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keystone

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
taking several families mid-dec.(adults-blue, kids-green to newbies) possibly to keystone. probably start mid-week and end during weekend. my only hesistation is that summit county resorts in the past have seemed to be rather crowded i'm sure due to proximity to denver. is keystone an exception? i've looked into the river run condos but the condo itself says it is 300 yards away. this is rather a hike. is there any overnight lockers at the base? do the greens stay packed? thanks for the info
post #2 of 12
you can store skis(and maybe boots) overnite near the lift.
for crowds, its not as packed as breck+vail, but will get some crowds. stay on upper mountain and you wont notice it as most take the same trails on the lower mountain. mid-dec. shouldnt be too crowded anyways. thats when i go to summit county and have yet to see real peak season crowds.
post #3 of 12
Keystone Mid December should not be all that crowded. River Run is a great area. When making reservations, there are actually several condo complexes that make up "River Run Condo's". This link will help you know where each condo building is.
http://www.keystoneneighbourhood.com/maps.html
I have stayed at both the Dakota and Red Hawk. Both are nice but yes, they are quite a trek to the lift. HOWEVER, they are the closest you will find except for the Lone Eagle and the Timbers (I don't think these are apart of the river run reservation system). There are 2 short green runs at the top of the Gondola that are good learners. After that, theres Schoolmarm and an host of others. I highly recommend the river run area.
post #4 of 12
Keystone certainly isn't an exception and draws quite a crowd. Thankfully, it serves as a sponge for a lot of bad skiers so it makes my day somewhere else much more enjoyable. Treat it like Disneyland and you'll be fine: rent skis the night before, eat lunch before 11:30am or after 1pm, ask employees for directions and where you can find a run you'll enjoy.
post #5 of 12
Welcome to EpicSki, Watchout! As a long-time Summit County resident, and former instructor at Keystone (15 years), I agree with what the others have said here. Keystone can be as crowded as anywhere in Summit County, but mid-December is a very slow time, so it should not be too bad. Only if we have poor early season snow, in which case Keystone would not have a lot of runs open, should you expect to have any real crowd problems that time of the season--and then, only on the weekend. Do be ware of a couple bottlenecks near the bottom of the mountain, where several trails merge, especially at the end of the day.

Keystone is an under-rated resort, in my opinion, often wrongly maligned for lack of good advanced terrain. In fact, it has some of the longest sustained blue runs anywhere, arguably THE longest green run in Colorado (Schoolmarm), and once the snow fills in, some excellent if not deadly-steep bump and powder runs on North Peak and the Outback.

Unfortunately, and with regret, I no longer recommend the ski school at Keystone. For a variety of reasons, many of which I do not know (haven't worked there for five years), it seems that almost all of their top instructors have left for "greener pastures" (Vail, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge). I know no other ski school that has suffered such an exodus of talent, anywhere. If your party intends to take lessons, you might well want to consider one of the other nearby resorts.

Have fun, and let me know if there's anything I can help you with while you're here.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #6 of 12
Watchout, I ski Keystone allot, we have a place there. River Run area is nice, it has most of the restaurants/bars and condos are newer. The downside to River Run is the ski run home is a blue and gets very crowded with skiers of all abilities, we tend to avoid it. Mid-week however should be no problem. You might inquire as to when Keystone will open mountain house lifts. I prefer to ski out of the mountain house base, especially with beginner skiers. The lines are very short, many times nonexistent, it is easy to take schoolmarm home. Typically you will find the lodging to be less than at River Run. Condos that are close to the lifts, Chateaux Du'Mont, Ironwood, Tenderfoot, Key Condos, Snowdance, of those Chateaux Du'Mont is the closest right at the lifts.

The green runs usally are not "packed" Spring Dipper a green/blue is never busy, many times you will be alone.
post #7 of 12
No question Bob, They have some great runs and what I like is alot of them are bumped on one side groomed the other, blue-black rated. I've wasted myself enough to know that you can always take the Gondola down and avoid the day ending crowds that head toward River Run.
Mozart is a great glong groomer and one of my favorite bump runs there is Diamondback. In the sun all afternoon and nice and soft.

Kima probably knows Keystone better than anyone on this website so I'd take er word for good advice.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Keystone is an under-rated resort, in my opinion, often wrongly maligned for lack of good advanced terrain. In fact, it has some of the longest sustained blue runs anywhere, arguably THE longest green run in Colorado (Schoolmarm), and once the snow fills in, some excellent if not deadly-steep bump and powder runs on North Peak and the Outback.
I still argue its pretty tame- having skiied every single last run at keystone.
True, there are some good black bump runs- but they are just your standard bump runs. If you want to huck cliffs onto 45 degree chutes, keystone will seem a bit boring.
post #9 of 12
Can't dispute that, no chutes and it isn't my favorite place to ski but the variety is there and with the extensive snow making, early to mid December skiing is almost a guarantee that there will be decent coverage.

Not everyone wants 45 degree chutes and moguls on their first ski trip.
post #10 of 12
If convenience is key, then those condos at Mountain House would be more suitable. NIce outdoor hot tub, too. But you'd have to take the little shuttle bus around to River Run where most of the bars and eateries are.
At River Run, you have a bit of a clump from the foot of the main run and chair/gondola across the bridge to a building where there are lockers. Then you have the "streets" of River Run going off from there. It's quite compact, compared with Whistler or Vail.
I think Keystone excels in steep runs with lots of grooming! Those blues off the front (frenchman springs to mind) are a lot of fun, and Go Devil is steep enough to activate my fear of heights when it's groomed (OK in powder though). And Ambush is a bump run I never skiied, only survived. The trees at Keystone are under rated, over on Outback there was some very nice bush-bashing to be had out wide, and some great runs in teh middle that were fun in fresh.
If there's snow, it's not bad at all..
for powder and excitement, you might want to check out Copper! Just 2 bus rides from Keystone (the buses are free).
post #11 of 12
oh, and for hucking cliffs and chutes, hop on the (red?) bus from Keystone, up to A Basin! Easy peasy.
post #12 of 12
I've skiied Keystone 3 weeks in the last two years. Here's my take on your questions:


is keystone an exception (to the crowding)? My experience is that the liftlines are very short, but some of the green runs on the front of the mountain (i.e., Dercum mtn) can get crowded. Especially Schoolmarm and lower River Run at the base near the gondola.

i've looked into the river run condos but the condo itself says it is 300 yards away. this is rather a hike. I agree with you. I skiied with 3 kids and 300 yds is a hike when you're humping all their stuff in addition to your own! My suggestion is to book through VRBO vs Keystone reservations. Keystone won't specify your specific condo (just that it'll be w/in 300 yds). So, you'll inevitably get the condo that is 300 yds away (e.g., Expedition Station). Plus VRBO will save you money. For example, I rented a 2 bdrm at Lone Eagle during Spring Break '03 for $2K/week. Keystone was quoting $700/night!

is there any overnight lockers at the base? Yes. There are ski lockers about 100 yds from the gondola at River Run.

do the greens stay packed? Schoolmarm can be crowded on weekends, but you won't have to wait long for the lift. Once you can ski the blues, just go to North Peak and the Outback. There are NO crowds there.
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