Keystone, Colo.: Rank 12 West, 1998

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Keystone isn't Aspen or Sun Valley, nor does it pretend to be. The unpretentious attitude is just what many SKI readers like about this three-peaked Summit County resort. That plus 1,755 acres of varied and surprisingly challenging terrain, the ninth-ranked on-mountain food in North America and an abundance of slopeside lodging. Keystone meets all needs: Intermediates boost their egos on Starfire and Elk Run while thrill-seekers flow to North Peak and The Outback. You have to drive to nearby Frisco or Breckenridge for a kicky nightlife, but Keystone has its own brand of evening activity: night skiing until 9 pm, which is one reason the resort consistently earns high marks from families¿and other skiers. "Great place to have a business meeting in the morning and ski in the afternoon," a reader says. Even with hundreds of upscale condos (plus retail shops and restaurants) rising up in the smartly planned $700 million River Run Village, Keystone retains a Silver medal for Value. The Keystone ticket is also good at A-Basin and Breckenridge, and some ticket packages will also get you on the lifts at Vail and Beaver Creek. All five are connected by shuttle. "This place makes you happy," a reader says.

What's New The slow Santiago lift is replaced by a high-speed quad; snowboarding park; tubing hill; a renovated Keystone Lodge.
A Good Deal Pay $224 per person from opening day through Dec. 17 for four nights' lodging and four days' skiing. Call (800) 427-8308.
Medals Gold Terrain, Lifts, Grooming, Family; Silver Snow, Challenge, Value, Service, Weather, Access, Food, Lodging, Off-Hill Activities, Scenery.
High/Low Rank Family (9), Food (9); Challenge (44).
Don't Miss Lunch at the Alpenglow Stube is unforgettable, from the comfy slippers to the Pine Cone Pate.
Reader Remarks "Fast lifts, family oriented, night skiing¿they make you feel like a king." "Parking, liftlines, crowds and a difficult egress."