I can't imagine a ski shuttle bus that won't let you wear ski boots. Skis in rack (usually, but been on buses where you just haul your skis onto bus and hold them yourself). Poles in rack (if looks secure) or on bus, follow lead of others.
When I know I'm going to use a bus, I bring those little velcro straps to bind skis together - makes skis a tad easier to manage into/out of racks. You can also use them to bind your poles to your skis for more secure rack storage of poles.
if you are not used to riding busses (applies to gondola's too) ---twin tips sometimes don't fit the racks as a pair, you have to seperate them.
Bus service from dillon is very good to breck -- never went to keystone and we drove from dillon to vail so I don;t really know that route either---oh well, 1 of 3 is great in major league baseball !
Boots don't matter - on or in a bag. Skis on rack. Poles - IMHO, always bring inside. They won't hold up to highway speeds; besides they don't fasten to side of bus or to your skis.
You can drive to Keystone (10min) and Breck (20min) and park in free parking. Breck takes a bit longer to get to mtn from prkg lot because the bus only gets you to a gondola that takes you to the mtn. Plan on everything in Breck taking just a bit longer - especially during spring break.
You can choose not to drive while in the county. take the free Summit Stage from multiple stops in Dillon to Keystone or Breck.
Driving to Vail from Dillon takes about 30-40 min in good weather/traffic. However, there are only a handful of elusive, free parking spots in and around Vail that requires a bus ride. Much less hassle to just pony up the $20-25 parking structure fee at Vail Village and Lionshead. This also makes it easier to put your boots on out of the weather. Still, there's a decent walk to get to the lifts.
I've found that Beaver Creek is more convenient than Vail for day skiers regarding parking/getting to from the lifts. It's normally only 8-10 mins. further down the freeway at the main Avon exit. They have free convenient free parking.
To prevent fan and paparazzi mayhem, I believe a secret limo transports him from the private jet tarmac, directly to the 'Red Carpet' leading to the VIP gondola. His personal ski caddy handles all the gear.
Welcome to Epic and welcome to my neighborhood! If you see someone walking an injured greyhound, please say "Hi!" You can also get a free shuttle bus right to the mountain from Dillon and Dillon Valley. In that case, you would want to wear your shoes and check them at the mountain. However, the free Summit Stage gets you closer to the mountain than the parking lot! Have fun, and let me know if I can be of any assitance.
Keystone: Free parking within walking distance at the River Run base. Paid parking only at the Mountain House Base. Don't need a shuttle unless you get there really late on a crowded day and need to park in the satellite lots. Shuttles are school buses with racks on the outside. Often not enough rack space so people carry their skis into the bus as well. Most skiers are wearing their ski boots.
Breckenridge: Free parking with a shuttle to the Gondola (and the peak 9 base, I think). Can't remember but I believe that the buses have racks outside the buses. There is also $5 and $10 parking at the base of the Gondola. Gondola is carry your skis inside. Again boots are common in both shuttles and gondola.
Vail: I just give up and pay for parking in Lionshead. $25 for the garage. $30 for Valet. I then hoof it to the lift. If you have a bunch of kids and/or gear to manage, the extra $5 for Valet (+tip) may not be a bad deal. You will be right at the Golden Peak base and can catch the RivaBahn express very easily.
Copper: Free parking has shuttle buses to the 3 bases. Shuttles are carry your skis inside. Again like all these places, most skiers wear ski boots.
A Basin: Parking within walking distance. Although late comers can have a hike on the highway.
WP: Get there early and park for free in MJ. Walking distance.
Thanks everyone for the information and insight. I've been scouring the interweb for information about Keystone, Breck, and Vail. I'll be ordering the 3 of 5 day lift tickets today or tomorrow from Peaks. Has anyone skied the Vail intermediate mountain tour? It's a feature on the Vail site that lays out a day of skiing, looks like a good way to get to know the mountain.