Keystone Trip Plan

5 days – (Moderate to Strenuous)

In talking to some of the people at my job about skiing and snowboarding, I got the recommendation to check out Keystone. The idea was that it would give me a taste of Colorado snow, in a laid back atmosphere on a mountain that was beginner to intermediate friendly, and in a resort area that was nice, but not outrageoulsy expensive (like Vail for example). Since I was bringing my fiance, who does not ski or snowboard, it neded to have other options available. She was willing to try other things such as snowshoeing and cross country, as well as any other "recommmended" local activities. Also, since my friend JP, who is from Miami and his girlfriend Letrice, from Atlanta, were beginners, it had to have a decnet learning program and a good beginners area.

In my preparation, I made an effort to think about exactly what I would want to get out of the 5 days I was going to spend there. I knew that I wanted to at least take one day and just work my fakie side riding, so that could be the second day. I also knew that I wanted a kitchen so that I could cook food for breakfast and lunch, because I'm not very fond of mountain food. And of course, the obligatory fireplace is a must. Finally, I didn't want to do more than 2 days in a row on the mountain, since I knew between the altitude and the long days of activity, i would need at least 1 rest day if not 2.

From the Keystone Web Site:

3 Mountains, 5 Bowls, Acres of Fun

Located in the White River National Forest just an hour from Denver, Keystone is home to three magnificent mountain playgrounds—Dercum Mountain, North Peak, and The Outback.  There’s something special for every skier and rider of any level at each mountain. There are more than 3,000 vertical feet and over 3,000 acres of bowls, bumps, glades, steeps and groomers to be experienced.

Dercum Mountain  peaks at 11,640 feet and offers skiers and riders a variety of green beginner runs and blue intermediate runs with long groomers, A51 Terrain Park – one of Transworld Snowboarding's Top 10 Parks for the second year running – Night Skiing  and tubing at Adventure Point.   Access The Windows some of the finest tree skiing at Keystone from top of Dercum Mountain.  Bergman, Erikson and Independence Bowls are best explored by guided cat skiing tours  that depart from Cat Ski Central at the top of Dercum Mountain.

North Peak   tops out at 11,660 feet and offers skiers and riders long bump runs with a variety of blue intermediate and black expert runs.  At the top lives The Outpost.  The Outpost is home to The Alpenglow Stube, Der Fondue Chessel and the Timber Ridge Food Court.  Access scenic snowcat tours from the top of North Peak.  

The Outback peaks at 11,980 feet and offers skiers and riders blue intermediate and black expert runs.  The Outback is home to some of the states' best tree skiing and North and South Bowls.  Hike to North and South bowl or take the Outback Cat Shu ttle.

Keystone offers guided snowcat tours /hiking access to 278 acres of our new expert terrain in Independence Bowl.  Keystone Adventure Tours cat skiing will provide guided tours to Independence, along with Erickson and Bergman bowls.  Independence will also be accessible by hiking for a "backcountry light" experience.

Colorado’s biggest night skiing  operation is here, including some features in A51 Terrain Park, which you can also check out under the lights.   

The U.S. Ski Team  and Keystone, along with York Snow, partnered to install additional snowmaking on Keystone’s North Peak and provided exclusive early-season training for U.S. Ski Team athletes this November.

The overview


Red Hawk Townhomes

Right in the heart of River Run, convenient to all skier services including River Run Gondola and Summit Express, these condominiums are near dining, shops, nightlife and lively village festivals. River Run Condominiums are located in eight properties: Arapahoe Lodge, Black Bear Lodge, Jackpine, Dakota Lodge, Silvermill, Expedition Station, Redhawk Lodge and Buffalo Lodge. Types of accommodations available in these properties include studios, one, two, three and four bedroom condominiums.





Enjoy a quiet walk across snow-covered fields or through pine-scented forests. 

Snowshoe rentals and tours are available from the Keystone Nordic Center.

Ecology Tours- Take a guided snowshoe trek through the woods and learn about the local environment and history.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Fridays 1 - 3 p.m.  $31 includes trail fee, equipment rental, and 2-hour tour.  Minimum age is 7 years.  Senior and child rates available.  Get 50% off with the Adventure Passport.

Peak-to-Peak Trek
- Take the gondola up to the summit of Dercum Mountain, snowshoe to the Outback on North Peak.  An unforgettable experience!  Every Thursday, leaving the summit at 10:15 a.m. and returning by 3 p.m. (This tour may be offered on other days with a minimum of 3 people in your party.)  $60 includes snowshoe rental, tour, and gondola/lift ride.  Minimum age is 12 years.  Senior and teen rates available.  Reservations are requested.

Full Moon Tours-
 Experience a moon-lit snowshoe tour and enjoy a light supper.  $35 includes equipment rental, tour, and a soup buffet dinner.  Tour begins between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., depending on time of year. Minimum age is 12 years.  Senior and child rates available.  Reservation are required. Winter 07/08 Full Moon Tour dates: December 22, 2007; January 19, February 22, and March 21, 2008.



Trip Costs

The costs of the trip include the Condo, Fligth to Denver, Rental Car from Airport and back, Lift Tickes, and Food. Additional costs are for dining out, and lessons, which you may or may not want to do.

Every expedition has different equipment needs, but the beauty of owning is that you only have to buy it once.  As long as you take good care of your equipment, your gear costs should drop as you go on more and more expeditions. Since I owned my board already, there was no cost for gear at all for this trip.


Red Hawk Townhomes
Continental Newark - Denver
Rental Car
Lift Tickets
4 of 5 Days
Dining Out



"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

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