Keystone Travel Guide

Keystone © Ashley Denton

Keystone attracts all types from all over the world on holiday. From first-time families to rogue snowboarders, all manage to delight themselves with the many options available at this all-encompassing holiday resort. Keystone is situated only one and a half hours from Denver, and just over two hours from Denver International Airport. It is part of the Vail Resorts group, and lift tickets can be purchased to include the other resorts in that group: Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Arapahoe Basin, Vail and Heavenly (California). An efficient bus system in Summit Country connects all of these resorts (excluding Heavenly), to allow for an incredible variety of skiing in the area. Keystone itself has three separate villages with bars, restaurants, shops, rental equipment facilities and a wide range of accommodation for visitors to enjoy on holiday. What really separates Keystone from all the other holiday resorts in Colorado is the night skiing, which is exciting and fun.

Between the three mountains at Keystone there are a variety of runs to suit everybody from the greenest beginner to the most advanced. Dercum has most of the green and blue runs for the beginners, while North Peak and The Outback have blues, blacks and moguls for those who enjoy the extra challenge. For park-lovers, A51 Terrain Park has enough pipes and rails to keep them happy. And come 5pm, when most other ski resorts shut their mountains and head to the bars, Keystone keeps Dercum and A51 open until 9pm, offering the largest area for night skiing in the whole of Colorado.

In the three Keystone villages there are shops catering for all ski and snowboarding needs while there on holiday. However, for anything else the resort is quite limited. Keystone Sports in River Run and Mountain House rent out equipment and sell resort memorabilia, and there are also a couple of clothing, jewellery and souvenir stores in Keystone. General stores sell products for self-catering holiday visitors, and the nearby town of Dillon has a small shopping complex with more variety. The town of Frisco, further on, has a wider selection still.

Keystone boasts some of the best restaurants in the area, with a variety of dishes, ranging from seafood to steak, to enjoy on holiday. Top restaurants include Keystone Ranch, Ski Tip Lodge and Alpenglow Stube. An unusual option is to have dinner on a horse drawn sleigh ride, departing from Dercum Square. It is advisable to make all reservations in advance. Pizza 101 offers take-away pizza for a meal after a hard day on the slopes.

Although not as well known for its nightlife as nearby Breckenridge or Vail, Keystone has its share of bars spread across the resort. The Goat is hallowed ground for regulars and boasts cheap beer specials on select nights of the week. Happy hour and live music draws a crowd at Parrot Eyes, and there's also live music to be heard at Snake River Saloon. The Last Lift Bar at the Dercum Mountain base is a popular stop, as is the Great Northern Brewery. Tenderfoot Lounge is a laid-back venue with piano entertainment, and Pizza on the Plaza is more action packed, with a range of sports showing on their big-screen TVs.

There is plenty to do on holiday in Keystone without a set of skis or a snowboard. A range of alternative ice and snow sports, including skating, snow-shoeing, snow-mobiling, tubing, sleigh rides, and even wine tasting are on offer. Relax in one of the many spas or coffee shops, reading a book by the fire. During summer, Keystone offers two championship golf courses, making it one of the most respected golf resorts in the country. Other summer activities include mountain biking, fishing, horse riding and hiking. As with most resorts in Colorado, summer holidays are usually cheaper in Keystone, as winter is the peak tourist season on the slopes.

Over the Christmas period and Spring Break, the Keystone holiday resort and mountains can get overcrowded. The nightlife and shopping is not as good as many of the other nearby resorts.