SUMMIT COUNTY — In our exclusive new series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
This past week, we visited Keystone Resort for some opening day fun!
Keystone is located off of Highway 6 in Summit County, just south of I-70. Depending on road conditions, you can be on the mountain in less than two and a half hours from Colorado Springs.
After last season's abrupt ending due to the state's response to coronavirus, everywhere at the resort just seemed genuinely thrilled to be back on the mountain again.
"I was skeptical at first whenever corona started, and now that I'm here and seeing all the snow and seeing everyone happy to be here, it's just amazing," said opening day visitor Halven Vega.
"We're so excited to be here today. It's awesome and it's not super crowded, so there's enough room on the run to spread out. It's pretty nice," said opening day snowboarder Rachel Jacbos.
"I could not wait! I hardly got any sleep last night. I am so happy to be here," added stoked snowboarder Joseph Alvarez.
Time to take a few turns
Being on assignment, it's important that I get the full opening day experience, so I took a ride up the River Run Gondola to the top of the mountain. Did I mention that I'm an avid skier yet?!
The ride to the summit offers amazing views, and top-to-bottom skiing on nearly 2,300 vertical feet.
Once at the top, I make a few last-minute adjustments to my ski boots before clicking into my bindings.
And just like that, I'm skiing again for the first time in nearly eight long months, and it feels great!
Keystone's take on COVID-19
Keystone has been preparing the mountain for this moment since last March when Colorado's ski industry shut down unexpectedly.
Loryn Roberson, Keystone's Communication Manager, tells News 5 that the resort has created this winter's operating plan with COVID in mind.
"This season's definitely gonna look different this year. You know, we've re-imagined the entire mountain experience, and there's three main components that you're gonna notice when you come to the resort, " said Roberson.
Part of the plan she tells us is a new reservation system that's now open to Epic Pass holders.
Currently, pass holders can make up to seven priority day reservations for the core season, which runs from December 8, 2020 to April 4, 2021.
Roberson also tells me that the resort will offer week-of reservations, an important feature for locals who like to ride a lot like our new friend Joseph Alvarez.
"I'm going for at least 50 days this season. I'm going to use my Epic Pass until it burns up," said Alvarez.
While at the resort, guests will be required to wear masks, and adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines when in dining and retail areas.
According to Roberson, this is done to keep capacity manageable at the resort, all while keeping the safety of their guests a top priority.
"If you're planning to ski this season, you're gonna have to plan ahead. Be patient, and I think just remember that we're all in this together. If we want a successful ski season from start to finish, we're gonna need to work together," said Roberson.
For more information about the reservation system, and to purchase tickets to Keystone Resort, visit their website - keystoneresort.com