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Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Keystone. What you see from the base of the mountain is only a fraction of the terrain you can enjoy when you ski or snowboard at Keystone. There's plenty more to Keystone Mountain, and much of it is geared to novice and intermediate skiers. The Schoolmarm Trail has 3.5 miles of runs where you can practice turns. Dercum Mountain is easily reached from the base via high-speed chairs or the River Run gondola. You can ski or ride down the back side of Dercum Mountain to reach North Peak, a mix of groomed cruising trails and ungroomed bump runs.
If you prefer to bypass North Peak, the River Run gondola is a short walk from the Outpost gondola, which takes you to the Outpost Lodge (home to the Alpenglow Stube, which at 11,444 feet above sea level is advertised as the "highest gourmet restaurant in the country"). From here it's an easy downhill run to the third mountain, appropriately named the Outback because of its wilderness setting. Some glades have trees thinned just enough for skiers and riders who are learning to explore gladed terrain; other sections are reserved for advanced skiers. Weather permitting, the resort also has snowcat tours that whisk you up to powder skiing on some of the state's steepest terrain.
One of the most popular nonskiing or boarding sports at Keystone is tubing. Both Adventure Point at the summit of Dercum Mountain and the Keystone Nordic Center have tube rentals and runs, but reserve a day or two ahead of time. Personal sleds and tubes are not allowed. U.S. 6, Keystone, CO, 80435. 800/239–1639. www.keystoneresort.com. Early Nov.–early Apr.; call for hrs.
3,128-foot vertical drop; 3,148 skiable acres; 19% beginner, 32% intermediate, 49% advanced; 20 lifts; 2 gondolas, 1 super six lift, 5 high-speed quad chairs, 1 quad chair, 1 triple chair, 3 double chairs, 1 surface lift, and 6 carpets.
Lessons and Programs
Keystone has a variety of instructional programs, from half-day group lessons to specialty clinics, including mogul classes and women's seminars.
With prices at $96 for a lift ticket, few skiers pay the walk-up rate. Season passes, which range from 10 days of skiing to unlimited access, are available through Vail Resorts, which owns Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek. Most vacationers purchase lift-and-lodging packages or multiday lift passes at discounted rates online and at local Safeway and King Soopers grocery stores.
Rental packages (skis, boots, and poles, or snowboards and boots) start at around $35 per day for a basic package but increase quickly for high-performance gear. Cheaper ski and snowboard stores are in Breckenridge, Dillon, and Frisco.
Keystone has children's centers at the base of River Run and at the Mountain House for children three months to six years. The resort also has private classes for families.
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