Keystone Resort Vacation Rentals: Mountain House Vs River Run Base Areas
Keystone Resort, Colorado is home to world class skiing terrain, incredible dining, affordable cat skiing, three mountain peaks and it is one of the few resorts in Colorado to offer night skiing, making for one of the longest ski days around, offering visitors a huge bang for their buck. It is also home to Kidtopia- a festival where kids can have a blast, participating in fun activities geared just for them, including visiting and playing in a huge snow fort at the top of the Mountain! Not to mention the countless other winter activities to enjoy such as snow tubing, ice skating, fine dining, sleigh rides, live music, festivals, and more!
So you’ve made the decision to visit Keystone this winter, now comes the hard part, where to stay? Keystone is a small town, about 3 miles in length sitting in a valley at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain itself is made up of three separate peaks that line up from North to South; Dercum, North Peak, and the Outback, each offering it’s own unique terrain and features. Dercum Mountain is the furthest peak North and it’s front side offers the only two access points to the entire mountain, River Run and Mountain House.
Of the two base areas, River Run is the newer of the two and is known as the main Village, where both the gondola and the Summit Express chair lift pickup and take you to the top of Dercum Mountain. This village features a pedestrian-only walking area, with plenty of cute boutiques, ski rental shops, coffee shops and restaurants. There is an outside overnight ski check near the gondola and bathrooms and lockers inside the season pass and ticketing office. The only thing this base area is really missing is a central ‘ski lodge’, but making up for it are plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the slopes. The Kickapoo Tavern is a fun place to have lunch or an apres ski beer, with a big outdoor patio that overlooks the slopes. Some fun features of River Run Village are the Dercum Square Outdoor Ice Rink, the various statues throughout the village, the many unique shops and an outdoor gas fire pit, which is perfect for warming up at on a cold day. There are a cluster of River Run accommodation options that are all within yards of the gondola, including the Springs, Jackpine, Arapahoe, Black Bear, Silver Mill, Dakota, Buffalo, Expedition Station and Red Hawk Lodge. The two true ski-in, ski-out properties at Keystone are Lone Eagle and the Timbers, which are actually across the Snake River Bridge just past the gondola and then up the slopes a few yards from the Village.
Both bases are home to ski schools, skier services and rental shops. Mountain House has a great beginner’s area with a magic carpet and easy chair lift. You can find similar beginner terrain at the mid-mountain gondola stop and at the top near Schoolmarm. Although you won’t find the pedestrian ‘mall’ area here with the same extensive shopping and dining options as River Run, you will find that Mountain House is a true ski resort base area complete with a lodge with indoor lockers, a cafeteria, a bar, ski supply shop and bathrooms; suiting any skier’s needs. You will also find a lift ticket office here at the base near the two chair lifts, the Peru and Argentine. The Peru Lift takes you to the top of Area-51, along with some green and blue runs and you can be back to the River Run Base area in just one run or hop on the quick mid-mountain Montezuma lift to head up to the top.
Lodging prices at Mountain House tend to be a little lower than River Run, while offering most of the same conveniences. Chateaux DuMont Properties are very popular and unique, most feature a private hot tub with a slopeside view! Slopeside Condos are another great option at Mountain House, and are just steps from the lifts. There are quite a few properties here that are within walking distance to the mountain at a fraction of the cost. If you feel the need to stop by the main village, just ski down or take a shuttle!
There are also plenty of lodging options outside of the two main villages. Settler’s Creek in East Keystone is one of the newest and most popular housing developments to the resort and feature beautiful multi-story town homes with garages and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. In the center of the neighborhood is ‘Minnie’s Cabin’, a central recreational gathering spot, complete with a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, pool table, grill, and hangout area to host gatherings and barbeques.
Keystone Resort hosts a free resort shuttle that will take you just about anywhere you need to go within Keystone and most lodging complexes are serviced by the shuttle. Most rides to the slopes from anywhere in Keystone are 10 minutes or less! There is also a free county-wide transit system known as the Summit Stage which makes it very easy to get around in the high country without a car. The Denver International Airport is just a mere 90 minutes away and there are numerous shuttle companies that will take you to and from the airport.
If you are willing to stay outside of the main villages at Keystone, you will often be able to find better deals and prices on your accommodations. Be sure you choose a property management company that lets you pick the exact property you are staying at so you will know what to expect and 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 is very easy to find everything you are looking for and more!