The Perfect Colorado Ski Trip: Denver to Keystone
I am always on the hunt to find authentic experiences when I go to new cities. Though I’ve been to Denver several times previously, on this trip I was on the hunt to find a boutique hotel experience that would immerse me in the rich cultural roots of the city and its nuances. The Crawford hotel brought me all that and more. It is one of the coolest hotels I’ve stayed at, not only is it located in Denver’s old Union Station building, it has some really incredible vintage photographs lining its walls, to help transport you to times past in a frontier town that has now become a fast growing, cosmopolitan city. The old Union Station building pays homage to decades past with its opulent art deco-esque decor and vintage inspired amenities like the Terminal Bar, while still being home to a very modern hotel.
When you walk in, an inviting yellow toned lighting welcomes you and walking past the bar you come to a sign hanging from the marble welcomes you to The Crawford. Check in is easy and friendly, you’ll get free coffee and ice cream at the coffee shop in the lobby whenever you’d like during your stay. When you’re ready to go to your room an elevator takes you up past the shops and restaurants to your quiet space. The rooms are trimmed out with beautiful dark wood and feature ornate doors, vintage inspired bedding, C.O. Bigelow products, luxe robes and of course, your usuals like cable and room service.
In the morning one can go downstairs for free coffee or, use my preferred method of waking up and just chill in bed and hit the bed side Nespresso maker up while you rest in your robe. We only stayed the night, before heading up to the mountains for a weekend of skiing, but before heading out of Denver you have to stop at Snooze AM Eatery in the main lobby of the Station. Snooze features organic eggs, inventive breakfast and lunch foods and fresh squeezed juice. I am a big pancake fanatic, and I am gluten free, sometimes these two traits don’t mix, yet at Snooze they happen to have the most incredible gluten free buttermilk pancakes served with maple syrup from my home state of Vermont. Fluffy on the inside with the perfect golden crust on the outside…. mouthwatering and the perfect way to fuel up for some serious skiing.
When arriving in the Keystone area you must stop over at Tacos Tequila restaurant (enchiladas pictured below). There are many insanely good and affordable spots in the Silverthorne/DIllon area right next to Keystone resort so check them out (another favorite is Chimayo). Keystone itself is part of the Vail Resorts family so if you have an Epic Pass like I do, you can ski there for 10 days for free every season as an out of towner. My husband and I stayed in a 2 bdrm mountain condo we found on AirBnB with our friend Jill. It was huge and right on the shuttle line, for only $160 a night and came with all the mountainside amenities you need, hot tub, sauna, electric fireplace, dishwasher, laundry, ski storage, parking and a full kitchen.
If you are looking to ski in the Rockies and keep it low key I suggest Keystone, but it is certainly not for those of you seeking a good Apres scene. With a family friendly vibe and a low key crowd, Keystone is the place to go when you really just want to get in some good turns and turn in at the end of the day. The views at the top are incredible and once you work your way across the mountain to harder terrain, the people thin out and you’re a few runs closer to the on mountain BBQ joint that serves up yummy brisket sandwiches and pulled turkey with mac and cheese! For a more glitz and glam ski vacation you can pop over to Vail about 45 minutes away.
I have to say Vail is right there with Whistler in terms of terrain, beauty and the quality of the infrastructure. Everything is brand spanking new, the Apres scene is killer and the back bowls are something to be remembered. We only spent a day in Vail, one perfect blue bird day on the perfectly groomed back bowls, shredding it up in glorious conditions. If you want to meet people, party mid day at the on mountain tiki bar and then ride down for some incredible eats at any of the world class restaurants in the village.
While both resorts are totally different they both have everything you need to have a great time in the mountains. So whether you’re partying it up with the jetsetters in Vail or keeping it cool and casual in Keystone you’re bound to have a great time as the Rocky mountains never disappoint.