View of the author Abigail Nueve in winter gear and skis on a ski slope at Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado

Keystone Ski Resort (Ultimate Travel Guide)

I’m a Colorado local and avid skier who frequents Keystone Ski Resort. After all, it’s one of the best ski resorts in Colorado

In this guide, I’ll share a little bit of history and a whole lot of info on what to expect this season at Keystone Resort. Read suggestions on where to stay, things to do, and where to go depending on your skill level. I provide gear tips and how to save a bit of cash, too. 

Here’s what I’ll cover in this post: 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

About Keystone Resort

Snowcapped mountain views from Keystone's Santa Fe run during winter
Views from the intermediate Santa Fe run

Keystone Resort Stats

  • 📍 100 Dercum Square, Keystone, CO 80435
  • 📞 (855) 603-0049
  • 💻 Website
  • 📅 Ski area open October 28, 2022, to April 16, 2023
  • 🎿 Standard lift hours: 9 am to 4 pm  
  • 🌙 Night skiing hours: 4 pm to 8 pm (weekends and holidays through March 26)
  • ⛰️ Summit elevation: 12,408 feet (3,782 meters)
  • ❄️ Average snowfall: 236 inches (599 centimeters) 
  • 🗺️ Acres: 3,148
  • 🏂 Number of trails: 128
  • ⛷️ Vertical drop: 3,128 feet (953 meters)
  • 🚡 Number of ski lifts: 20

Keystone Resort History

It’s hard to imagine that just a few decades ago, this now-resort town was wilderness. During the 1950s and ‘60s, skier and professional forester Max Dercum filed mining claims in the area. But this wasn’t in search of gold. Rather, he skied and hiked these 500 acres, documenting the land in hopes of turning it into a ski resort.

On New Year’s Day of 1969, Dercum partnered with corporate lawyer Bill Bergman. Together, they developed the area and opened Keystone Resort on November 21, 1970. At the time, lift tickets were $5, drawing 75,000 first-year visitors. [Source]

In 1974, the resort was acquired by Ralston Purina — largely known as an animal feed company. Given the corporation’s deep pockets, expansion continued through the decades. The Keystone Ranch Golf Course opened in 1980, and skiing on North Peak began in 1984. Night skiing followed in 1985. 

In 1990, the Outback opened for skiing, and in 1994, Keystone’s River Run Village was developed. Then in 1997, Keystone was acquired by Vail Resorts (as was Breckenridge Ski Resort that same year). Keystone continued to grow, with a terrain park opening in 2003. Under this new management, the Keystone Nordic Center debuted, too.

In 2022, Keystone completed a 6000-square-foot expansion to the on-mountain Timber Ridge Lodge. It also re-established the world’s largest snow fort! Kids love this and the new fun zone at the Mountain House base area. 

In the near future, Bergman Bowl will become lift-serviced terrain. This will also expand experienced riders’ access to Independence and Erickson Bowls. For now, these areas are hike-to only. 

The author Abigail Nueve's husband on a full winter and ski gear  below the River Run Gondola and Summit Express lift at Keystone Ski Resort
My husband below the River Run Gondola and Summit Express lift

Keystone Resort Terrain

Keystone is often regarded as the best family-friendly ski resort in Colorado. It’s a bit perplexing, given that only 16% of the terrain is rated as green. But Keystone Resort offers some major perks to parents. 

Namely, by booking a 2+ night stay through Keystone, kids 12 and under ski free! Complimentary wagons help cart gear, and more family fun is available at Keystone’s Kidtopia and tubing hill. There’s also a ski and ride school with classes available to all ages. 

Those with intermediate skills will especially love the terrain at Keystone. 43% of runs are rated as blue. Most of these are accessible via the River Run Gondola and Summit Express, which run parallel to the top of Dercum Mountain. More blue trails are available from the North Peak summit and via the Outback Express. 

Lastly, 41% of the trails at Keystone are rated as black diamonds. Surprisingly, there are zero double-black runs at this resort. But experts will find plenty to enjoy, with several gladed runs from the top of North Peak and The Outback. 

To get above the tree line, take the North Peak Cat Shuttle. It’s $20 per ride, or consider full-day guided cat skiing through Keystone Adventure Tours. Alternatively, those willing to earn their turns can hike up the north and south bowls for free.  

🗺️ Need A Visual? See this helpful winter trail map of Keystone.

Where to Stay Near Keystone Resort

Aerial view of River Run Village from above the mountain slope during winter
River Run Village seen from above

Looking for places to stay near Keystone? Here are some highly-rated accommodation options to consider: 

  • Arapahoe Lodge – Perfect for a family of four, this condo features ski-in, ski-out access, an equipped kitchen, and modern amenities. It’s also located in River Run Village, which is full of shopping and dining options. 
  • Expedition Station – Also steps from the ski lifts and River Run Village, this property offers one and two-bedroom apartment rentals. 
  • Gateway Mountain Lodge – These studio apartments are situated between the River Run base area and the Mountain House base area. They include a kitchenette and access to resort amenities, and a liquor store and cafe are conveniently on-site. 
  • Hyatt Place Keystone – Found near the Mountain House base area, this hotel also provides ski-in, ski-out access. It’s a quarter-mile from the Peru Express lift and is a more budget-friendly stay. 
  • Keystone Lodge and Spa – This luxurious getaway is located 2 miles west of Keystone Resort. With a 2+ night stay, kids 12 and under ski free! Transportation to the ski lifts is available, as is a spa, fitness center, and other amenities. 
  • Apartment rentals on VRBO
  • Luxury rentals on Plum Guide

Like many Colorado ski towns, accommodations in Keystone are largely condos. VRBO and Plum Guide provide a wide variety of options. Many are especially ideal for families and larger groups, as shared spaces help cut down costs, as do equipped kitchens. Transportation is made easy, too, as many places offer ski-in, ski-out access. 

If you prefer a more traditional hotel stay, Keystone Lodge and Spa is likely the area’s best pick. Hyatt Place Keystone is another solid choice, especially for budget-conscious travelers.

📚 Related Reading: Where to Stay in Keystone (Best Areas & Hotels)  

5 Things to Do Near Keystone Ski Resort

River Run Village

Shop, sip a beer, or skate around the rink in this bustling square 

People wandering around Keystone's River Run Village

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Rent a River Run Condo on VRBO

In addition to lodging, River Run Village is home to several shops, eateries, and après ski fun. Kick back with a beer at Kickapoo Tavern, or order a craft cocktail from Montezuma Roadhouse. Maybe peruse the racks for new gear and souvenirs. Or visit the Dercum Ice Skating Rink, one of the best things to do in Keystone

Snow Tubing

Take thrilling laps down the lanes at Adventure Point

People snow tubing down a slope in winter

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (855) 603-0049 | Website | Hours: 10:15 am – 3 pm daily | Entrance: starts at $19 (with pre-purchased lift ticket) 

You don’t have to travel far to experience some of the state’s best snow tubing! Head to the top of Dercum Mountain at Keystone Resort. Here at Adventure Point, 6 groomed snow tubing lanes offer guests a thrilling ride! The best part? Unlike sledding, you don’t have to slog up hill. A convenient lift will transport you back to the top for another lap. 

🧒 Have young children? To snow tube at Keystone, you must be 4+ years of age and 42+ inches tall. Families with little ones should head to the less steep (and free!) sledding hill at Frisco Adventure Park

Snowmobile Tour 

Hit powder stashes in the backcountry with a snowmobile rental or guided tour

A man driving a snowmobile in the middle of Keystone Ski Resort

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 455-4041 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: driving rates start at $180 

Snowmobiling Keystone is a rental service and tour guide company. If you’re an experienced rider, you can book a rental by the hour and explore 100+ miles of trails atop Vail Pass. Those less familiar with snowmobiling will want to book a guided experience. 

There are several tours to choose from, with the “prospector tour” being the most beginner-friendly. Children as young as 4 years can participate, though drivers must be 15+. Those carrying a passenger must be 18+. Other options include the intermediate “performance” and “high adventure” tours.

Outlets at Silverthorne 

Calm your fears if you forget any gear — retailers are a short drive away

Aerial view of the outlets at Silverthorne with a scenic view of the mountains
An aerial view of the outlets and surrounding area  

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 468-5780 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 7 pm daily 

The Outlets at Silverthorne are located roughly 15 minutes from Keystone Resort. It’s one of the best outlet malls in Colorado, convenient when you forget a piece of gear or simply want some retail therapy. 

Popular outdoor brands include Columbia, Eddie Bauer, and Under Armour. There are also fashion retailers like Calvin Klein, Coach, Levi’s, and more. 

Frisco

Explore a charming mountain town and its scenic surroundings

A closeup look of the town clock with a mountain view in the background of Frisco
(photo: Cascade Creatives / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Frisco Tours on Viator

One of the best Colorado mountain towns, Frisco is just a 20-minute drive from Keystone Resort. You’ll find plenty of things to do in Frisco, from shopping and dining to more outdoor experiences. 

For cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, visit the Frisco Nordic Center. Go fat tire biking in the backcountry, or cycle around the Dillon Reservoir Loop. There are also plenty of packed trails to hike in the surrounding White River National Forest. 

👉 Pro Tip: Take the scenic route to Frisco! Follow Swan Mountain Road along the south side of Dillon Reservoir for some breathtaking views. 

Restaurants Near Keystone Resort

People wandering around the rest area in a ski resort
Summit House, one of the several mountaintop eateries (photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

Hungry and looking for a place to eat near Keystone? Here are some of the best restaurants near Keystone Resort:

  • Timber Ridge Lodge – Found at the top of North Peak, this on-mountain restaurant underwent a 6000-square-foot expansion in 2022. It serves pub grub like cheeseburgers and chicken fingers, plus heavy-poured bloody marys. 
  • LaBonte’s Smokehouse BBQ – This barbecue shack is located at the base of the Ruby Express lift. Generous plates of brisket and sides are often enough for two to share. 
  • Summit House – Savor a steaming bowl of chili and crack open a cold one at this on-mountain eatery. It’s found at the top of Dercum Mountain, accessible from the River Run gondola. 
  • Kickapoo Tavern – Located in River Run Village, this casual restaurant serves up American cuisine and a wide variety of local Colorado beers. 
  • Montezuma Roadhouse – A contemporary American eatery in River Run Village, complete with arcade games and a pool table. 
  • Pizza On the Run – A buzzy Italian restaurant in River Run Village, serving salads, pizzas, pasta, and more. 
  • Goat Soup & Whiskey Tavern – Enjoy a laid-back vibe and comfort food menu at this Mountain House base restaurant. Live music often appears on weekends. 
  • Dos Locos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina – A fun cantina serving Mexican plates and happy hour margaritas, also found near the Mountain House base. 

There are dozens of restaurants near Keystone, catering to every preference and budget. All of the above recommendations are found at the bases of Keystone Resort, or on the mountain. Personally, when I ski at this resort, I prefer on-mountain eateries because, while maybe more expensive, you simply can’t beat the views. 

⛷️ Do As The Locals Do: When my husband and I ski, it’s not uncommon for us to bring a cooler and head back to our truck during lunchtime. You may even see others with camp cook stoves! After eating, we splurge on beers and bloodys on top of Dercum Mountain. 

Essentials to Pack for Keystone Ski Resort

There are several things to include on your Colorado packing list. But when it comes to a Keystone ski trip, here are a few specific suggestions:  

A Smart Investment

Our Pick
YETI Roadie 24 Cooler

It’s easy to rack up a hefty bill when dining in and near Keystone Resort. Save by packing a lunch in this reliable cooler that keeps ice cold for days. 

For Skiers in Training

Our Pick
Sklon Ski and Snowboard Harness Trainer for Kids

At Keystone Resort, you won’t be the only one with a leash on your young skier! It’s a great solution to avoid losing your little one and helps them to build confidence early on.

All-Day Warmth

Our Pick
Smartwool PhD Ski Ultra Light Sock

New skiers and riders, don’t wear just any socks — lightweight insulation is a must for warmth and comfort. These locally-made merino wool socks are a perfect solution.

Practical Layers

Our Pick
Merino Wool Base Layer Thermal Pants

Available in women’s and men’s styles, this merino wool base layer is another warm, comfortable choice. Few fabrics are as ideal underneath a pair of snow pants.  

Performance Tech 

Our Pick
Columbia Bugaboo Omni-Heat Pant
Also available in men’s sizes, these Columbia snow pants feature thermal reflective technology. I highly recommend these for their performance, durability, and variety of styles.

📚 Related Reading: Check out my Arapahoe Basin Ski Area guide for more gear suggestions, like snow goggles and winter coats! 

Keystone Resort Map

FAQs About Keystone Ski Resort

Is Keystone good for beginners?

Keystone is good for beginners. Though only 16% of runs are ranked as green, there’s plenty for beginning skiers to explore. A ski and ride school is also available at Keystone Resort, offering classes for all ages. 

What is Keystone Resort known for?

Keystone Resort is known for being a family-friendly resort. Beginner runs and additional activities, like snow tubing and those at Kidtopia, are great for children. 

It’s also known for River Run Village, a bustling base area with lodging and après ski entertainment. Dining, shopping, and ice skating are all within walking distance. 

***

Thanks for reading my guide to Keystone Ski Resort. Fingers crossed for lots of powder and bluebird days this season! For more, check out our guide to the top ski resorts in Colorado.

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