Keystone Resort: Mountain House Vs River Run Base Resorts


Keystone Resort in Colorado is home to world-class ski terrain, amazing restaurants, affordable cat skiing, three mountain peaks and is one of the few resorts in Colorado that offers night skiing, one of the longest ski days, offering visitors a huge bang for their money . There is also Kidtopia – a festival where children can blow, participating in fun activities tailored just for them, including visiting and playing in the huge snow fortress at the top of the Mountain! Not to mention countless other winter activities to enjoy like snow tubing, ice skating, a fine meal, sledding, live music, festivals and more!

So you decided to visit Keystone this winter, now comes the hard part, where to stay? Keystone is a small town, about 3 kilometers long, located in a valley at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain itself consists of three separate peaks running from north to south; Dercum, North Peak and Outback, each offers its own unique terrain and features. Mount Dercum is the farthest peak of the North, and its front offers the only two access points to the entire mountain, River Run and Mountain House.

Of the two basic areas, River Run is the newer of the two and is known as the main village, where both the gondola and the Summit Express truck lift take you to the top of Mount Dercum. This village has a pedestrian-only pedestrian area, with many cute boutiques, ski rental shops, cafes and restaurants. There is an outdoor check for overnight skiing near the gondola and the bathroom and lockers as part of the season ticket and ticket office. The only thing this base area really lacks is the central ‘ski lodge’, but this is offset by the multitude of restaurants within walking distance of the slopes. Tavern Kickapoo is a fun place for lunch or apres ski beer, with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the slopes. Some of the fun features of River Run Village are the open skating rink in Dercum Square, various statues in the village, numerous unique shops and an outdoor fireplace, which is perfect for warming up on a cold day. There are plenty of accommodation options on the Run River, just meters from the gondola, including Springs, Jackpine, Arapahoe, Black Bear, Silver Mill, Dakota, Buffalo, Expedition Station and Red Hawk Lodge. The two real ski resorts in Keystone are Lone Eagle and Timbers, which are actually across the Snake River Bridge right next to the gondola and then up the slopes a few feet from the Village.

Both bases house ski schools, ski services and shop rentals. Mountain House has an excellent beginner area with a magic carpet and a light chairlift. You can find similar beginner terrain at the mid-mountain gondola stop and at the top near Schoolmarm. While you won’t find a pedestrian ‘shopping mall’ here with the same extensive shopping and dining options as River Run, you’ll see that Mountain House is the right base ski resort area along with a loggia with indoor lockers, cafeteria and bar, ski and bathroom equipment store; meets any needs of skiers. Here you will also find a ticket office at the base near the two cable cars, Peru and Argentina. The Peru Elevator takes you to the top of Area-51, along with several green and blue trails, and you can return to the River Run base area in just one ride or jump on the Montezuma high-speed midland elevator to head to the top.

Mountain House accommodation prices are usually slightly lower than River Run, while offering most of the same benefits. Chateaux DuMont Properties are very popular and unique, most have a private hot tub overlooking the slope! Slope apartments are another great option at Mountain House, and are just steps away from the cable cars. There are quite a few estates here that are within easy reach of the mountain within walking distance of a fraction of the cost. If you feel the need to stop by the main village, just ski or ride the shuttle!

There are many accommodation options outside the two main villages. Settler’s Creek in East Keystone is one of the resort’s newest and most popular resorts and features beautiful multi-storey townhouses with garages and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. In the center of the neighborhood is “Minnie’s Cabin”, a central place for recreational gatherings, along with a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, billiards, barbecue and space for socializing with the hosts of gatherings and barbecues.

The Keystone Resort has a free resort shuttle to take you anywhere you need to within Keystone, and most accommodations are serviced by a shuttle. Most rides to the slopes from anywhere in Keystone take 10 minutes or less! There is also a free transit system across the county known as the Summit Stage that allows for very easy movement in a high country without cars. Denver International Airport is just a 90-minute drive away, and there are many transport companies to take you to and from the airport.

If you are willing to stay outside the main villages in Keystone, you will often be able to find better deals and prices for your accommodation. Be sure to choose a real estate management company that allows you to choose exactly the property you are staying in so that you will know what to expect and you can plan your trip ahead of time. If you have a large group, ask your property manager about renting a private home! Wherever you stay in Keystone, you will find it very easy to find everything you are looking for and more!