Ski Resort Life

2001 Number 27 Resort in North America: Keystone, Colo.


Keystone, which moved up six spots in the rankings, may come as close as any North American resort to being all things to all skiers. In fact, this Summit County playground, located just 90 miles west of Denver International Airport, was the only resort to score gold or silver medals in each of the 16 survey categories. Built in the Seventies as an easy-access, family-friendly ski resort, Keystone has diversified and strengthened its portfolio with age. Make no mistake: The abundance of condos (albeit few are ski-in/ski-out) coupled with night skiing, skating, tubing, sleigh rides, nordic skiing, cooking classes and snowmobiling keeps families exercised and entertained 24/7. “We love Keystone,” declares one reader. Yet to dwell only on the family offerings that first put Keystone on the ski map would be to miss its impressive coming out party. Many of Colorado’s savviest-and strongest-skiers and riders head for the steep, gladed Outback acreage that earned Keystone gold medals in Challenge and Terrain-and an action segment in this fall’s Warren Miller film, “Ride.” “Even on crowded days, there’s plenty of hidden terrain,” one reader says. The resort also has developed a thriving center with the River Run Village, which offers a variety of accommodations, shops, restaurants and an up-and-coming après-ski scene. No surprise that Keystone’s assets show up on the bottom line: It was the third busiest ski resort in the country last season. “Except for Vail, it’s the best resort in Colorado,” concludes one reader. No faint praise, there.

WHAT’S NEW The excruciatingly slow Ruby triple has been replaced by a $3.1 million six-pack, cutting ride time from Keystone’s backside in half.

A GOOD DEAl Keystone offers a different SnowSaver deal each month, ranging from lessons to lift tickets. Call (800) 404-3535.

MEDALS GOLD Lifts, Grooming, Terrain, Challenge, Lifts, Weather, Access, On-Mountain Food, Family Programs; SILVER Snow, Value, Service, Lodging, Dining, Après Ski, Scenery.

HIGH/LOW RANK Mountain Food (9), Access (10), Family Programs (12); Snow (32), Value (32), Challenge (42).

DON’T MISS Award-winning dining at The Keystone Ranch and Alpenglow Stube, the continent’s highest (11,444 feet) gourmet restaurant.

READER REMARKS (+) “The improvements to the village and mountain over the past few years are impressive.” (-) “Too many bottlenecks getting to the bottom of the mountain.” “No nightlife.”