Keystone, CO 2-9-20

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Keystone, CO 2-9-20

Postby EMSC » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:00 pm

About 20 coincidences lined up in such a way as to be the best powder day of the season so far for me.

My son was supposed to have a race on Sunday, but then got sick on the way up (illness and kids sure can be interesting how quick it comes on). We stayed overnight anyway after fighting 10 or 15 minutes of delays at the tunnels headed west-bound. They close the tunnels down once an hour for hazardous cargo trucks when Loveland pass is closed which it has been a lot lately. Given that some relatives from the Springs were up at Keystone as well, my wife went home with Jr and I stayed to ski and join up with them (eventually).

As to snow - biggest storm cycle of the year so far last week in Colorado including big totals Thurs & Friday, but lots of terrain was closed due to visibility and winds. That said much of the alpine terrain at Breck and Copper remained closed all the way through at least this AM (possibly still closed too actually). Even Eldora my home mtn has picked up 45" in 5 days. Anyway, Keystone has little truly steep or avi prone areas currently utilized (they are planning to add a couple bowl lifts soon-ish, but not by next year). SO basically everything opened on Sunday for them, whereas per the locals the best terrain off Outback was only open from ~10:30a-1p on Saturday due t control work and then winds in the afternoon.

That set-up meant I was free to ski the best terrain deep in the outback which in many places had the full storm cycle worth of depth (~24" back there). I did eventually meet up with family for a late lunch near 2p and we continued to ski the frontside till nearly 5p (Keystone is open till 8pm most nights on the front). Anyway, I got in some soft fluff heading over but then anywhere from the overnight 6-8" and more often the full 24" all morning as I lapped the Outback. Initially with flurries, then a doughnut hole of sun surrounding Keystone and eventually back to heavy snow squalls.

Had I been at Copper for example, much of their best stuff was closed (Spaulding, Tucker, and more). So it is very ironic to have such a good ski day at Keystone. Usually much less snow, terrible layout, no true steeps etc... But on this particular day I lucked into an excellent set-up. Of course it helps that I like to ski the trees. Clearly my longest ski day of the season from 8:40a-4:50p with about 26K of Vertical. Probably about half powder and the rest getting to-from powder as well as lapping frontside with family late when the good lifts were closed.

Only took a few pics. When skiing the woods a lot it's hard to get any action shots:

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headed towards outback


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only 6-8" in Grizzly


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Cutting trail with the very first couple of folks into this section


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A 'rail' for boarders buried deep in the woods. no idea how they find it consistently, since it is so buried.


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Hiking to ski south bowl


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Breck in the background


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In the "Windows" section


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6 lifts in 100 yards of each other. One reason I hate Keystone's layout.
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Re: Keystone, CO 2-9-20

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:44 am

Looks good but did you make it back to the Front Range in less than four hours on Sunday evening?

Vail, hah:
https://www.aspentimes.com/news/vails-l ... r-weekend/
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Re: Keystone, CO 2-9-20

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:32 am

The article mentioned that the snow at Vail was unusually heavy for Colorado so some people had to straightline to keep moving in it. Was this ever an issue at not-so-steep Keystone? Maybe the higher elevation at Keystone had drier snow?
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Re: Keystone, CO 2-9-20

Postby EMSC » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:20 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:Looks good but did you make it back to the Front Range in less than four hours on Sunday evening?


Yes, actually. Only took just over 3 hours. No idea how or why, but significantly less traffic than you experienced on the way back from Cooper.

And the worst lift line I experienced at Keystone was about 10 minutes on Outback just before normal lunch hour.

Tony Crocker wrote:The article mentioned that the snow at Vail was unusually heavy for Colorado so some people had to straightline to keep moving in it. Was this ever an issue at not-so-steep Keystone? Maybe the higher elevation at Keystone had drier snow?


The snow was denser than normal Colorado powder (the recent Sun/Monday/Tues snowfalls have since gone back to normal light fluff), So I could definitely go more straight than average for here, but I didn't have to do any true straight-lining on anything with even decent blue pitch. Sounds like Vail was heavier snow and warmer temps. Or just more of it at 38"+ vs my ~24". Which just goes back to the irony of getting better skiing at Keystone than nearly any other front range place that was open...
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