Some­times a dom­i­nant brand­ing mes­sage works too well. For in­stance, Key­stone is the “fam­ily re­sort” in the ex­pand­ing Vail port­fo­lio. In­deed, Key­stone is one of the most fam­ily-friendly re­sorts on snow. But it’s also a lot more—for skiers will­ing to head to the outer reaches of the re­sort. For starters, Key­stone is big­ger than Breck­en­ridge, has es­sen­tially the same ver­ti­cal as Beaver Creek and boasts ter­rain va­ri­ety darn close to Vail. We find that Key­stone is vastly un­der­rated by most peo­ple be­cause it’s con­sid­ered a fam­ily re­sort, but there’s ac­tu­ally a sur­pris­ing amount of ad­vanced and ex­pert ter­rain. Give credit to just about any run on North Peak (fave: Cat Dancer) or The Out­back (check out The Grizz glades) or pick any bowl rim­ming the re­sort’s high alpine. Yes, week­ends and hol­i­days can be bumper-to-bumper on the frontside, but ef­fi­cient lifts move things along. River Run Vil­lage has enough go­ing to get you to clos­ing time, even if it’s not as hop­ping as, say, Vail or Breck. Any­way, you’ll be tired after a day of check­ing out all that new-found ad­vanced ter­rain.

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