2016/17 Opening Day Updates
Only three days until Opening Day at Keystone on Friday!
Our snowmakers, groomers and our entire mountain operations team deserve a big hug or high-five because they have done an incredible job getting the mountain ready for opening.
With favorable overnight temperatures and a successful two weeks of snowmaking, Keystone is excited to welcome the beginning of the 2016-2017 winter season on Friday, Nov. 18.
“We’re thrilled to open for skiing and riding this Friday,” said Mike Goar, vice president and chief operating officer for Keystone Resort. “I’m incredibly proud of everything the resort teams have been able to accomplish to prepare the mountain for our guests. We’re all ready to welcome winter!”
With most of November producing favorable overnight temperatures for snowmaking, the weather forecast on the horizon only gets better according to OpenSnow.com meteorologist Sam Collentine. “On Thursday morning and into early Thursday afternoon, we will likely see the strongest cold front of the season,” said Collentine. “Overall, expect a full return to winter on Thursday and Friday.”
On Friday, lifts will begin turning at 9 a.m. Skiers and snowboarders will have access to the River Run Gondola and Montezuma Express Lift to enjoy terrain on Schoolmarm and Silver Spoon, with skiing and riding access from the top of Dercum Mountain to the bottom of the Montezuma Express Lift. When done skiing and riding for the day guests will download to the base area on the River Run Gondola.
While preparing for the first turns of the season on Friday morning, guests will be treated to donut holes from Keystone’s executive pastry chef Ned Archibald, as well as hot chocolate and coffee at the base of River Run Gondola. A limited number of giveaways such as reusable water bottles and Starbucks gift cards will be available, as well as several raffle prizes, including GoPro Hero4 cameras and Smartwool socks.
Keystone’s mountain operations teams will continue to work towards expanding terrain as soon as possible and the resort snowmaking team will take advantage of any and all opportunities to make snow across a variety of terrain. Additionally, efforts will be focused upon opening the award-winning A51 Terrain Park as soon as possible.
Mountain & Village Operations for Keystone’s Opening Weekend:
Mountain operating hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
**All Skier Services will be based in River Run Village***
Food & Beverage
Keystone’s owned and operated dining outlets set to open on Friday include Starbucks and 9280’ in River Run Village and the Summit House on the mountain. In addition, third party restaurants in River Run Village will also be open.
Rentals & Retail
Keystone Sports will be open beginning Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate rentals and retail in River Run Village. In addition, all other Vail Resorts Retail outlets and third party River Run Village retail businesses will open Friday as well.
Tickets & Pass Sales
Lift tickets and Epic Passes will be available for purchase at the Keystone Ticket Office located in River Run’s Gondola Plaza.
Keystone Ski & Ride School
Although we will have limited early-season terrain available, the Keystone Ski & Ride School will be offering lessons for all ability levels out of River Run. Please call 800-255-3715 if you’d like to talk to our expert staff and book a lesson.
Activities & Dining
Located in River Run Village, Activities & Dining will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Friday. For Activities & Dining reservations guests can also call (970) 496-4386.
Keystone Nursery and Child Care
Located in the Silver Mill Courtyard in River Run Village, directly behind Starbucks, Keystone’s nursery and Child Care center will be open starting Friday. Reservations are recommended and can be made online at KeystoneResort.com or by calling (970) 496-4181.
Parking & Transportation
Free parking will be available in the Montezuma Lot in River Run Village, and then the east side of Mountain House if/when parking is full in Montezuma.
Keystone’s free in-resort transportation shuttles will be running the Red Route from 8 a.m. to Midnight and the Green Route from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. All shuttle routes will be operating for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Friday through Sunday, and weekends-only after that until mid-December when all routes will then be offered daily.
Snow continues piling up on the mountain! The team was able to run the system for another 12+ hours last night, bringing November’s total number of snowmaking hours to more than 100. The snow guns were blasting snow over the Kokomo Carpet learning area near the summit, Schoolmarm, Silver Spoon, Last Chance, Paymaster, west of Montezuma Express Lift and in A51.
The grooming team is anticipating getting the cats out on the snow as early as tomorrow to begin evening out the snow surface on the trails, and getting the mountain ready to open as soon as possible.
For the next few days we’ll continue overnight snowmaking at every opportunity, but an exciting shift in the weather pattern is on the horizon!
According to Open Snow’s Sam Collentine, “Our full attention is now on next Thursday, November 17th as we’ll finally see a decent storm move into Colorado.”
“The other piece of exciting news that I can provide about this system is that it will be accompanied by much colder, winter-like temperatures. This will be great for snowmaking along the corridor as we head into the following weekend.”
Winter is certainly coming. Keep up the #snowpantsdance!
It was another solid night of snowmaking at Keystone as we continue to make progress towards opening day. Our snowmakers clocked more than 12 hours of run time overnight and into this morning, blasting snow guns from the summit area down to the Montezuma Express Lift, as well as the River Run Gondola mid-station area.
With temperature inversions on the mountain, meaning that temperatures are actually cooler at lower elevations than the summit, the team was able to focus more of our snowmaking efforts at mid-mountain, specifically around Montezuma and the gondola mid-station. Temperatures for the next few nights look like they’ll remain inverted which should allow us to continue snowmaking efforts at mid-mountain for a bit. This is great because a majority of our summit area snowmaking is complete and the temperatures will help us to focus more on trails below the summit and down to mid-mountain.
In a few more days our grooming team anticipates getting the cats out on the snow to begin pushing things around, connecting snow piles and getting the snow ready for guests.
We know a lot of people are wondering what we’ll have open for skiing and riding next week. What we can tell you right now is that in terms of trails, snowmaking efforts have largely been focused on Schoolmarm and Silver Spoon, from the summit area and down to Montezuma. Weather and mountain operations activity can change quickly and often, so it’s too soon to say exactly what we will have ready for opening day but we promise we will keep you posted as soon as we know more.
Keystone Resort announced today that it will open for the 2016-17 ski and snowboard season on Friday, Nov. 18 and Breckenridge Ski Resort will open soon after.
“Temperatures are indeed beginning to trend in our favor and Keystone’s mountain operations team was able to continue snowmaking operations again last night and into this morning,” said Mike Goar, chief operating officer for Keystone Resort. “With favorable overnight snowmaking temperatures forecast through next week, we are looking forward to continued progress toward opening day and providing guests with a great ski and ride experience.”
“We will continue to take advantage of any and all opportunities to continue making snow and are pleased with the results of additional snowmaking last night,” said Breckenridge’s chief operating officer John Buhler. “We expect to open soon after Keystone Resort and will update guests as soon as we have a date to share.”
OpenSnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz expects the dry weather to continue over the coming days, followed by decreasing temperatures later next week. “The 10-day forecasts show a storm hitting Colorado on or about Thursday, November 17th,” said Gratz.
We’re excited to continue with snowmaking at a moment’s notice when cooler temperatures return! We’ve opted to delay opening in order to provide the best-possible early-season conditions we’re able to deliver. We are doing everything we can to prepare the mountain for guests and will announce an official opening day as soon as possible.
When we determine a new Opening Day date, we’ll make sure to share with our guests. Winter is on its way, and we’re looking forward to another fantastic ski season!
The good news for today is that last night was our best night of snowmaking so far this season! The snow guns were fired up for more than 18 hours overnight and into this morning. This is a welcome change for us all as we’re eager to get the season underway. Both temperature and humidity are important factors when it comes to snowmaking, and combined they are known in the snowmaking world as the “wet bulb” temperature. At Keystone our snowmakers typically want a 27 degree wet bulb to fire up the snowmaking system; though a 16 degree wet bulb is most favorable for snowmaking.
Keystone’s snowmakers continue to work around the clock to make snow every opportunity the weather permits. Last week we were able to make snow during overnight hours; and again earlier this week. Snowmaking has focused on the summit area, Schoolmarm, Silver Spoon, The Alley, Paymaster, Last Chance, the west side of the Montezuma Express Lift and the River Run Gondola mid-station to align with our new Opening Day terrain plan.
In addition to snowmaking, our groomers and ski patrollers are busy preparing mountain. Our ski patrol team is busy on the slopes and the snow groomers will soon begin to prepare the snow that has been made to date.
We are working hard to open the slopes for skiers at every opportunity. Thanks to our resort’s sophisticated snowmaking system and expert team of snowmakers we are able to be incredibly nimble when necessary weather conditions prevail. The team monitors the weather around the clock, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and is ready to fire up the snow guns at a moment’s notice.
We’re equally as excited for Opening Day as our guests, we’re excited to continue with preparations, and we’ll share our opening day as soon as possible.
Until the next update… think snow!
Due to unseasonably warm weather over the last few weeks, we have made the difficult decision to delay Keystone’s opening day, which was originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4. We are dedicated to providing our guests with the best early-season conditions possible and unfortunately Mother Nature has not allowed us to do that in time for our scheduled opening. However, with confidence in our resort’s sophisticated snowmaking system and mountain operations team, and a more favorable weather outlook, particularly during overnight hours, we are targeting Friday, Nov. 11 as the opening day for the 2016-2017 winter season.
In our press release today, Keystone’s chief operating officer, Mike Goar, said it best, “Our top priority at Keystone is to provide our guests with the best early-season ski and ride experience possible. While Mother Nature has not made it easy for recent snowmaking operations, our team is ready to fire up the snow guns at every opportunity as weather gets cooler this week and next. We look forward to opening as soon as we feel we can provide our guests with a better experience and quality snow conditions.”
Keystone’s snowmaking team is constantly monitoring the weather around the clock and is ready to start cranking out snow at a moment’s notice. Last night the team was able to run the system up at the summit and we are expecting better temps tonight and Wednesday so will be looking to make more snow the next two nights as well. With some cooler nights in the forecast this week and cooler temperatures on the horizon next week, we believe we should be able to get a good amount of snowmaking accomplished over the next 10 days.
As we continue our on-hill operations ahead of a new Opening Day, this page will be updated daily with forecasts, on-mountain progress and any additional information we think may be helpful for you, our guests. You may also visit the Keystone Facebook & Twitter for updates. If you have any additional questions please email Info@Keystoneresort.com. If you have booked lodging with us or have any questions regarding lodging please call (888) 749-6781
We look forward to seeing you on the snow soon!
When will you be opening?
We are just as excited as you to begin our season and we are now targeting Friday, Nov. 11 for the resort’s opening day. Check http://www.keystoneresort.com/openingupdate for latest information on snowmaking and mountain operations updates.
Why are you not opening on Friday?
Due to unseasonably warm weather experienced throughout the region over the last few weeks, only about a quarter of our snowmaking operations needed for opening were able to be completed. Snowmaking efforts are a coordinated, strategic and scientific operation. Our snowmaking team has been and continues to be available around the clock. They are constantly monitoring minute-by-minute weather and will have the snow guns cranking whenever weather conditions allow.
Why did you delay your opening?
We are dedicated to providing our guests with the best early-season conditions possible and were not able to do that for our scheduled opening date. We don’t want to sacrifice quality for speed. Keystone is typically one of the earliest resorts to open in Colorado, but due to unseasonably warm weather in October, snowmaking efforts were severely hindered. With more favorable weather on the horizon, we are now targeting Friday, Nov. 11 for opening day.
Why was an announcement regarding opening day not made sooner?
Our sophisticated snowmaking system and expert team allows us to be incredibly nimble when the ideal weather conditions materialize. In an effort to honor our published opening date, we wanted to do everything we could to try to meet that date, while still providing the best early season snow conditions. More seasonable weather was predicted to move into the region earlier this week, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case and we made an announcement as soon as it was confirmed at the resort that there would be no feasible way for us to provide a quality product for Nov. 4. With a return to more favorable weather in the forecast later this week and next, we are now targeting Friday, Nov. 11 for the resort’s opening day.
Why can’t you open with limited terrain?
While snowmaking operations did begin a couple weeks ago and we do have some snow on the ground at the summit – recent unseasonably warm temperatures throughout Colorado hampered snowmaking efforts. Keystone did not wish to compromise the quality of available terrain by opening Friday, Nov. 4.
Does the delayed opening/warm October/etc. mean that it will be a bad snow year?
Not at all. We do not see a correlation between October/early-season conditions and future snowfall or season-long snow conditions. We’ve had years with bountiful early snow and others where winter weather is a little slow to arrive but it ends up being a banner year. A little help from from Mother Nature, coupled with Keystone’s sophisticated snowmaking systems should equate to an amazing year for our guests. Winter is coming, and we’re confident it’s going to be a great one!