Being born and raised in Denver I have been a frequent flier to Colorado ski resorts (as well as some around the world) my entire life and although I have gotten to experience most of what Colorado has to offer, I would definitely pick Keystone Resort over any other resort. I have experienced Keystone as a tourist, local commuter and now resident and it still never gets old. I think Keystone has some of the most diverse terrain and unique environment that any resort has to offer. I would estimate that I have ridden at Keystone Resort over 300 times and have had. The friendly people, the champagne snow, the tactical setup of the mountain, and the most incredible views that will have you believing you are on top of the world are all part of what make Keystone Resort the best.
My favorite days are the days after a huge storm where it snows so fiercely that everything disappears under a thick blanket of white and every branch of every tree is topped with a sparkly white coating of fresh snow. The days where the sun pushes the clouds out of the endless blue sky and the snow shines like diamonds.
A typical amazing day starts early with a crew of close friends by my side. We stop at the Gateway building to eat breakfast at the Haywood café – I think about getting something different but end up getting the same thing I always do which is delectable as always. Soon after the morning watering hole visit, we head for the hills. We go straight for the back side of Keystone – it usually isn’t crowded in the morning and the runs are incredibly smooth. At the top of the back side, we stop to take another group picture because it seems like we can never have enough footage of this unbelievable view – endless mountains coveting the enormous snow covered lake Dillon and a view of Breckenridge that makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.
The backside has it all – the groomed, the ungroomed, the tame and the gnarly. We immediately head for the windows – a slightly more relaxed ungroomed tree area that is a treat for any tree lover. The bowls are another unbelievable feat at Keystone; they are a tree lover’s playground with steeps, tight trees, and open glades that some can only dream of. On a good powder day, riding the bowls is like surfing the clouds with snow so soft and fluffy that the slightest breeze will whirl it about in the air. We tackle the majority of the backside stopping occasionally to regroup.
After a long morning of sabotaging the backside we are in desperate need of another watering hole. We make our way back to the front side and indulge at Kickapoo tavern in their signature monstrous pile of nachos that we can barely grub down and then surrender ourselves back to the mountain. We take some easy groomed runs on the front side and then hit the terrain park (Area 51). Area 51 is full of jumps, jibs, and rails and even if it’s nothing you ever aspire to do, it’s still incredible to watch what some of the people can do in Keystone’s world renown Area 51. Some days there will be a competition in the park with ski and snowboarding pros from around the world which is sure to capture anyone’s attention for a quick show of jibbing, flipping and twisting effortlessly though the air.
Dusk is approaching and we’re tired. We decide to finish up and go back to the condo for a while to do some hard core relaxing. But that doesn’t last long – we need more of that fluffy white stuff and night riding seems to be the perfect solution. The glow of the lights in Keystone can be seen from miles away in the sky and seeing the resort lit up in the pitch dark of the night is really something incredible and actually being out there is even more of a thrill. Night riding is rarely crowded or frigid and there is a feeling of relaxing solitude throughout the mountain. An extra layer and some low light goggles and we’re ready to go – we take run after run, racing each other and the clock on the wide open slopes. We stop every now and then for a quick snowball fight or to laugh about someone’s spill. There’s something about night riding that is indescribable – the feeling that the mountain has been put to sleep by a blanket of darkness yet there is still light to ski and ride in is something that you truly just have to experience for yourself.
By the end of night riding we are ready for some grubbing and tubing. After a quick dinner and a few après ski brews we head down to our hot tub and soak our tired bones reminiscing about what an amazing day at Keystone it was and planning another one tomorrow!