Most of us take one or two big vacations each year, so we know that when you’re on that annual ski trip, you want to make the most of it. And the best way to do that is to come with a plan of where to ski and what to do when you’re done.
Whether you’re looking for a little winter inspiration or you’re actually here watching the snowflakes fall, your excitement for your trip to Keystone Resort is probably building as we speak. But where to start? What are the best runs to hit on a powder day? Where can you grab a midday cocoa or toasty adult beverage? Look no further – we’ve got you covered.
If you’re a seasoned skier whose Keystone vacation has synched up with a snowstorm, the first thing you probably want to do is find fresh tracks immediately. From the base area, hit the first chair on the Peru Express lift and revel in the aforementioned glistening white that awaits you on Go Devil. Take the Argentine chair to higher terrain via the Montezuma Express.
From the top, make your way down Mine Shaft: a delightful morning run on which you do your part building the moguls. Now it’s time for some trees and steeps, so prepare for tight (but light and fluffy) turns on untouched snow in The Windows. Go higher still via the Outpost Gondola to hike the ridge for amazing, wide-open bowl turns in Independence, Bergman, or Erickson Bowl.
Even if the sun is shining after the flakes have fallen, North Bowl maintains its fluffy powder for days but is positively euphoric after a fresh snow. The best means of taking run after run in the Bowls, complete with a gourmet lunch in the middle, is the bottom-to-top service of a cat tour. It’s a powder day … definitely worth the splurge.
If you are looking to pick up some speed, the one area of the mountain you’ll probably want to spend most of your day is at Keystone’s glorious Outback. Before you head that way, take a couple of short leg-warming runs on the front side of the resort first on Sante Fe or Whipsaw, both leading conveniently to the River Run Gondola mid-station. From here, you can ride to the top of Dercum Mountain and make your way to The Outback for a few more runs.
Once nestled into the serenity of The Outback, take your pick from more challenging blue runs like Oh, Bob or Porcupine. At some point in the day, you might be able to find a few fresh tracks on Wildfire or Wolverine.
Beginners will likely want to stay on green runs, perhaps venturing onto a smooth blue or two after the freshly fallen snow transforms the groomed terrain into a creamy expanse of pure velvet. However, powder—even on a groomed run—will make conditions slower, so it’s best to stick to the slopes that have a little bit of angle to them.
Schoolmarm, one of the widest runs at the resort and open for business day and night, is at its all-time best in the fresh snow, as is neighboring green run Silver Spoon. The best practice grounds for testing the feel of the fresh layer is off the Ranger chairlift at the top of Dercum Mountain, which offers a pair of short green runs on which to hone your technique.
Once you’re feeling ready to explore, take the Outpost Gondola to North Peak and try your skills on the aptly named Anticipation, a broad blue trail with plenty of maneuvering space, tucked onto a less frequented corner of the resort.
How to Warm Up
It’s likely your muscles are already plenty warm after a few runs down the slopes, but grabbing a coffee or steaming hot cocoa as the flakes fall is a not-to-miss part of the powder day experience. The Summit House at the top of Dercum Mountain and at the confluence of six chairlifts is a core spot for heating up with a cup of soup or a Cuddle Buddy – an adult hot chocolate with a shot of peppermint.
If it’s an entire cauldron of chocolate fondue that you’re craving, head over to the fine dining hub that is The Outpost on North Peak, home of Der Fondue Chessel as well as Alpenglow Stube, North America’s highest AAA Four Diamond ™ -rated restaurant, where you can cap your powder bounty with a wood fire-grilled filet mignon.
Where to Après
Tucking into a homemade peach cobbler or steaming lava cake in front of the fireplace at the Ski Tip Lodge is pretty spectacular anytime, but watching the snow fall out of the window as you’re melting into the armchair with the blissful weariness that comes with a full day of fresh tracks is an experience of mythic proportions. This magic is closely rivaled by the swift but silent glide over the snow while cozied up in a blanket in a horse-drawn sleigh on your way to Keystone’s back ranch for a warm and rustic dinner.
For those still feeling light on their feet and addicted to feeling like you are inside a snow globe, there’s the option of ice skating on Keystone Lake. Follow it up with a decadent lobster mac and cheese dinner at The Bighorn Bistro.
Arguably the ultimate way to recuperate your strength for another day on the mountain is by treating yourself to a hot stone massage at Keystone Spa.
With so many options, Keystone Resort is the perfect place to go on a ski vacation with your family or a group of friends, especially if everyone has a different idea of what a Powder Day means. Whether you are looking to push yourself on the slopes or get in a little skiing and spa time, Keystone has something for you.
Featured image provided by © Vail Resorts