“Study the past if you would define the future.” –Confucius
Do you know who Schoolmarm is named after, or where she lived? Yes, she was a real person and her house stood in a very familiar location! History is not a list of names and dates. It is stories, filled with colorful people, amazing feats and often a little luck. These kinds of stories are what I share during the Mountain Top History Walk every Sunday.
As we walk through pine, fir and spruce trees at the summit of Dercum Mountain, the stories of Keystone’s history take you back nearly ten thousand years! They include Native Americans, the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1859, the silver boom of the 1860’s and the incredible story of how Keystone became the largest ski area in Summit County.
If you look closer at Keystone’s trail map, you find that the lifts and runs all over the resort have their own stories. Frenchman, for example, an intermediate ski trail that starts behind the Summit House, was named after the group of French-Canadian lumbermen who hand cut all of the trails during the summer of 1970 to prepare the mountain for opening. Their work then also reflects our environmental efforts today, because hand cutting trees helped prevent soil erosion, keeping the mountain intact.
The hour-long walk takes place every Sunday at both 11am and 1pm. All participants should meet at the top of Dercum Mountain, not far from the top of the gondola. Keep a lookout your guide, I’ll be wearing a cowboy hat. Reservations for the walk are not required, and all who wish to join must have a lift ticket. It is my hope that all guests, both locals and families from out of town attend and learn something new about an amazing place like Keystone.
About the author
Matt Steninger is a third-generation Colorado native and studied history at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I moved to Summit County six years ago to become a Ski Instructor. This past winter, I had the privilege to be a supervisor at Mountain House where both my mom and I took our first ski lessons.