Balance out festival indulgence with stretching and singletrack.
Every mountain town has its own special charm, so how do you choose where to go for those long summer and autumn weekends?
I encountered a perfect combination for my overnight at Keystone, Colorado, in mid-July: mountain biking + outdoor yoga + wine tastings + live jazz = midsummer magic.
We came on a Friday in July, just in time for a little mountain biking and a taste of Keystone’s Friday Afternoon Club (FAC). This event brings visitors on a free lift ride to access the top of Dercum Mountain, located at 11,640 feet in elevation. It’s an ideal spot to wind down the week, with great views, live music, food and drink specials.
Keystone’s annual Wine and Jazz Festival was the main motivation for this visit, but in addition to the festival’s great tastings, informative seminars and live music, there was ample time to spend mountain biking, and I was blown away at the area’s beautifully developed bike trials.
The resort is known for its downhill mountain bike scene. I’m classically a fan of cross-country (with plenty of uphill, please), but I loved the smooth and flowing green routes and well-built blue trails — blacks, however, were a little too intense for me! You can’t ride uphill on the singletrack trails during Keystone’s operating hours (although you can ride Jackstraw Road road up). So, to get your climbing fix, get out there early and pedal before the lifts open at 10 a.m.
Keystone is open for daily summer operations through Monday, September 5, 2016, and then weekend-only operations September 10 and 11, as well as September 17 and 18.
After a morning ride, and an awesome mountaintop yoga session on Saturday, the time for wine arrived, and I dove right in with a well-rounded seminar on Pinot Noir around the world. Festivals are fun, but when it comes to eating and drinking events, I think the educational components help guests pair play with a little bit of learning — a rewarding combination.
One night works, but staying for two is best. Reserve a spot right in River Run Village for the convenience of easy access to the mountain, restaurants and shops.The River Run Condominiums are spacious for a couple and would be comfortable for a family. Dog-friendly options are available at places like the Keystone Lodge and Spa (located a shuttle ride away from the main village), but book early to ensure a spot for you and your pooch.
There are seven signature festivals held at Keystone throughout the summer. New this year, Keystone’s River Run Village Art Festival is July 30 and 31, and August 6 and 7 will be the 20th anniversary of the Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival. More upcoming events include: Mountain Town Music Festival on Saturday, August 20; Keystone Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 3; Taste of Keystone on Sunday, September 4.
Keystone also has a ton of family-friendly activities for the summer season, including snow tubing (yes, snow), Kidtopia adventures — like nature hikes, craft-centric activities, and dodgeball games, Keystone Lake activities and horseback riding.
For my traveling companion and I, miles of singletrack, morning mountaintop stretching and jazz-accompanied wine sipping kept us busy and happy, and we left Keystone ready to return again soon.
Kim Fuller is a freelance writer based in Vail, Colorado.