Keystone Resort, Colorado is home to world-class ski terrain, incredible restaurants, affordable cat skiing, three mountain peaks, and is one of the few resorts in Colorado that offers night skiing, making for a day out. longer ski runs, offering visitors a huge bang for their buck. It is also home to Kidtopia, a festival where children can have fun participating in fun activities designed just for them, including visiting and playing in a huge snow fort on top of the mountain! Not to mention the countless other winter activities to enjoy, like snow tubing, ice skating, fine dining, sleigh rides, live music, festivals, and more!
So you’ve made the decision to visit Keystone this winter, now comes the hard part, where to stay? Keystone is a small town, about 3 miles long, located in a valley at the foot of the mountain. The mountain itself is made up of three separate peaks that are aligned from north to south; Dercum, North Peak, and the Outback each offer their own unique terrain and characteristics. Dercum Mountain is the furthest peak to the north and its front offers the only two access points to the entire mountain, River Run and Mountain House.
Of the two base areas, River Run is the newer of the two and is known as the main village, where both the gondola and the Summit Express chairlift pick you up and take you to the top of Dercum Mountain. This town has a pedestrianized area for walking, with many nice boutiques, ski rental shops, cafes and restaurants. There is an outdoor night ski control near the gondola and the restrooms and lockers inside the season pass and ticket office. The only thing this base area really lacks is a central “ski lodge,” but to make up for it there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the slopes. The Kickapoo Tavern is a fun place to have lunch or a beer after skiing, with a large outdoor patio overlooking the slopes. Some fun features of River Run Village are the Dercum Square outdoor ice rink, the various statues throughout the village, the many unique shops, and an outdoor gas fire pit, which is perfect for warming up on a cold day. There are a bevy of River Run lodging options within yards of the gondola, including Springs, Jackpine, Arapahoe, Black Bear, Silver Mill, Dakota, Buffalo, Expedition Station, and Red Hawk Lodge. The two true ski-in / ski-out properties in Keystone are the Lone Eagle and Timbers, which are actually located across the Snake River Bridge, past the gondola and then up the slopes within a few feet of the Village.
Both bases are home to ski schools, skier services, and rental shops. Mountain House has a great beginner area with a magic carpet and a lift chair. You can find similar terrain for beginners at the mid-mountain gondola stop and at the top near Schoolmarm. Although you won’t find the pedestrianized ‘mall’ area here with the same extensive shopping and dining options as River Run, you will find the Mountain House to be a true ski resort base area complete with indoor lockers hostel, coffee shop, a bar, ski equipment store and restrooms; satisfying the needs of any skier. You will also find a lift ticket office here at the base near the two ski lifts, the Peru and the Argentine. The Peru Lift takes you to the top of Area-51, along with some green and blue runs and you can return to the River Run Base area in just one run or hop on the fast mid-mountain Montezuma elevator to head to the top.
Accommodation prices at Mountain House tend to be a bit lower than River Run, while offering most of the same amenities. Chateaux DuMont properties are very popular and unique, most have a private Jacuzzi overlooking the hillside! Slopeside condos are another great option at Mountain House, and they’re just steps from the elevators. There are quite a few properties here that are within walking distance of the mountain at a fraction of the cost. If you feel the need to go through the main town, just go skiing or take a bus.
There are also many accommodation options outside of the two main towns. Settler’s Creek in East Keystone is one of the community’s newest and most popular housing developments, featuring beautiful multi-story townhomes with garages and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. At the center of the neighborhood is ‘Minnie’s Cabin’, a central recreational gathering place, complete with a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, pool table, grill, and gathering area for hosting gatherings and barbecues.
Keystone Resort has a free shuttle service that will take you anywhere you need to go within Keystone and most lodging complexes are served by the shuttle service. Most trips to the slopes from anywhere in Keystone are 10 minutes or less! There is also a free countywide transit system known as the Summit Stage, which makes it very easy to get around the highlands without a car. Denver International Airport is only 90 minutes away and there are numerous transportation companies that will take you to and from the airport.
If you are willing to stay outside of Keystone’s main towns, you can often find better deals and prices on your accommodation. Make sure you choose a property management company that allows you to choose the exact property you will be staying at so that you know what to expect and can plan your trip in advance. If you have a large group, ask the property manager about renting a private home. Wherever you stay in Keystone, you will find it easy to find everything you are looking for and more.