make sure you get there (Outback Bowl Gate) early to reserve your spot. Still, you’ll find the best powder skiing, and the rewards will be awesome at Keystone by hiking a short distance.