Face of Keystone Mountain to be renamed
KEYSTONE – When resort founder Max Dercum drives by Keystone from his home on Montezuma Road, the 90-year-old industry pioneer will soon be seeing a mountain named in his honor.
The official announcement of Dercum Mountain will be made Nov. 21, the 33rd anniversary of the ski area. Nov. 21 will be Founders Day.
According to Roger McCarthy, chief operating officer of Keystone and Breckenridge resorts, the front peak of the resort, known as Keystone Mountain on ski maps, will be renamed Dercum Mountain.
North Peak, the Outback and the true Keystone Mountain that rises to 12,408 feet will keep their names.
“Keystone Resort wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Max’s vision,” McCarthy said. “There is a rich history and tradition of winter sports in Colorado that Max is a huge part of. It is important for Keystone Resort to always stay connected to our heritage, and this is one way of ensuring that we never forget where we came from. Max fought for years to make Keystone a reality. By making this change today it reflects to a small degree the way we feel about Max’s contribution to Keystone.”
“I suppose I should be real proud of that,” Dercum said. “I’m honored by it.”
Dercum came to Summit County in 1942 with his wife Edna and their infant son Rolf with the dream of building a ski resort. The family purchased the old “Black Ranch” that in the late 1800s served as a stagecoach stop and transfer point for miners bringing ore down from the mines near Montezuma. Ore was transferred to wagons headed for the town of Keystone where the narrow gauge railroad started.
The couple transformed the dilapidated structures into the Ski Tip Ranch, one of the first ski lodges in Colorado.
In 1946, Max joined a group of investors to create Arapahoe Basin with a chairlift and reclaimed mining cable he hauled from Monarch Pass. He then turned his attention to Keystone Mountain.
Dercum spent years hiking the frontside slopes of his mountain, planning out runs and working to obtain permits from the U.S. Forest Service. In 1967, he formed Ski Valley USA to develop the ski area.
“Max amazes me with his knowledge of the terrain,” McCarthy said. “Trail layout in his day was done the hard way – all of it on foot. I’m positive he still knows every nook and cranny on these three mountains.”
Dercum struggled to find funding for the resort until 1969 when Iowa attorney Bill Bergman became interested in the project. The two formed Keystone International Inc., and the ski area opened to the public Nov. 21, 1970.
Dercum, who has been skiing since 1917, served as director of the ski school from 1970 to 1975, and, on the senior circuit, was inducted into the NASTAR Hall of Fame and won the world giant slalom championship for men over 60. In 1980, Max and Edna were inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.
The couple own a home surrounded by aspen trees between Keystone and Montezuma and continue to play a role in the community.
Recently, Keystone Resort began consulting with the Dercums to ensure that future plans stay true to his original vision.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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