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How's Keystone?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi Everybody,

First Time Poster!

My wife and I are starting to think about taking the family on a ski vacation out West over the holidays, or maybe even into February (Is there a "Best Time" to go?).

We all ski all winter long at a small resort in North West NY, and have made a few trips up to Vermont to ski at Stowe because we have some family up there, but we're looking to take the kids (11 and 13) on a blowout vacation this year and we thought this would be a great way to do it.

Any advice? A friend of mine suggested we look at Keystone resort (closest to Denver, CO), but I honestly can't tell what is the best place to go. Has anyone been there before who can speak for it?

Thanks! Any help appreciated!
post #2 of 23

I wouldn't recommend it over the Holidays, just because it's too close to Denver and on the Epic pass?

 

 

If you're paying full price, go to a non VR resort!

post #3 of 23

Hey, I would fly right past Colorado and head to Park City Utah.  3 mountains, one very cool town, Olympic Park which is super fun for kids, 35 minutes up a highway from SLC international and many more world class ski resorts within 45 minutes.  Keystone is ok but if I was doing a big time trip I would go straight to Utah for a family that skis back east on a regular basis...sure it will be fun wherever you go...

post #4 of 23

Keystone’s a cool mountain. If you’re from the Least Coast and are coming to Colorado for the first time, you’ll be blown away. From a Rocky Mtn perspective, it doesn’t get major snow or have super gnarly terrain, but it’s very fun, especially for families. The layout is tricky and it's sprawled out at 3200 acres ( it’s 3 mountains in a row) but once you get off the front side and get towards the Outback, there’s some really fun trees and steeps. The terrain park is arguably the best in the country (if you’re into that) and plentiful night skiing is available.

 

Also, if you got the Epic Pass, you could ski Keystone, Breckenridge, A-Basin nearby, with Vail and Beaver Creek another 40 minutes away. You’ve got plenty of options there.

 

As Shred mentioned, it can get crowded on weekends and holidays, so be prepared. If you’re absolutely focused on Summit County, Copper Mountain is really fun too. Nowhere near as packed, terrain is very balanced and naturally separated (check out the trail map, you’ll see what I mean), free snow cat and fast lifts. 

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowlowski View Post

Hey, I would fly right past Colorado and head to Park City Utah.  

 

Oh noooo….

 

It’s that time of year. Time to start up the old “UTAH VS. COLORADO” Thread…

snowfight.gif

post #6 of 23

I've only visited summit county once so I'm no expert. We skied around most of the major resorts, Breck, Arapahoe, Vail, Beaver & Keystone. I must say I think our most enjoyable days were at Keystone. I wouldn't stay there however because there's not much of a village. Breck is real close by & offers much more in the way of apres ski options for a family. However out of the areas skied we found Breck to be the least enjoyable. We were staying right across the street from one of the chairs at Breck but only skied there one day. It does pay to rent a car so you can explore the area a little & not be tied down to one area. I'd also recommend a 4WD SUV as it snowed almost every day even though we were there mid April, I'm sure glad we did. They even had to cancel the opening day baseball game down in Denver because of snow. I have no idea how crowded it can get during holiday periods since our trip was in April & all the resorts were empty. I'm sure you'll have a good time no matter where you decide to go. Just my 2 cents.
 

post #7 of 23
Depends on when you are there. I wouldn't visit Keystone during the Christmas holidays, frankly. Midweek in January, it's a blast.
post #8 of 23

Welcome to Epicski.  I made a visit with my family to Keystone a few years ago.  It was early April with no crowds and we got 15" snow on first day, so my memories of Keystone are very good.  It's about 75 west of downtown Denver and it's close to Arapahoe Basin which should be visited if in the area to complement the family friendly mellowness of Keystone with serious bump runs and nice high alpine scenery.  My guess is that New England February school holiday time frame wouldn't be too bad there, but conventional wisdom is to avoid it for Christmas.  Go to Le Massif for Christmas:-) or if heading West maybe Solitude and Brighton, UT.

Keystone trip report:  http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1022

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post

Keystone’s a cool mountain. If you’re from the Least Coast and are coming to Colorado for the first time, you’ll be blown away. From a Rocky Mtn perspective, it doesn’t get major snow or have super gnarly terrain, but it’s very fun, especially for families.

^^This.

 

And they have $5 snowcat rides from the "back" mountain that has some fine terrain. Great trees back there too.

post #10 of 23

Keystone, as well as Breck, Copper and Vail are all INCREDIBLY crowded.  If you go to Colorado...try Aspen or Telluride if you can.  Both places are much more beautiful, uncrowded and have much nicer towns than any of the places near Denver.  

 

Also, last February we spent time at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin in Montana...a great experience and better value for your money.  Moonlight was virtually deserted and has terrain for everyone.  Big Sky is has great terrain, more snow than Summit County and nowhere near the crowds that Colorado's I70 resorts have.  My wife and I were amazed at how relaxed it was skiing in MT versus CO...the lack of massive lift lines and mobs of skiers heading down the same run was so refreshing.  

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post

Keystone, as well as Breck, Copper and Vail are all INCREDIBLY crowded.  If you go to Colorado...try Aspen or Telluride if you can.  Both places are much more beautiful, uncrowded and have much nicer towns than any of the places near Denver.  

 

Also, last February we spent time at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin in Montana...a great experience and better value for your money.  Moonlight was virtually deserted and has terrain for everyone.  Big Sky is has great terrain, more snow than Summit County and nowhere near the crowds that Colorado's I70 resorts have.  My wife and I were amazed at how relaxed it was skiing in MT versus CO...the lack of massive lift lines and mobs of skiers heading down the same run was so refreshing.  

th_dunno-1[1].gif While I'm sure MT is uncrowded, and T'ride and Aspen are prettier and also less crowded, the other areas are not always "incredibly" crowded. As I said earlier, it depends on when you are going. Even on busy days, there are many ways to avoid lift lines. Get there early, eat early, ski when others are at breakfast or lunch ... 

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

th_dunno-1%5B1%5D.gif While I'm sure MT is uncrowded, and T'ride and Aspen are prettier and also less crowded, the other areas are not always "incredibly" crowded. As I said earlier, it depends on when you are going. Even on busy days, there are many ways to avoid lift lines. Get there early, eat early, ski when others are at breakfast or lunch ... 

Seconded. There is no doubt that the Vail Resorts properties can get slammed on the weekends or holidays, but Copper has much less traffic. And there are ways to reduce the time in lift lines at Copper as well -- the Secret Pass lets you use shorter lines for the ski school at the busiest lifts, although it often isn't needed.

If you plan strategically, you can arbitrage the crowds, if any.

Mike
post #13 of 23

as far as time of year... skiiing is great all the way through March and often into April.  the last half of March is spring break time though.

 

if it's a non-holiday time crowds will not be bad on weekdays.

 

depending on you level, keystone could be great. they have really nice long open "blue" groomers on the front side perfect for carving.

the back mountains will have a little more bump and treee runs.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post

Keystone, as well as Breck, Copper and Vail are all INCREDIBLY crowded.  If you go to Colorado...try Aspen or Telluride if you can.  Both places are much more beautiful, uncrowded and have much nicer towns than any of the places near Denver.  

 

Also, last February we spent time at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin in Montana...a great experience and better value for your money.  Moonlight was virtually deserted and has terrain for everyone.  Big Sky is has great terrain, more snow than Summit County and nowhere near the crowds that Colorado's I70 resorts have.  My wife and I were amazed at how relaxed it was skiing in MT versus CO...the lack of massive lift lines and mobs of skiers heading down the same run was so refreshing.  

 

 

You have no idea what you are talking about.....that may be true at the VR resorts but it is most definitely not true at Copper.  

post #15 of 23

^^^ Based on my limited experience, but I'd have to agree.  I went to Vail and Copper on back to back weekdays last February with equal fresh snow (6-8" overnight) and there were way, way, way LESS people at Copper than Vail.  Vail was a bit crowded, while Copper was pretty mellow and we barely waited in line all day.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input everybody!

 

I didn't think that crowds would be such an issue. I mean, I knew it would be busier over the holidays, but with so much skiing around I just figured everybody just spread out and there wouldn't be too many people in any one place.

 

Is there anything else we should look out for? The kids are kind-of excited about the terrain park at keystone and the outdoor ice-skating rink sounds pretty neat. Would it be worth it to stay at the village in Keystone and then just take day-trips to some of the other ski resorts close by? Is it less expensive to stay somewhere else?

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastSkier2 View Post

Is there anything else we should look out for? The kids are kind-of excited about the terrain park at keystone and the outdoor ice-skating rink sounds pretty neat. Would it be worth it to stay at the village in Keystone and then just take day-trips to some of the other ski resorts close by? Is it less expensive to stay somewhere else?

 

I did this last season because I had a free condo hookup and it worked out pretty well.  It's less than an hour to Vail, for example, and then of course A-Basin and Breck are pretty close.  We actually didn't ski at Keystone (other than few night laps) until the last day even though we were about 100 feet from the gondola.

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastSkier2 View Post

Thanks for the input everybody!

 

I didn't think that crowds would be such an issue. I mean, I knew it would be busier over the holidays, but with so much skiing around I just figured everybody just spread out and there wouldn't be too many people in any one place.

 

Is there anything else we should look out for? The kids are kind-of excited about the terrain park at keystone and the outdoor ice-skating rink sounds pretty neat. Would it be worth it to stay at the village in Keystone and then just take day-trips to some of the other ski resorts close by? Is it less expensive to stay somewhere else?

I like Keystone and mid-week crowds are usually not too bad, but there are definitely a few spots on the weekends/holidays where you can get some bottlenecks.  

 

Staying the Village would be very convenient with kids and could potentially let you skip renting a car (but then would have to pay CME or something similar to get up there)- free bus service from the Village to A-Basin and Breck with direct routes.  If you wanted to go to Copper, Loveland or Vail, you would want to have a car.  If you are interested in sampling the other resorts, then yes, I think it would likely be cheaper to stay in Dillon, Silverthorne or Frisco.  

 

KS has a world class terrain park and the neat thing is that you can watch some of the kids doing crazy stuff while you ride up the Peru lift.  Breck, Copper and Vail had decent terrain parks also.  In terms of half pipes, Copper and Breck are probably the best/biggest with Vail having a smaller one that can offer a nice warm-up experience for the kids...having trouble remember much about Keystone`s pipe or if they even have one.

 

The other thing to be aware of is the HIGH ALTITUDE in Summit County with all the BASE areas above 9 K.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastSkier2 View Post

Is there anything else we should look out for? The kids are kind-of excited about the terrain park at keystone and the outdoor ice-skating rink sounds pretty neat. Would it be worth it to stay at the village in Keystone and then just take day-trips to some of the other ski resorts close by? Is it less expensive to stay somewhere else?

 

Prices will be dependent on how close you want to be to the slopes. If you stayed in Breck, my wife and I really like the Allaire Timbers Inn, it’s just south of downtown and right near the Breckenridge Brewery.

 

I’d just swing one of the Epic Pass deals. Breck is 15 minutes from Keystone, and A-Basin is 5  minutes up the road. You’ve got 6400 acres between the 3 resorts. That will keep your family busy for a long, long time…

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post

 

 

You have no idea what you are talking about.....that may be true at the VR resorts but it is most definitely not true at Copper.  

Yes, I have no idea...I learned to ski at Copper, was a regular season pass holder for many years and would ski 30 or so days/season at Copper (and more at other Summit Co. areas).  While Copper isn't as bad as VR it gets bad.  Try skiing in another state or even outside of Summit Co.  You have no clue.  I'm just saying that there are many places to go with a family for a ski vacation where you can get a far better overall skiing experience with a tenth of the crowds and at a lower price than Summit Co.

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post

Keystone, as well as Breck, Copper and Vail are all INCREDIBLY crowded.  If you go to Colorado...try Aspen or Telluride if you can.  Both places are much more beautiful, uncrowded and have much nicer towns than any of the places near Denver.  

 

Also, last February we spent time at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin in Montana...a great experience and better value for your money.  Moonlight was virtually deserted and has terrain for everyone.  Big Sky is has great terrain, more snow than Summit County and nowhere near the crowds that Colorado's I70 resorts have.  My wife and I were amazed at how relaxed it was skiing in MT versus CO...the lack of massive lift lines and mobs of skiers heading down the same run was so refreshing.  

 

I think Jay_p's advice about crowds is spot on.  I always avoid Summit/Vail ski areas and think Telluride and Aspen are way better.  That being said, Telluride and Aspen are harder to get to so you have to choose which is more important: shorter travel or no crowds. 

 

That being said, Keystone isn't a bad ski area.  Lines are common but they're not that long and some slopes are uncongested.  If you end up going to Keystone, people here can tell you how to avoid the crowds and have a real good time.  You'll have fun regardless of your choice.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post

Yes, I have no idea...I learned to ski at Copper, was a regular season pass holder for many years and would ski 30 or so days/season at Copper (and more at other Summit Co. areas).  While Copper isn't as bad as VR it gets bad.  Try skiing in another state or even outside of Summit Co.  You have no clue.  I'm just saying that there are many places to go with a family for a ski vacation where you can get a far better overall skiing experience with a tenth of the crowds and at a lower price than Summit Co.

When was that?

 

Anyway, yes, we all agree that CO ski areas can get crowded. I travel regularly to other states (and countries) to ski, so I also know what I'm talking about. Non-holiday weekdays at Copper are never crowded. I guess if you ski to the base at 10:30 on the weekend, you might stand in a line, yes. I have been a season pass holder at Copper for the past 12 years, a homeowner there for 6? 7? and it is not an "incredibly" crowded mountain, that is silly. OP is coming from the east, I think he probably knows about "incredibly" crowded.  Thanksgiving on the years where hardly any runs are open is about the only time I can think of describing the actual skiing as being crowded.  

 

That said, certainly other places will be less crowded, yes. They are usually more expensive, too, whether because of poor accessibility or something else.

post #23 of 23

To the OP-I had an Epic Pass for several years when we lived in Gypsum. I tried to like Keytone but it never panned out for me there. This is a classic case of a ski area looking great on paper (trail map) but the skiing just doesn't live up to what you expect.

 

It gets very icy on the main groomers-I would not want to take my family there. I have never seen so many out of control skiers/boarders playing dodge ball with each other. Add in the pants to the ground attitude of the park scene along with 24 oz PBR's-not a good time. My wife used to work for VVMC (Vali Valley Medical Center). They had a clinic at Keystone-and the 24 hours of Keystone was pure carnage. I think School Marm used to be rated the number one dangerous trail in the US-due to icy man made snow and out of control skiers/boarders.

 

Of the 5 resorts on my Epic Pass Keystone was by far my least favorite. You can do better

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