Oasis in the Colorado Mountains

Keystone Resort, Colorado
21996 Highway 6
PO Box 38 K58
Keystone, CO. 80435
800-427-8308
970-496-4FUN
 
A Bit of History
 
The Arapahoe and Ute Native American tribes summered in this rich mountain area for centuries, fishing in the Snake River and hunting in the San Juan Mountains. In 1541, Spanish explorer, Coronado, brought in the first trappers in search of beaver and other animal pelts. These early pioneers shared the rugged lands with Native Americans peacefully until the gold rush of 1859. Then, a hoard of get-rich-quick schemers entered the Snake River valley and drilled holes in the rock looking for precious metals, silver being the most prevalent in the valley. Mostly Swedish immigrants from the Keystone state of Pennsylvania made their way west to seek their fortunes so the area was consequently named Keystone. Small towns like Montezuma popped up to make way for the influx of miners, and toll roads were built over Loveland Pass to bring the booty into nearby Denver. It was in the late 1880's that a stagecoach stop was constructed in Keystone to service the travelers passing through, which later became known as the Ski Tip Lodge, a landmark that serves as an inviting inn and four star restaurant today.
 
In the "Summer of '42," a Swedish couple from Pennsylvania (the Keystone state) named Max and Edna Dercum, along with their infant son, Rolf, drove their 1940 Ford convertible into the valley to, as Edna noted in a book she penned about her Colorado home, " build a ski lodge, go skiing everyday, and live an uninvolved, quiet life in the mountains." Well, it hardly turned out "uninvolved," but they did do all the rest, and then some. They purchased the old stagecoach stop and re-named it the Ski Tip Lodge, one of the first ski lodges in Colorado, entertaining over the years celebrated guests like, Henry Fonda and Stein Eriksen.
 
In the early 1950's, Max helped build the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, taught skiing there with Edna and in 1961, organized the Professional Ski Instructors of America, an organization that, today, is the hallmark of proper ski instruction. After Arapahoe's success, Dercum began work on Keystone Mountain, and despite numerous obstacles and hardships, the Dercums' dream of opening Keystone came true on November 21, 1970. One of the three peaks that make up the resort is named after him.
 
Where You Are Staying:
 
Keystone Resort, with peaks rising 12,000 feet into heaven, supports the "arch" of the Ten Mile Range admirably, providing visitors of all ages with every essential for a memorable good time with vast and challenging terrain, an exciting array of activities and comfortable lodgings, including a plethora of condominium choices, houses and hundreds of hotels, motels, inns and resorts. 
 
The resort boasts 116 trails spread generously over three mountain peaks, (15 for night skiing) 20 chairlifts, (eight are high speed) 1600 lodging units to fit any preference from spacious condos, to private homes to the AAA four diamond Keystone Lodge, 34 restaurants, including the best in state, Keystone Ranch, 30 shops, a five-acre outdoor skating rink, the largest zamboni maintained rink in North America (open at night too) two award winning golf courses, a microbrewery and a health spa. Additionally, Keystone's conference facilities are the Rockies' largest.
 
Let's talk skiing and riding. Keystone, has just completed a terrain expansion to 2,870 acres, making it the largest ski area in Summit County For riders, there are two awesome terrain parks and two large half pipes offering an 18 foot Super pipe, 51 rails and fun boxes and three separate lines for different abilities. The Incubator caters to the young and/or inexperienced. For a completely different experience, visit the A-51 Park at night.
 
Both skiers and riders can enjoy long, groomed meandering trails or bumped up mogul runs should they prefer - all with little or no lift lines! Again, Dercum Mountain has 15 trails open for night skiing. For the adventurous, there is extreme skiing on black diamond gladed runs on the Outback Peak or take a guided snow cat tour with Keystone Adventure Tours to the several exhilarating bowls in the back country.
 
Sign up for ski lessons at Keystone University - Even the kids will want to do their homework! Besides the usual fare of lessons, there are also special classes offered, like Mom, Dad and Me - for family togetherness, Flying Fossils, for the 50 plus set and Camp Betty for women only. A unique twist is the University Trail, where only lesson goers are allowed, giving them ample room to practice their moves and make their mistakes with no fear. Progress reports of kids' experiences are an added plus for worried parents.
Because Keystone is part of the Vail Resort partnership, there are ticket bargains to be had for skiing the other resorts in the consortium (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin) when purchasing multi-day tickets. Specials are also offered to military families.
 
Activities
 
Keystone has essentially everything for the sports enthusiast. Besides all types of skiing and riding with all sorts of lesson options, there is ice skating, tubing, snow biking and horse drawn sleigh rides with a cowboy supper. A complete Nordic Center with 16 KM of trails is a boon to cross country skiers or snowshoers. The trails are well groomed and scenic. The Center, run by Innsbruck Olympic Nordic skier, Jana Hlavaty, offers several options to patrons including a Peak to Peak snowshoe trek off the gondola, Full Moon Snow shoeing, Personal Trainer Sessions, Nordic Women's Day (combining Cross country and snow shoeing activities) and telemark lesson packages on Dercum Mountain. The Center offers healthy lunch options of a hearty soup and bread after the tours.
 
Summer activities include white water rafting, hiking, and one hundred miles of mountain biking trails, fly fishing, kayaking, and boating. Don't forget to try out those new clubs at the two championship golf courses awarded a silver medal by Golf Magazine and ranked among the nation's top 75 places to play.
 
For the more sedentary types, there are star gazing workshops, storytelling, wine appreciation seminars, eco-tours and facials, pedicures, manicures and massagesat the Keystone Spa.
 
Places to See
 
Country Boy Mine and Mining Exhibit in Breckenridge gives year-round tours. Includes donkeys, underground mine tour, exhibits, gold panning and other hands-activities. Nearby towns of Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco offer interesting shopping, good restaurants, and attractions.
 
Entertainment
 
For après ski fun, don't miss Parrot Eyes in the River Run area for their famous margaritas and live music. The Last Lift Bar features Keystone's own Swing Crew. Keystone's only dance club is the Greenlight where DJ's spin your favorite tunes into the night. Other hot nightly entertainment can be found at Great Northern Tavern, a microbrewery in the River Run area and The Kickapoo Tavern featuring a large deck and a fun crowd. If you prefer a western flair, step into the Snake River Saloon or The Goat, where locals enjoy food, drinks and music.
 
Family entertainment includes horse-drawn sleigh rides to a historic homestead where the family can enjoy a western style meal with cowboy entertainers. Keystone also offers free activities during the winter such as Glowbug skate night at the five acre rink in the middle of the resort, movie nights, fireworks and Kids Night Out, just to name a few.
 
Throughout the winter, Keystone hosts special events like the Winterfall, an early season, multi-week celebration with different activities and the Mardi Gras Street Party and Parade, a gala of costumes and fun. Don't miss the River Run Blues and BBQ - which offers music and delectable eats. Keystone also hosts the Sports Illustrated For Kids Next Snowsearch, a competition for upcoming skiers and riders in a variety of disciplines and is a nationally televised event.
The Adventure Passport, which is given to every Keystone Resort Lodging guest, affords the bearer a coupon book full of freebies like ice skating, snow shoe treks, cross country skiing, wine tasting or yoga classes. There are discount coupons for various restaurants and shops also. The passport is good in all four seasons.
 
Summer entertainment offerings are: jazz shows, a bluegrass and beer festival, mountain bike races, culinary galas, a fiddle contest and a Celtic Festival. Local theatre groups, The National Repertory Orchestra and some big name artists also appear at the resort. There are nearby golf courses as well.
 
Cuisine:
 
There is a myriad of choices for dining in Keystone. Start with some great coffee at River Run's local eclectic hangout, the Inxpot, or at Starbucks across the street. Indulge in a hearty breakfast at the Mountain House's Food court where great lunches can also be had. Enjoy quick skier's lunch at Bite Me Pizza, or La Bonte's Cabin, where you can sit in an Adirondack chair at the base of the North Peak. Timber Ridge Food Court has first rate views and noodle bowls, burgers and low carb options. Bring the family for a great Italian meal at Paisano's, or try the Bighorn Steakhouse for meat, potatoes and salad. Many restaurants cater to children fewer than twelve with free or discounted dinners. In the mood for an elegant dinner with your significant other? This is where Keystone excels. Start with the Keystone Ranch. Ranked as the best restaurant in Colorado by Zagat three years running, the 1938 antique ranch offers a six-course gourmet dinner in a bucolic setting. You can feast in cozy luxury at the charming Ski Tip Lodge, which offers four courses of unusual American fare like elk chops and roast prairie quail in a romantic old stagecoach inn. After dinner, sip Ski Tip's special coffee in front of a roaring fire to complete the magical evening. Some of the best fine dining experiences can be found above 11,000 feet! For a four-course lunch or dinner you will never forget, take the gondola to the Alpenglow Stube - the highest gourmet restaurant in North America!Ranked seventh overall in the Zagat Survey, this Bavarian hideaway makes you trade in your ski boots at the door for a pair of warm fuzzy slippers before indulging your palate. Next door is Der Fondue Chessel, featuring an authentic four course Swiss fondue meal served family style. This place is perfect for large groups looking for a raucous good time of live music and dance. Don't forget to leave room for the dessert.
 
 
What I Think:
What I love about Keystone is that it has everything; a town off of I-70 with restaurants, a supermarket, a movie theatre, a drugstore, emergency medical care etc.  When you get off I-70, you drive through this town and pass a beautiful lake, where one can see boats and bikes in the summer and cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter.  Then you drive away from the hustle bustle into a quiet, forested wonderland-no noise from I-70.  The car rounds a bend, and there is the ski resort with a charming town full of shops and restaurants.  Everything is so close, wherever you stay, you can walk to your destination.  I experienced Keystone for the most wonderful of reasons- our daughter was married at Arapahoe Basin six miles away.  It is a magical place not to be missed.