We survived Keystone!
My two sisters, two nephews, and one niece, packed ourselves into a cozy condo at Jack Pine right in the heart of River Run Village which is the little area with shops and restaurants at the base of the mountain. You can walk to rent skis and walk to the lifts. The lodging here is pricier than some of the surrounding condos but in my opinion it is WELL worth it to be able to walk to ski rental and lifts. Otherwise you are stuck taking a shuttle back and forth which eats up time and patience.
I’ve been skiing five times over the course of a decade so I consider myself to be a beginner. Personally, I find Keystone to be a difficult ski area. The main Green run (which is the easiest color, after the bunny slope) is called Schoolmarm and it is pretty darn steep in some areas. If you can get through those parts though, it’s amazingly long and fun. I think it’s a couple of miles – took me about an hour to ski all the way back down to the base. I’m a pretty slow skier though so results may vary.
The price of lift tickets has gone up significantly since the last time I was here. My ski jacket still had a tag attached to it from the last time I was in Keystone, so I know a half day back in 2011 was $80. This year, 2018, a half day was $125. They also exchanged the old-school paper tag zip tied to your jacket for a sleek plastic card that can go in your pocket. The scanners at the lifts beep your ticket right through your pocket!
The highlight of our trip turned out not to be skiing at all, but the international snow sculpture contest in Breckenridge. There is a free shuttle that will take you between Keystone and Breckenridge and takes about 45 minutes. We hopped on and visited to see all the awesome sculptures that the teams had worked on all week.
My sisters voted for this one titled “Time”, from team Mongolia, Tserendash, which won the Artists Choice award.
I voted for “Secret” from team Mongolia, Erdene which won the top prize overall and the People’s Choice award.
This incredibly detailed sculpture titled “Catch and Release”, was team Breckenridge’s submission.
The Kids’ Choice award went to this cool sculpture called “Thinker” from team China.
Aside from our jaunt to Breckenridge we didn’t venture too far afoot of River Run Village. It’s a good thing we didn’t stay long since we quickly ran out of places to eat. Here’s a quick rundown of the best and the worst:
Best place for a sit down meal: Zuma Roadhouse
Wish we’d eaten here before our last day as it was easily the best. Lots of choices, everything looked really good. I had a strawberry salad with their soup of the day which was smoked salmon chowder. Really excellent food!
Best quick bite: The Crepe Stand
This was right at the ground floor of our condo and had both sweet and savory crepes. We ate many of them. From banana and nutella to brie and green apple to eggs, cheese, and potato. All were tasty.
Worst service: 9280 Tap House
The food was standard bar fare: greasy nachos, chicken wings, etc. The service was slow with a side of attitude.
If you are tired of eating and want to take a break from skiing, there’s also a small ice rink right outside Buffalo Lodge in the Village. It’s $15 to rent skates and use the rink and is a fun way to pass an afternoon. Or if you have more money to spend, there are countless other activities, like snow tubing ($34 per hour) or dog sledding ($165 per person).
Or if you’re cheap like me, you just buy a bottle of champagne and hang out in the hot tub. 🙂