Welcome to Keystone

Ask Key Anything!

Go ahead, Ask Key Anything! This season, we’re calling on you to ask us questions – no need to raise your hand, but hey, we appreciate the politeness. We know you’ve always wondered, so let’s hear those Q’s! Some weeks we will feature a certain department, and other weeks it’s a free-for-all! Anything from what time do patrollers arrive to the mountain in the morning to where on earth do we store the moguls in the summer? It’s a big mountain out there, let’s explore it together. Check our Instagram story every Sunday to submit your questions.

Dec. 13, 2018

Pizza, french fry’s … no we’re not talking food, but we think something just as sweet – the Keystone Ski & Ride School! We went to Nicole Brandli, @nlindsey16, a children’s ski instructor based out of our River Run base area. She’s got the scoop on all things Ski & Ride School.

Resources: Book Ski & Ride School or check out the Resort Map


“How much does one half day and full day session cost?” – @kate_goodin

Prices vary based on age and private vs. group lessons. You’ll always find our best available rates online, and if you book at least 48 hours in advance you’ll get our lowest rates, plus fast check in (win win!).

“How far in advance should we register?” – @vlovanrack

At least 48 hours in advance for the lowest rates!

“Does Keystone do the on mountain no-reservation quick lessons?” – @eliotlandrum

We don’t at this time.

“How old do kids have to be to start ski school?” – @futuremrs.martin

3 years old and potty trained!

“Whats the earliest age my kiddos can learn to snowboard with y’all?” – @bpierce25

Private lessons start at age 3 and group at age 3. We love little rippers!

“How old is the youngest kid that has done ski school?” – @olivia.sopyla

Three years old–so cute!

“How long is an adult lesson? And how many in a group?” – @errricamerica

A full day is 10 a.m — 3:30 p.m. and half-day lessons start at 1 p.m. We always try to keep groups small, but sizes vary based on lesson type (beginner, intermediate) and date (holidays are busier, mid-week much less so).

“What the age you think little kids are prime to get started???!!!” – @n8bythelake

6-7 year old is kind of the sweet spot, but it absolutely depends on the kid. And it’s NEVER too late!

“Do you do ½ day lessons?” – @misskyleew

Yep, for adult group lessons (p.m. only) and private lessons.


“Are you able to come ski with your children for a run or two when they are in a group lesson?” – @ethjawn

Family Private Lessons were designed for just this experience! In a group lesson this can get tricky based on schedules and can be very distracting for all lesson attendees, so we tend to suggest against it. But talking to your child’s instructor is always best 🙂

“How do I know if a beginner or intermediate lesson is a better fit for me?” – @shap.david

GREAT question–definitely talk to our awesome team at time of check in. And even throughout the day, we can always move you around to ensure the best placement and experience. This is super important to us to ensure the best experience and progression!

“Are there lessons for intermediate snowboarders?” – @zhenka

Absolutely! From first turns to perfecting trees, bumps and powder, we have lessons for all abilities!

“How old do you have to be b4 you cant do it anymore” – @sniper470bt

You’re NEVER too old! We even have instructors ages 20 to nearly 70!

“Can I request a second group lesson with the same instructor?” – @daniisil

Absolutely! And we always do our best to honor requests, but can’t always guarantee. Sometimes instructors need a day off or have conflicts. 

“Are there instructors that specialize in teaching how to ski after severe knee injuries?” – @alexishill12

There aren’t, but give our team a call. Some of our instructors have definitely been through this kind of injury (800) 255-3715. 

“We go to Keystone every year!! But how many kids are allowed in each group?” – @addiegratton_17

Yay! We love our KeyFam 🙂 Group sizes vary by age, ability and timeframe, but never more than 10-12 per instructor. 

“Is ski school also for adults?” – @buckeye_ari

Absolutely! We welcome kids ages 3 to 93, and beyond!

“Are kids spectated by age groups or ability level?” – @talia_rysz

Yes and yes! Ages 3-4, 5-6 and 7-14 are grouped together, but also separated by ability. 

“Can you do half a day ski school and then hit the regular slopes?” – @buckeye_ari

If you book a ½ day private lesson you can do a morning session, but our adult ½ day group lessons are afternoon only.


“What time do you guys usually eat and where do you eat?” -@blake.jeffers

Varies a bit by age and location (River Run or Mountain House), but it’s typically between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. and either at the Mountain House Ski School or Summit House.

“Kinda off topic. But I want to know more about the snow fort you guys do. Sounds like a kids dream.” – @jakedunn_

We are ALWAYS happy to talk snow fort. It’s one of our favvvvorite things! This year our awesome #KeyPeople built it, which is super cool. It opens THIS Saturday (12.15) on top of Dercum Mountain. You do need a mountain access product– lift ticket, season pass or foot passenger ticket to come play. But the climbing, sliding and smiles are all FREEEEEEE.

“What do ski instructors eat for breakfast?” – @gabe_zimmerer

Protein, protein, protein, gotta keep that energy up! Oh, and coffee. We like coffee!

Dec. 6, 2018

We are on a roll with our Ask Key Anything! You asked, and Key answered!

skis at keystoneOPENINGS

“How many runs are open so far this season?” – @guiespanhol

Thanks to the hard work of our KeyPeople and some great early season conditions from Mother Nature, we have 70/128 names trails open and 72% of our total acreage available. That will continue to increase so be sure to check out our daily Terrain & Lift status here:  https://www.keystoneresort.com/the-mountain/mountain-conditions/terrain-and-lift-status.aspx

“When is A51 going to open?” – @chaitanya_mccauley

Get ready to hit the park – A51 will open Friday Dec. 7th. 

“Are both places to ice skate open now Which one is the most fun?!” – @sarmarie88

They are!! We love them both; the ice rink in Dercum Square is intimate and provides an urban skating vibe in the Village setting. Keystone Lake is HUGE (5 acres!) and feels more like old fashioned pond skating, although we do maintain the ice. How’s your triple toe loop?

Which runs are open for night skiing?” – @johnzoda

Check out the map here: https://assets.vailresorts.com/-/media/keystone/files/key1819nightskiing.ashx  and the daily terrain status page here: https://www.keystoneresort.com/the-mountain/mountain-conditions/terrain-and-lift-status.aspx 

“Mozart estimated opening?” – @felipe_penna

Fri-YAY! We’ve been working on this big, wide and sometimes steep trail and it will open Friday Dec. 7th. 


keystone chairlift“Is there a shuttle from the Denver airport going to any Keystone lodging?” – @sarajanew94

Yes, our friends at Epic Mountain Express would love to make that trip safe and easy! Visit https://www.epicmountainexpress.com/ for pricing and more info!

“What time do the free parking lots typically fill up by on weekends?” – @zachkritzer

Depends on the day, but especially if we’ve had fresh snow, the River Run Gondola lot can be full before 9 a.m.. Check @KeystoneParking on Twitter and utilize the shuttle parking lots off Hwy 6 and Montezuma Rd. for the easiest way to the lifts!

“Where can I find a winter 18/19 resort transportation schedule? You know, for all the different color buses?” – @willfeldman

Thanks for using our FREE and convenient in-resort transportation system. The schedule is available here: https://www.keystoneresort.com/explore-the-resort/about-the-resort/guest-services.aspx?tc_1=2

“Where is Kidtopia headquarters? Can’t wait to get there!” – @ericajoxo

Second star to the right and straight on till morning. Well, it’s not technically Never Never Land, but it is an amazing indoor play and activity spot for kids. Best suited for 1-6 year olds, we have a variety of toys and games. Plus, don’t miss our daily Kidtopia activities. Peep the full schedule at Kidtopia.com. Oh, and we’re actually located in the Expedition Station building, next to the Dercum Square ice rink in River Run Village.


“What’s your favorite thing to wake up to at Keystone?” – @rammagnar

Fresh snow sparkling in the Colorado sunshine and that crisp mountain air.

“What’s the best restaurant to try in Keystone? For breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?” – @sarmarie88

keystone apresOne of the hardest questions to answer. We love local favorite Inxpot (in River Run Village)  for a quick breakfast–and caffeine fix–before heading up the lift. The reimagined Stube is an amazing on-mountain lunch experience with a social atmosphere. Have you ever tried a flight of BACON before!?!?

Go Big Burger is a new spot at the Mountain House just steps from the slopes and we can’t get enough of the mouth watering burgers and shakes! If the skiing is too good and we skip lunch and need an apres snack, the nachos at 9280’ taphouse are our go-to.

Dinner is a tough choice; the Sleigh Ride is a one-of-a-kind experience with delicious food. But the fun at Fondue–not to mention the two gondola ride trip up–is can’t-miss for families. The steakhouse inspired menu at The Ranch makes us feel right at home with Colorado favorites. And the intimate and award-winning Ski Tip is our top choice for date night, a celebratory dinner or just a “treat yo self” night out. Dinner by the fire is the BEST way to finish a day in the mountains. Hungry yet? We sure are!

“Do kids still ski free?” – @mizzmalott

You betcha! Stay two or more nights with Keystone Resort and kids 12 and under ski freeeeeee.

“What’s the best first tree and/or mogul run for someone new to Keystone?” – @a.lace.y

If you’re new to trees and bumps we suggest taking a lesson with one of our pros who will keep you safe and comfortable on new terrain. Better yet, they’ll show you their favorite local spots! But Keystone is known for our bumps on North Peak (check our Instagram for a recent post), but beware, we’re also known for our long runs!

“When do you do the fireworks?” – @kel_davies12

Every Saturday at 7 p.m. (or 8 p.m. from March 10th on). Psssst, did you know that if you’re night skiing or dining at one our mountaintop outlets you can download on the gondola and fly over the fireworks? It’s an amazing point of view for one of our favorite weekly traditions. Load the Gondola at the top of Dercum mountain at about 6:55 p.m. for the best viewing.


Family Playing Keystone “Suga suga how’d you get so fly?” – @mind_lab__

And ooh wee it’s the ultimate feelin’

“How old is Keystone?” – @zach.johnson04

48 years young–we think we look pretty good for our age! And we can’t wait to celebrate the big 5-0!

“Not a ? But I’ll be in Keystone in January, can’t wait!!” – @katieg622

Woop woop. Here’s our question–are you ready for mountains of FUN?!

“Where does all the water come from that you’re making into snow?” – @afninja

Most of our water is from –and returns to– the Snake River. We work closely state regulators on this important issue. 

“Are there free water stations around the mountain?” – @sarah_briscoe

Yes, ma’am. We even added one of those amazing water bottle refill stations at the Summit House. Cheers to staying hydrated!

“Is it true Keystone is the greatest mountain ever??” – @samuel_828

Aww, we’re blushing. But we have to say, affirmative  🙂


Nov. 29, 2018

Is that snow you’re making even real? Thank you for all your snowmaking and related questions. We went to our top snowmaker, Todd Green, to get the inside scoop on all things snowmaking. Hint, it’s real snow!

Todd Green, Keystone Resort Snowmaking Manager:


Are there differences in how real snow vs. man-made snow looks? Like crystal structure” – @kenwday

Crystal structure certainly plays a part, so gold star for you! It’d take quite an eye to identify the subtle differences, like looking at a grain of salt vs. sugar. But the crystal structure is indeed different and natural snow crystals tend to be delicate and intricate while man-made snow crystals are more rounded and simple.

“How early in the year do you start making snow?” – @olivia.sopyla
On average, we begin making snow in the middle of October. But long before we receive the cold temperatures needed to make snow, we spend our summer days preparing and prepping for the winter, which includes a lot of maintenance and planning.

“How much snow does there have to be to quit making fake snow? When does that occur in the year?” – @heyydensmart
Fake snow? There’s no such thing! We certainly understand your question though, so we’ll let it slide. ;p Speaking of sliding, we make enough of the good stuff – even if man-made, to open a trail with an average of 18 inches of snow. Generally, we are done making snow in January.

keystone snowmaker


“What’s the best thing about your job besides riding a snowmobile?” – @diegomendez32
Yeah, that’s not a bad way to get around. Also, well, the skiing and snowboarding on our finished product. We refer to it as product testing and we simply enjoy being out there skiing and riding just as much as you all!

“Any local brewery recommendations?” – @pabloran92
Check out 9280Tap House in River Run Village. Or, the Last Lift Bar in the Mountain House Base Area. Only off-the-clock, of course

“What is the best way to stay warm when it is all out Hoth out there??” – @1207_crew
This question took some googling on my part. But now that I know you are referring to the sixth planet that is a world of snow and ice, then just like this fictitious Star Wars location, making snow in the real life Keystone requires us to layer our clothing and to stay dry. Modern synthetic fibers work great in snowmaking conditions. I can’t speak for how for those Star Wars folks stay dry though.


“How many guns do y’all have?” – @leitner.poma
We have almost 700 snowmaking guns that cover more than 600 acres of snowmaking capability. If that’s not a chairlift topic to share with some newfound friends, than I don’t know what is?

“How many snow guns can you run at a time with the given water supply?” – @michaelpitts21
Is your snowmaking gun running? You better catch it! I’m full of jokes. Of our nearly 700 snowmaking guns, we can run more than 100 at a time when conditions are just right.

“How do the pipes not freeze?!?!” – @athielen8
Did you know that there is such a thing as ‘frost free’ depth? Yup, it’s a real thing and so we bury our supply lines so far down that they are located as such a depth where the ground does not freeze. Again, science – it’s everywhere.

“Where is your favorite place to make snow on the mountain?” –  @rammagnar
My snowmakers like making snow on our trails that contain automated snow guns because these be adjusted by a click of a computer mouse. Technology, science … have I mentioned that comes in to play just a bit? But, this system of automation allows our snowmakers to concentrate on making sure the quality is the best that it can be.

“Is it difficult to man the snowmakers?” – @nathan___idk
It is. I believe our snowmaking team are some of the hardest working members of our mountain operations team. Snowmaking operations are 24 hours, 7 days a week when conditions allow and so we always have someone working. There’s a lot of tough jobs on the mountain across departments, but we all do it because we love the same things you all do – skiing and riding!



“How’s the snow?– @wleusche
It’s white, and cold, and falling all over the place. No? Okay, seriously though, it’s great! We have been consistently making snow across the mountain since the middle of October. We’ve also received a lot of natural snowfall, and the dual efforts of snowmaking operations and natural snowfall allow for some other key people (like Ski Patrol, Grooming, Lift Operations) to do their thing and get more of the mountain open quicker for you all.

“Can you bring that snow to my local mountain?” – @taylor_michielli_We’re not exactly hoarders, but we’ll be keeping all of our snow. However, we’re happy to share it – you just have to come visit us!

“How does real snow compare to man-made snow?” – @dylanbass25
This sounds like the start of a great joke – unfortunately I’m drawing a blank for a great punch line. So, science it is! The crystal structure is different. Natural snow crystals tend to be delicate and intricate while man-made snow crystals are more rounded and simple.

“What’s the ingredients for snow? We need some in Arkansas ASAP.” – @blake_hasley
We are just like Mother Nature and the best ingredients for snow are cold and water. We can’t help you out with snow in Arkansas, but we know of a place where there is plenty! Hint hint 😉 Come visit us!

“A51 opening?” – @gregsherm
Soon! We are working on A51 as we speak, specifically The Alley to Lower Main Street. Be on the lookout for that opening by Dec. 7, and in the meantime we have our early season A51 terrain park setup on the top of Schoolmarm.



“How long does it take to produce around an inch of snow?” – @brady_smith31
It depends on the weather conditions, and the colder and drier (low humidity), the more snow we can make. Get this – if we have our snowmaking system at full capacity at 25 degrees temperature, we could cover 22 football fields in 24 hours with a foot of snow.

“When does snowmaking end?” – @rynewsom
We conclude snowmaking operations when we have made snow on all the trails and areas that have snowmaking coverage capabilities – more than 600 acres! Typically our job is done by mid-January.

“How much artificial snow do you make on average per year??” – @gracelajoie8
Artificial snow? We don’t have that. We do make the good old fashioned real stuff though – it’s simply man-made vs. falling from the sky. But silly logistics aside, we make enough snow to ensure a base that will last the entire season.

“Which trails do you start making snow for first?” – @evelyn.w22
A few years ago we spent some hot summer days looking to improve our opening day guest experience. We begin making snow on Schoolmarm to Silverspoon to Last Chance, all beginner trails, which allows more people to ski and ride from day one of the season. This year, for the first time, we set a rather ambitious goal of opening beginner terrain on Dercum and intermediate terrain on North Peak for opening weekend – and guess what, we did it! We opened North Peak on our planned opening day Nov. 9th, the first time in Keystone’s history we have been able to do so.

“What’s the best temperature for snow making?” -@dylanbass25
Well, there’s this funny thing called a wet bulb temperature. In the most simplistic of terms, we need a combination of low temperatures and low humidity – each as important as the other. Cold and dry is what we’re after, and if you want me to get scientific, (again!), we want a 27 degree wet bulb temperature.


Nov. 21, 2018

The first ever Ask Key Anything! You asked, and Key answered!


 “When does night skiing open?” – @krisy8
Today! Nov. 21. Check out the schedule here: https://www.keystoneresort.com/the-mountain/about-the-mountain/trail-map.aspx

“When does tubing open?” – @ethjawn
Also today! Want to save your spot? https://www.keystoneresort.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/winter-activities/adventure-point-tubing.aspxWe never want you to miss out on fun, so don’t forget this activity often sells out during weekends and Holidays. Make reservations as early as possible, especially for our high-volume timeframes!

“When will the lake be ready for ice skating?” – @jakedunn
Get those triple axles ready, Keystone Lake will open on Nov. 22! And, Dercum rink is already open. We have a lot to be thankful for this week!

“When does A51 open?” – @murphy_man15
For those looking hit the terrain park, we are looking to have The Alley to Lower Main Street open starting Friday, Nov. 30. Until then, our early-season A51 terrain park is located on top of Schoolmarm.

“How much of the mountain can be open for night ski?” – @matthew.kirkland
Play up late! 9 trails and almost 250 acres are lit for our night skiing operations, which is the largest in CO

“Are new food options coming to the dining areas on the mountain?” – @nate.krall
Check out Go Big Burger at the Mountain House! And we hope you’re bringing your appetite!

“Can the 2018 night skiing dates be expanded or are they set in stone already?” – @jk50iron
We like to think we’re flexible, but we have night skiing dates set based on historical terrain and weather conditions. But we never say never–remember that time we opened early?



“What is the run/line you recommend with trees for first timers?” – @liznewwhen
We might get an eye roll or two, but we suggest taking a lesson–did you know we offer ½ day privates? Our instructors will teach you the skills to ensure you’re safe and confident in the trees, as well as show you a secret stash or two.

“Just got my season pass; what slopes should I hit first? I’m an intermediate skier.” – @heyydensmart
Woop, woop! Welcome to the fam! Warm up on Dercum with a run on Schoolmarm, Spring Dipper and then Frenchman. Then, head over to North Peak for Prospector and onto Elk Run (when groomed) on the Outback. Starfire is a good first Black, once you’re feeling confident.

“Visiting for the first time best week – what’s the best places to check out?” – @agosternmann
Yooohhoooooo! Hope you’re ready to play! Activities: mountaintop tubing and skating on Keystone Lake. Dining: Go Big Burger and Fondue.



“How do I plan a sleigh ride with my kids for Dec 1 -4?” – @swebbair
Our Play Experts would be happy to help! Give ‘em a shout at 970-496-4386

“What are you doing to be more sustainable?” – @chrisgoesoutdoorsing
This season we’ve eliminated conventional plastic straws at all of our food and beverage outlets and our trail maps are printed on 100% recyclable paper. Just last week our company announced additional steps in our overall ‘Commitment to Zero’, including a long-term wind energy contract to purchase the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 100 percent of Vail Resorts’ North American operations by 2020. More information about our Commitment to Zero can be found at www.epicpromise.com.

“Will there be any apres skiing? So excited!” – @nickcarreras
You can find us at the Last Lift Bar! Cheers!



“Does pineapple belong on pizza?” – @will_chav
If pineapple belongs on pizza, it also belongs on french fries!

“How big is the biggest jump in A51?” – @isaac_merritt
Lay about 3 and a half giraffes end-to-end; our biggest jumps are approximately 60 feet. If you’re not ready to fly high, you can ride the Peru lift over A51 and check out the action –

“What is your favorite run?” – @yungbrandon
Um, can we name them all? Depends on the day, but some favorites include Wild Irishman, Diamondback, Starfire, Cat South Glades and Bushwhacker

“When is the best time to ski?” – @edgarsilva09
10:23 a.m. on Jan. 21. We kid, we kid. When is there a bad time to ski?

“Where did the bowls get their name from?” – @blaine_griffin
Independence is the official name of the peak, Bergman is after one of our founding families (Dercum being the other) and Erickson has an old mine and mining shack. It was originally Erickson Mine. North and South … well, we might have run out of steam on those two 😉 What names would you give ‘em?

“What’s the strangest thing found on the mountain after the snow melts?” – @misslauren7
Prior to each summer, Keystone Resort partners with Friends of the Dillon Ranger District for an annual highway and mountain cleanup. This June, we collected more than 400 pounds of recycled items and more than 900 pounds of garbage! We’d prefer to find nothing but a beautiful natural mountain environment, so be sure to utilize on-mountain receptacles for your waste – and hold on to your phones and mittens! We have enough of those too, we promise, we don’t need yours! 😉

“If Keystone didn’t exist, what ski area would you be?” – @ceimbert
I think we’re having an inception moment! We’d be Breck for the amazing town and high alpine terrain, Whistler Blackcomb for the variety of terrain and Olympic heritage, Stowe for the classic New England feel (and the foliage!) and Northstar for that laid back and luxurious California vibe. How about you?

“Why are Keystone patrollers so cool?” – @turbo_toaster_tay
Hard to say, really. We raise them that way 😉 But give ‘em a high five when you see ‘em!

“What year was your record snowfall season and how many inches was it?” – @robtiff
Shovels were in high demand during the 1995-1996 season as the snow just seemed to keep on falling! That season, we received a total of 387 inches of snow (quick, how many feet is that?! More than 32!) and if you were skiing here in January, then you needed a snorkel as we had 127 inches of snow in that month alone (surprisingly, not the snowiest single month at Keystone though, that was in December of 1983 when we received 128 inches!).