Words by Natty and Trey
Photos by Devon Balet
What was the first thing we both said out loud to each other when our Keystone visit was finalized for this year? The answer: In unison, "Oh, I hope the Bluegrass & Beer Festival is happening again while we're there! Much to our delight, not only was the Blues & Brews Fest happening, we were gonna have even more time to partake and imbibe. There's nothing better than hitting up the bike park all day while looking forward to sampling Colorado's best microbrews and giant barbecued turkey legs! You won't find bluegrass on our i-pod play list, but we did strike up some appropriate dance moves from our condo balcony overlooking the festivities.
First off, we have to say that the bike park at Keystone has been the key-to-our-stoke so far this year. It has impressed us greatly with its big mountain vertical, number and variety of trails, progression, and feature riddled slopes.
Keystone is blessed with huge granite boulder strewn terrain that lends itself to multiple line choices on any given section of trail. Jam Rock is a mid-mountain, double black diamond trail, that fits the description above to a tee. If steeps are your gig, then, head down to Helter-Skelter. It will not disappoint! For the flow masters out there, Paid in Full & Money will leave you satisfied for sure.
Keystone aims to please. No matter what your style of bike park riding, there's something for everyone. For us, it was hard to decide which trail we wanted to hit up after our warm up lap. The choices are gnar, or jumps with gnar, or drops with jumps and gnar. It's hard to decide right? So, we committed ourselves to ride it all! Because we can, because we wanted to, and because we needed to be in top shape for the beer festivities awaiting us! How could we go wrong with over 2,000 feet of vert?
One would think, that after a few weeks of high-elevation downhill mountain biking, that we would be good to go at the top of the Keystone chairlift (11,000 feet), but oh no, we were out of breath just hopping off the lift and riding over to see the spectacular views of Dillon Reservoir far below.
Natalie couldn't wait to get back to Keystone and conquer the 14-foot tall (ladder bridge) corkscrew feature that nearly took her out last year. This iconic feature was lurking in the forest, halfway down the trail called Sanitarium, just waiting for Natalie to get up the nerve and risk it again. However, this year she met it with success and exorcised her demons. Afterwards, she was heard to have said "It looks scarier than it is." Trey hit up a feature in the Drop Zone called Paranoid that started with a steep rocky entrance and landed on a wooden transition. He didn't do it last year because we just plain didn't see it!
This mountain was so much bigger than we realized it was. Last summer, we only scratched the surface of what Keystone has to offer the bike park rider. This year, we didn't miss a thing. The great thing too, is that the trails were in top shape.
After all our riding, there were only two things left to do: Bluegrass and Beer Festival, and hit up the hot tub (nuff said).
Natty favorite trails: Sanitarium – (double black diamond, screw you corkscrew).
Money – (black diamond jumps, jumps, and more jumps).
Trey favorite trails: Jam Rock – (double black diamond, best of everything trail!).
Highspeed Dirt – (double black diamond, DH tech-full pucker).