Keystone Mountain opens with 25 plus features and top to bottom riding
Opening day at any mountain is a treat for everyone, whether you’re a local or you’ve traveled from afar to get back on snow. As this week came to a close we got antsy to get back to doing what we love to, snowboard. Friday couldn’t come soon enough as Keystone was to open its lifts with top-to-bottom shredding and a park with 25 plus features.
After two weeks of enjoying great snow at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, today would mark the second big opening for Colorado as Copper Mountain celebrated its 40th anniversary and Keystone fired up its lifts. What drew us to Keystone’s opening day was its park setup. How can you give up 25 perfectly groomed features with your friends?
Arriving early, we found the parking lot half full as riders geared up to quickly make their way to the front of the line where Keystone gave away a GoPro prize pack to one of the first 100 in line. After the winner was announced, everyone present honored Keystone founder Bill Bergman for his recent induction to the Ski and Snowboard Hall Of Fame and for his overall contribution to making Keystone what it is today.
After the ceremony it was time to head up and enjoy full top-to-bottom runs, one of the first in Colorado, if not the country, as well as 25 features accessed by the Ranger lift.
The first gondola ride of the season brought back memories of last year as the six of us discussed what this season would bring; hopefully more snow. Once we reached the top we strapped in and headed to Keystone’s always-pristine park. Big props go out to the Keystone park crew as they set up four lines with every feature imaginable. No matter your level of riding, Keystone had it all from flat boxes to the down-flat-down rails, a z-kink, down rails galore and a bunch more features that kids were sending it on.
After watching the opening mayhem we met up with local pros Will Mayo and Ian Smith along with Joe Mango and Mark Hoyt (if you haven’t seen Mark’s 2011/12 season edit, you should watch it) and put down a punishing on pretty much every feature out there. Everyone was in high-spirits as you could see high five in every direction you looked.
Opening day is something special that people come to to let loose and get back that feeling we all crave. On a quick chair lift ride to the top of the park, I chatted with Mark Hoyt about what opening day meant to him. “No one realizes that not all pros are well off,” he said. “I worked my ass off all summer on an oil rig for this moment right here. I mean, I ditched my girlfriend’s birthday to come to this. That’s how important opening day is.”
To round out the weekend, Keystone hosted the Back to the Grind rail jam at the base of the gondola. Here’s what went down:
Well there you have it, another successful opening day/weekend for Keystone, Colorado and the country. If you haven’t made it up to Summit County to get some turns in I suggest you drop everything you’re doing, hitch a ride with your friend (because it saves you mad cash) and get your lazy ass up here.
Jonathan Glass is the Online Editor at Snowboard Magazine. If he says he is going snowboarding it means he's at après, early.
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