Shredding at Keystone was my first Colorado mountain experience. I’d only been snowboarding in the mountains once prior to this, and I was a rookie, so it doesn’t count. I remember looking around and seeing an epic bluebird day. It was also the first place I ever rode trees, and I got a decent injury there too.
If you’re a snowboarder, and you’ve never hit up Keystone, do yourself a favor. Make sure you hit up Keystone to do some epic riding. For me, it’s a great place to warm up and get acclimated to mountain riding, but I still feel challenged when I ride there.
For those of you who ride mountains every day getting warmed up might not be an issue, however, for a midwest shredder like myself, it’s a good idea.
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Everything You Need to Know About Keystone:
The Ski resort is about 1hr and 2o minutes West Of Denver on I70. If the weather is good you can get there pretty quickly, however, it’s the mountains and you might have bad weather. Plan accordingly, but I’ve only had 1 or 2 issues in the past.
There are a lot of different ways to reach Keystone, check out ‘Getting Here,’ on the resort’s website if you’re interested.
What Type Of Terrain Does Keystone have?
If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you’ll probably know what I’m about to write. Always know your skill level. As humans, we constantly overestimate ourselves, but it’s important you don’t push beyond your body’s limitations. Death or serious injury can happen in the mountains.
Take a look at the Keystone Trail Map. You’ll see a lot of interesting features, but you’ll wanna see where the best terrain for you will be. Make smart decisions and you’ll have a great time on the mountain, but if you make the wrong choice. You’re gonna have a bad time.
Beginner Terrain (Green Circles)
A lot of the beginner terrain at Keystone is on the front side of the mountain. It won’t be difficult to reach and you can spend the entire day on the front testing and sharpening your skills.
I’ve had a lot of fun on these runs teaching friends and goofing around. I love how chill everything was and enjoyed flying underneath the gondola at high speed. More advanced riders will get bored after a while, but you should experience the entire mountain. At least once anyway.
For those of us living in the midwest night riding isn’t a huge deal. Almost every resort here has it. In addition to that, I’ve already written a post about Trollhaugen and shredding until 3 am. However, in Colorado, night riding is a bit rare. I’m not sure why it’s rare. There could be many reasons, like safety or maybe it’s economical.
Intermediate Terrain (Blue Squares)
The front side of the mountain has some blue runs mixed in with their greens, but if you go towards the second mountain on the backside you can find more runs to your liking. These will test your skill level and help you become a better snowboarder.
I love a lot of these runs back here, and last time I was there. This little 4-year-old kid was tearing it up. He was better than my friends and I combined. He didn’t even know it. Little kids like that are awesome.
Advanced Terrain (Black Diamond)
Keystone has a lot of bowls and the north peak has a ton of black diamonds to explore and shred. keep in mind, most of these have moguls on them. I personally avoid all moguls and drop into the trees when I see them but to each their own.
Another cool aspect of Keystone involves hiking up the peaks. Here you can spend some extra time hiking up, and you’ll get into some fresh untouched powder. It’s totally worth it, as long as you’re a powder junky like me.
Keystone Terrain Parks
My apologies, I haven’t spent a lot of time in the terrain parks at Keystone. As it stands I’m unable to give a decent review of them. Check back next season and hopefully, I’ll have this section updated.
I’m pretty sure they’re epic but I can only write about my experiences.
Runs To Explore
Some of my favorite places to shred are towards the back of the ski resort. If you look on the top right-hand side of the map you’ll see a chair called ‘The Outback Express.’ To the right, you’ll see runs called, Wolverine, Wildfire, And Pika Glades.
This area is one of my favorites for tree shredding. Maybe I’ve only been there on good powder days, but I’ve never been disappointed. The trees are mostly pine and the chutes are steep and fast.
The first time I rode in here, it was on my Burton Custom X, I would recommend getting a snowboard with better flex if you’re dropping into trees. Personally, I use my GNU Riders Choice Now, and I love it.
‘Even if you stay on the trail, the runs will be challenging. A friend of mine had the worst time on Badger. To this day she hates that run. Whatever you do, stay safe, and ride within your skill level (or just above it, force yourself to get better).
Keystone Ski & Snowboard School
So you’re a new skier or snowboarder and you don’t know what to do, but you’re in the mountains. Rent some gear and get a lesson. The Keystone Ski & Snowboard School can help you get dialed in for the most basic of skills.
Whether you haven’t ever ridden or you need to up your game, they’ll be there willing to help you.
The lift ticket/season pass cost changes every year, and most of the time it goes up (much to all our annoyance). However, the best deals come with a season pass. I say this because I ride 50+ days a year. it saves me a lot of money, and I’d highly recommend it. I’ll post the links below, most likely they’ll be updated in late September or early October.
As a final word of advice, I wanted to remind you that safety should always be a priority when you’re skiing or snowboarding. My first time at Keystone I actually hit a tree.
At the time I was riding through an epic tree run and I lost control at high speed. I wasn’t wearing a helmet and wondered if I was about to die. So I used my fist to push myself away from a tree and I landed on a snow bank.
This quick maneuver saved me from a greater injury, however, I gave my fist a boxer’s fracture. It’s something simple and no cast was required, however, my hand was swollen and hurt like crazy for a long time.
Wherever you ride, always wear a helmet. Your brain is something that you’ll need in peak condition for the rest of your life. Make sure you’re protecting it.