Keystone Mountain is considered a world-class winter resort for skiing and snowboarding, but in the summer months it transforms into a premier mountain bike destination.
As snow melts off the mountain, Keystone converts a few of its winter ski runs into mountain bike single-track trails. A single-track is a dirt trail, often covered with rocks and tree roots, that is only wide enough for one bike or hiker to make it through.
The resort offers bikers the opportunity to ride the Summit Express chair lift to the top of Dercum Mountain and ride their bike down one of the 17 different trails.
There are four different trail difficulty levels for bikers to choose from. According to Keystone representative Chris Graner, the different difficulty levels, just like skiing, span green, blue, black and double-black runs. A green run is considered the easiest way down, a double black is considered the hardest with blues and blacks somewhere in between.
With four difficulty options, the resort offers a route for everyone. But be forewarned, the green trails are no walk in the park. If you have never ridden a single-track trail before, you will have a difficult time making your way down. The only option for mountain biking beginners is to ride down the service road.
For more advanced riders, Keystone has a wide variety of trails. If you have experience riding single-track, any of the greens, blues or blacks are a great option. If you can handle these trails without a problem, then put you're riding skills to the test on one of Keystones double-black runs. Many of the runs showcase the resort's natural terrain such as drops and high bank turns, but they also offer manmade features such as jumps and wooden bridges.
Avid cyclist and CSU student Chris Johnson recently made a trip to Keystone to ride downhill and was impressed with what the resort had to offer.
"The trails up there are great," Johnson said. "I really like the north shore style bridges."
If you are planning a trip to Keystone, there are a few essential items that you should take with you, including sunscreen, sunglasses, bike helmet, food and water. Another important item that you should take with you is rain gear. The weather in the mountains can change in an instant, and afternoon rain showers are quite frequent.
To get your bike to the top of the mountain, Keystone requires a day pass. A one run ticket will cost you $14 and an all day pass will run you $28. If you are a winter season pass holder be sure to take it with you, as you can receive a discounted price.
Keystone operates the Summit Express chair lift from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days per week until Sept. 11. The resort will also be open to mountain biking the following weekend, Sept. 17-18.
Keystone Resort is located on Highway 6 off Interstate 70. Exit on to Highway 6 just before the Eisenhower Tunnel. For more information including trail maps, riding clinics, and safety information check out www.keystone.snow.com.