I am headed into my fourth winter in Colorado and for the past three years I’ve kicked off the season by strapping on my snowboard before October 31st. This year has been a little different, to say the least, but I never expected for December to roll around before I had an opportunity to frolic around in the snow. But alas, I didn’t even take my snowboard out of its bag until December 5th! What is this world coming to?! What has happened to “love all things mountain-y” priorities?! Why am I letting silly what-grown-ups-are-supposed-to-do excuses get in the way of my fun!?

Honestly, I can’t even make up good lies to answer those questions so I’ll distract you with mountain photos instead! On Saturday I finally got a chance to layer on my winter gear and wait in weekend lines at Keystone. Only a small portion of Keystone was open but it was still worth the trip. We did a few loops on the [busy + rocky] front side of the resort then took the Outback Gondola to the back side in search of solitude and legitimate snow cover.

Spoiler Alert: we found snowy tree runs! Yes! The front side of Keystone was littered with icy patches, toppling children and rocks, but the back side?! As usual, that’s where the magic happens at Keystone. The groomers were rock-free and the trees were tracked up by still hiding pockets of fresh snow! But really, no matter where you went on Keystone it was refreshing just to see snow after knowing how bare the runs were just a few weeks earlier when I hiked near Peak One with a view of Keystone’s back bowls.

In my world you cannot work your way all the way to the far back side lift at Keystone without hiking a bit…so hike we did. We didn’t make it far before the snow started to thin, just a few hundred feet past the North Bowl/South Bowl sign. But that was good enough for us! The true beauty of tree riding is the solitude you get. Even on busy days the trees are not a popular place to be! Plus, when there are almost not back side trails open the lift lines on that half of the mountain are nearly non-existent, a huge weekend riding win!

After a few hours of riding we decided we needed to head home…we had a very important experiment to execute. There was a sparkly new oven just chilling in a newly remodeled kitchen that needed to be tested out and it became clear to us that baking cookies was the only possibly way to ensure the oven was fully functional! Two batches of cookies were baked and many samples were tasted but we eventually came to the conclusion that not was the oven working properly it was VERY good at backing cookies! In true cool kid fashion we topped off our Saturday night with multiple airplane heists + evacuations on Grand Theft Auto, a long drawn out game of Settlers of Catan and few major eye rolls at “A Million Ways to Die in the West”. Yup…I think my Saturday kind of rocked!


Logan · December 8, 2021 at 9:44 am

Tree runs are my all time favorite. I cannot wait for my ski season to begin!

Steve · December 8, 2021 at 11:14 am

Keystone is pretty sweet, I was up there with Heather and Will last year but had high avy danger in those back bowls. Disappointment doesn’t justify how I felt.

    Heidi Nicole · December 8, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    It’s probably my favorite CO resort…but I haven’t been to Beaver Creek, Silverton or Wolf Creek and I’m told they’ll change my life!

Natalie @ Free Range Human · December 10, 2021 at 10:02 am

I AM SO READY TO PLAY! Only two and 1/2 weeks until I can frolick in the mountains. Very much looking forward to it!

    Heidi Nicole · December 10, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    …and you’re getting an email! I just saw a Steamboat lift ticket deal in my inbox!

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