Keystone Ski Area History

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Keystone History

While Keystone may have been created from scratch in 1970, the surrounding area has a long history with the Ute and Arapaho, as well as a mining history peppered with interesting stories and characters. Read More

  • The area around the resort was originally used by the Ute and Arapaho during summer, but was overtaken by miners in search of precious metal.
  • Keystone was founded explicitly for the ski resort in 1970, making it comfortable and convenient.
  • In honor of the founders, Keystone Mountain was renamed to Dercum Mountain in 2003.

General History of the Keystone Area

Although the Ute and Arapaho Native American tribes inhabited this pristine area before any others, word started to spread east in 1859 that the area had great sources of gold and copper. For many years following the gold rush, the towns of Summit County saw many booms and busts, some coming right behind the other.

But it wasn't until the train arrived in 1882 that the area really began to grow. From ox-drawn wagons and stage coaches to box cars and locomotives, the arrival of the train really changed the way of life.

Around Keystone, Montezuma is a near-ghost town that is still holding on. Ask about Gassy Thompson, a local miner who was more well-known for his incredible pranks on friends and foes alike. (The book to read is Sandburrs, part of Alfred Henry Lewis's classic Wolfville series.)

The Shaping of a Modern Resort

Now history takes a hundred year jump because it was not until November 21, 1970 that the ski area at Keystone opened under the supervision of Max and Edna Dercum. Their mission when opening the ski area was to keep it a family-oriented destination and a great place to learn.

As skiers and snowboarders explore the mountain, strange trail names are all around: Jackwacker, Paymaster, Ball Hooter, Jaye Bird and more. These are named after various mines, logging camps, towns or other historical items in the area's history.

To show appreciation during Founder's Day in 2003, Keystone Mountain was renamed "Dercum Mountain." Also, Bill Bergman was the first president of the Keystone Resort Corp, playing a large hand in developing the resort. "Little Bowl" was renamed in 2004 as "Bergman Bowl" in his honor.