Keystone, CO

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42 thoughts on “Keystone, CO

  1. Ryan July 14, 2017 / 10:10 pm

    I was reminded by a post over on SLF that prior to the Von Roll River Run Gondola, there was also a Yan River Run Gondola. Not sure when it was installed though.


    • Michael July 15, 2017 / 8:03 am

      It’s shown above as “Skyway…Gondola 6…1984-1986”


      • Donald Reif May 30, 2019 / 2:01 pm

        The Von Roll gondola reused the Yan gondola’s terminal buildings.


  2. Jonathan December 23, 2017 / 10:20 am

    What lift was in place before the Ruby, and after Teller? Teller got removed in 1990, and Ruby got installed in 2000. If you find out, can you tell me who built it and why it was removed


  3. Collin December 23, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    I think that’s just a mistake in the list. Teller had the accident in 1985 and then was rebuilt by Yan for free and renamed Ruby.


  4. Jonathan January 4, 2018 / 7:55 pm

    Is the A-51 lift (Packsaddle) slowly getting upgraded?


    • Josh January 17, 2018 / 11:47 am

      Yes, Pack 2 had some major mods installed this past summer. Myself and my co-workers installed a doppelmayer “D” style service brake and also repurposed the old doppelmayer brake cabinet off of old montezuma chair. No more manually pumping up the bull wheel and roll back brakes! Our electrical team also installed an all new drive and programming.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jcpierce05 February 9, 2019 / 5:21 pm

    I was wondering if Keystone would:

    1. Replace Outback Express to a 6 chair,

    2. Move the Outback to Wayback to replace it. Then the Outback would go under upgrades similar to the Shedhorn 4 at Big Sky.

    3. Take the Wayback Quad and move it to the Independence lift with a Doppelmayr Alpen-Star motor room.

    4. Upgrade Peru to a 6/8 chondola

    5. Move Peru to Brugeman Bowl Express with upgrades like Shedhorn 4.

    6. Add a 2 chair to the top of North and South Bowls.


    • Donald M. Reif February 25, 2019 / 1:15 am

      1. They added additional capacity to the Outback Express lift in 2014 by taking chairs from the Peru Express and Montezuma Express.

      2. Reusing infrastructure would be practical, but again, I don’t think the Outback Express needs a six pack line.

      3. —-

      4. I’m pretty sure that the master plan calls for Argentine to get upgraded to a high speed quad, with a midstation turn about halfway up the lift line, before terminating at the top of Paymaster.

      5. I think a brand-new lift would suffice.

      6. The master plan calls for a platter to potentially replace the Outback cat shuttle.


  6. Donald Reif August 14, 2019 / 8:54 pm

    Here’s some old photos of the Skyway Gondola, including a few showing the Montezuma Express and Summit Express lifts’ pre-detachable ancestors:

    As the photos here show, the Von Roll gondola reused the Yan terminal buildings.

    Montezuma was a Riblet double with a Yan drive, while Erickson was a Yan triple that basically covered what is now the catch area covered by the River Run Gondola’s midstation, and its pod of trails can also be lapped via the Summit Express. You can tell that used to be where a lift began because of how Jacques St. James, Swandyke, Whipsaw and Santa Fe all converge there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • powderforever45 September 26, 2019 / 8:43 pm

      What was the other yan cable car? Does the QMC funitel count.


      • Greg K December 24, 2020 / 12:50 am

        Another Yan gondola was at Squaw Valley, around the smae time frame (1983-1985). Afterwards it got replaced by a Poma gondola, which in turn was replaced by a funitel in 1998. The Poma gondola was moved to Lake Louise.


  7. Donald Reif September 13, 2019 / 9:40 am

    The chair count numbers on the Peru Express, Outback Express and original Montezuma Express lift on this spreadsheet are incorrect. Those are the numbers of chairs those three lifts had prior to 2013. In 2013, a total of 17 chairs from the Montezuma Express and 7 from the Peru Express were removed, ostensibly to increase chair spacing just slightly on those lifts to reduce misloads. The following year, those 24 chairs were added to the Outback Express to increase that lift’s uphill capacity from 2,400 or so pph to 2,600 pph. So the Peru Express currently has 135 chairs, the Montezuma Express had 151 chairs at the time of its removal, and the Outback Express currently has 124 chairs.


  8. Cameron Halmrast January 13, 2020 / 11:44 pm

    To be honest and fair, mountain safety sometimes is a complete joke. Yes, I’ve had my run ins with them in the past for going too fast, but at the same time, they were very courteous and told me where to go on the mountain to ski fast and not be yelled at. I appreciated our conversation, but I have had others that didn’t even know how to ski yell at me for skiing 20 mph in a slow zone at Big White. In regards to the topic about Buckhouse, there was just bad communication between mountain safety, especially in his video showing mountain safety yelling at a beginner snowboarder “Hey, snowboarder, get over here.”


    • Donald Reif January 15, 2020 / 12:31 pm

      I feel like peoples’ boycott threats on the video are quite empty. Like, in a “I know you’re going to conveniently every reason you said you were boycotting the resort the next time there’s a major snowfall” kind of way.


      • 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖉𝖆𝖗𝖐 𝖝 𝖍𝖔𝖗𝖓𝖊𝖙 February 25, 2021 / 5:15 pm

        For Buckhouse, I think it was a misunderstanding. He wasn’t even going fast. Honestly, they should keep the slow zones the middle part, and the side zone, you can ski fast.


  9. Mountaineer May 6, 2020 / 8:30 am

    According to old skimaps, packsaddle was built in 1974 ( and shortened in 1976 when go devil was built ( Go devil was later renamed to packsaddle I. Packsaddle became packsaddle II and A-51 years later ( Is that correct? And the Yan gondola was called river run first ( before it was renamed to skyway – probably when it was rebuilt by Von Roll (


    • Tyler August 9, 2020 / 6:32 pm

      On the 1976 map, we have a “Saint John” lift and in later years it was “Saints John” – anyone know the story there? A religious reference or a bathroom reference?


      • Michael August 9, 2020 / 8:59 pm

        The lift and trail names at Keystone originated from the mining heritage in the area. Saints John was a nearby mine. No religion, no bathrooms😉👍

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Michael May 6, 2020 / 3:38 pm

    That is correct. My recollection is they changed the name from Go Devil to Packsaddle I because the name was too intimidating. People thought that the whole lift would be like the last pitch of Go Devil which is steep with big bumps.


  11. Henry T August 8, 2020 / 8:44 pm

    What was the old Ida Belle lift for?


    • Donald Reif August 9, 2020 / 8:29 am

      Its purpose seems to have been to lap Paymaster, Silver Spoon, and Gassy Thompson, a role that rendered it rather redundant once the Montezuma Express lift was built.


      • Henry T August 9, 2020 / 9:05 am

        Was that lift ever relocated after it was removed or was it scrapped? If it was relocated where is it now?


      • pbropetech August 10, 2020 / 12:17 pm

        Keystone has really streamlined their fleet in the last 25 years. I count five lifts removed and only one replaced (sort of; Summit and Erickson aren’t exactly in the same alignment). Most of the removals make sense but lapping the old Erickson pod now requires dropping onto the most congested run in Summit County to get back to a lift. Not my favourite. Removing Ida Belle seemed to have increased traffic on Montezuma but I haven’t skied there since the sixpack was put in so that may have improved.


        • Donald Reif August 10, 2020 / 12:53 pm

          The least that could’ve been done when the Summit Express was built would be to build an alternate trail from where the Erickson pod trails merge to get down to it that bypasses the River Run trail.


    • Randy August 10, 2020 / 11:25 am

      HooDoo trail was used for NASTAR/ Racing so those skiers would always ride Ida.


      • D Scott December 8, 2020 / 6:01 pm

        We always lapped Ida Belle when I was in ski school at Keystone in 1980-1982 to ski upper Paymaster and Gassy Thompson. Easier than battling the crowds at Sts. John and mitigating the freneticism of upper Schoolmarm. Shorter ride time too.


  12. Nathan August 23, 2020 / 12:55 pm

    Anyone know why Keystone replaced two brand new Riblet lifts in the first 10 years of the ski areas existence? The Argentine replacement was like for like (double) after only 7 years. Between the Yan gondola, Teller incidents and replacing 2 nearly new Riblets, it’s surprising Keystone didn’t go out of business.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Donald Reif January 14, 2021 / 10:07 pm

    Considering Keystone, like Breckenridge, has a lot of its trails and lifts named after nearby mining claims, I sometimes wonder why A51 and its terrain park weren’t named the Toledo lift and terrain park, given they sit atop the Toledo Tunnel Mine (something I found out while looking at old mining claims in Summit County to see where Breck might draw names for the Peak 7 infill lift).,lf_ui:1&tbm=lcl&sxsrf=ALeKk02LOmgC0thGspwKVzl6Pkoo8QWDRg:1610684994162&q=gold+mines+in+summit+county+colorado&rflfq=1&num=10&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjH0a-XjZ3uAhXLhK0KHY2FCkEQjGp6BAgrEFI&biw=1366&bih=599#rlfi=hd:;si:,39.582128566702686,-105.93646633824845;mv:[[39.49630130220617,-105.93822212515808],[39.43613609673489,-106.10061378775573],null,[39.46622520168019,-106.0194179564569],13]


  14. skitheeast February 6, 2021 / 10:44 pm

    I know Keystone has mentioned the possibility of adding a Ski Tip gondola in the past, but why not a gondola from Lakeside? From my experience, most people coming to the resort are driving via the Eisenhower Tunnel/Dillon rather than Loveland Pass and the Lakeside parking lot is a decent size, so it would be more convenient. Plus, Ski Tip is a closer shuttle to the existing lifts than Lakeside.


    • Michael February 7, 2021 / 11:59 am

      A gondola from Lakeside was discussed in the late ‘90s, but as a base area transportation lift for Lakeside lodging to Mountain House and River Run. The problem was the Lakeside footprint was tight for a gondola terminal. Lakeside parking lot really can’t accommodate very many cars other than those from Lakeside Village, so moving the terminal over there didn’t make any sense.


  15. Boardski February 7, 2021 / 4:08 pm

    There was never a triple version of Montezuma, the Riblet received a Yan drive station the same year Erickson was built in 1980.


  16. afski722 February 24, 2021 / 10:00 pm

    Bergman Bowl expansion was approved by USFS.

    The new lift is supposed to be 2400 ppl/hr which means its likely going to be a HSS / CLD-6.

    Based on the construction requirements, it sounds like earliest it could be completed would be for the 2022-2023 ski season.
    They may get started this summer with some tree clearing / grading / site prep, but there are some sections of the terrain expansion that require tree clearing/removal to be done by helicopter and other sections over snow. Access road improvements are needed to the summit of North Peak, so this looks like a two season project.


    • Donald Reif February 24, 2021 / 10:40 pm

      2,400 pph could mean “high speed six pack with nine second spacing,” or “high speed quad with eight second chair spacing”. A six pack definitely seems like it could be the route taken since six pack chairs might fare better in high winds (Breck almost certainly built the Kensho SuperChair as a six pack for this very reason) and give a little extra load time, and Keystone will already have two LPA six packs by that point. But I believe the master plan proposed it as a high speed quad, unless things have changed. A quad, though, might require chairs with slatted backrests like these:


    • Donald Reif February 25, 2021 / 6:42 am

      I do think the “lift manufacturer guessing game” will be interesting on this one. On the one hand, Leitner-Poma is building the Peru Express this summer and Keystone will likely want to stick with them. But on the other hand, I don’t think there’s a variant of the LPA chair that has slatted backrests, that’s something Doppelmayr corners the market in. And Keystone’s like Copper Mountain and Vail in having both Doppelmayr and Leitner-Poma detachables: Leitner-Poma for the six packs, Doppelmayr for the quads and gondolas.


    • Donald Reif February 25, 2021 / 1:01 pm

      From a financial standpoint, it might be worth it to reuse the Peru Express’s chairs and towers, refit them with Agamatic or DT grips, and install new UNI G terminals in Bergman Bowl. Unless Beaver Creek plans to use its chairs and towers for the McCoy Park Express and egress fixed-grip quad, much like the Montezuma Express lift became a parts donor for Red Buffalo.

      But I’m not Keystone management or Vail Resorts.


  17. Donald Reif March 20, 2021 / 6:03 pm

    Given my experiences at Keystone, I keep thinking there’s one way to better distribute skier traffic on the east side of Dercum Mountain, one that I think the resort should’ve gone with back in 1997 when the Erickson triple was replaced..

    Rather than build a single lift running parallel to the River Run Gondola, they should’ve directly built a high speed quad on the Erickson lift line, while having the River Run base area high speed quad only run up to just above where the lift lines cross Jackwhacker, with chairlift traffic transferring to the Erickson Express or Montezuma Express to continue the rest of the way to the Summit House. This would be beneficial in that it would eliminate the logjam on the River Run trail to the last hour of the operating day, with skier traffic on Santa Fe, Swandyke, Whipsaw and Jacques St. James using the Erickson Express rather than have to continue down Missouri to River Run. The resulting arrangement would be similar in nature to how at Vail, Lionshead guests not wanting to take the Eagle Bahn Gondola can use the Born Free Express and Pride Express lifts in tandem to get up to Eagle’s Nest if they’d rather take a chairlift.

    Alternately, Keystone could’ve gone with building the Summit Express as is (River Run to the Summit House) and also built the Erickson Express lift in a slightly different alignment to end on the opposite side of Flying Dutchman’s entrance from the Summit Express/River Run Gondola/Montezuma Express. This would’ve eased crowds at the Summit Express and Montezuma Express.


  18. Myles Svec April 3, 2021 / 8:11 pm

    It would be a 6,331 ft long HSQ (possibly a 6 pack for wind conditions.) with a 1,200 pph capacity.

    It would start at the junction of Anticipation and Coyote Caper. It would terminate skiers left of the top of Stray Horse.

    It would provide access to lift served, expert bowl terrain in Erickson Bowl. Like other ski resorts such as Copper Mountain and Breckenridge. It would also provide another means of access to the upcoming Bergman Bowl lift.

    It may be avalanche prone though so the towers near the top where the avalanche threat is would be reinforced.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif April 3, 2021 / 9:43 pm

      If your proposed Erickson Express lift were to be built, it wouldn’t just be for lapping Erickson Bowl, but it would also allow for skier traffic on the Outback Express lift an alternative route to Wayback to get to North Peak.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BC Skier Guy April 4, 2021 / 8:21 am

      Interesting idea, there is certainly some really cool terrain up there and this would be a sweet lift. The tricky part is making sure not to overcrowd the terrain and it would also likely require some work on the narrow runout to accommodate increased traffic. I’ve thought for a while that a short, low capacity fixed grip triple that serves Erickson Bowl and starts at the base of the bowl (like at the bottom of Wolf Den) would be really nice. I would imagine any lift in this area is decades away though, priority will be on the Bergman Bowl, North Bowl, and Independence Bowl lifts as in the Master Plan.

      Liked by 1 person

      • skitheeast April 4, 2021 / 12:12 pm

        A triple would have too long of a ride time for a lift of this length. Making it detachable is a necessity. If you want to keep capacity low, then just throw fewer chairs on the line. I personally would probably go higher than the proposed 1200, but that is a minor detail.

        I love the idea and think it can be done within the next decade. Yes, there are other proposed lifts within the master plan, but Keystone is poised for growth. It receives 1.2 million annual skier visits and only has 13 lifts to accommodate them, which is about 92 thousand skier visits per lift, and that is insanely high. For comparison, Breck has 1.8 million annual skier visits for 23 (soon to be 24) lifts, which is about 78 thousand skier visits per lift, and Park City has 1.4 million annual skier visits for 37 lifts, which is about 38 thousand skier visits per lift. Plus, Keystone’s skier visitation numbers could skyrocket with Vail’s new Epic Pass strategy. Keystone needs a number of new lifts and more terrain now, not in 10 years.


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