Base Camp

The Rockies are pretty fun without snow too.     Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

A Fix for Summit-Time Sadness

Snow or no snow, a weekend at Colorado's Keystone Resort is a panacea for your off-season skiing woes.

Summer in the Rockys, particularly at Keystone Resort, might just be better than ski season. For folks who don’t take snow for an answer, Keystone's customizable, wellness-inspired summer offerings are perfect for a weekend getaway.

  Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

The resort is made up of three traditional ski villages (a la Vail or Aspen) and stretches seven miles along the Snake River, crossing three mountains and 3,148 acres of terrain. Since it first opened in the ’70s as a tiny, family-owned place to hang some skis, the resort has expanded to include two world-class golf courses, horse stables, spas, restaurants, and shops. There’s even a mini golf course. With so much to do, it's easy to lose yourself in the mountain town—a ski town “snowglobe effect” of sorts—but isn’t that what vacation is for?

Keystone's condos vary in size, but for you and a partner, the one-to-two bedroom suite will do. Because the condos are individual timeshares, each has custom decor, from the bear sign by the door that reads "wipe your paws," to the VHS and romantic novel collection (our room had one DVD: St. Elmo's Fire). With ski slope views and rustic—but comfy—furniture, it can be hard to get going in the morning. Stock your fridge with bacon and eggs from one of several grocery stores within walking distance, and you can enjoy a lazy breakfast on the balcony.

Before you tackle any of the 100 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails or try your luck on a stand-up paddleboard on the lake, rejuvenate your body—12,408 feet up the mountain. Take the scenic gondola up the hillside for Mountain Top Yoga every Saturday morning, followed by lunch at the Bighorn Bistro. Then, continue the self care with a 50-minute massage complete with a fuzzy bathrobe and apres-rubdown sorbet by the fire.

  Photo: Courtesy of Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts

If going man-powered up the mountain is more your style, sign up for a guided hike from the basin. Ask for Yanna—a former Olympic skier from Prague—if you're really interested in getting a workout. She'll take you past panoramas of neighboring Dillon Lake and abandoned mining cabins from the 1800s.

Save the two-hour, guided horseback ride through the national forest for your last morning; you won’t want to be saddle sore for any of the other activities you’ve planned. 

  Photo: Courtesy of Aaron Dodds/Vail Resorts

It’s a good thing there are so many fitness activities available because you will eat well and in great quantities. Two dining experiences in particular are worth your time: the historic Ski Tip Lodge and The Ranch. Both offer gourmet plates and multiple-course meals that will keep you full and happy, but their history is the selling point. When you duck into the hobbit-like front door of the Ski Tip, remember that in the 1860s, the building was a regular stopping point on the Argentine Pass stagecoach route between Georgetown and Montezuma. Notice the vintage ski equipment used for door handles. Order the Lodge’s signature hot chocolate with Bailey’s and fresh whipped cream. At The Ranch, go with the five-course meal and make your reservations for sunset. You’ll want to devour the chocolate mousse plate just after the sun dips behind the mountain.

The details: Rooms from $119 a night.

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