When choosing a family ski destination, many factors should be considered, including how to entertain every member of the family, even if they don’t ski or ride. With lots to do on and off the mountain, one Traveling Mom sums up why family-oriented Keystone Resort is sure to please everyone and every budget, day and night.
While living in Colorado, we had the privilege of visiting a few different ski resorts one year, including Winter Park and Powderhorn. By far, our favorite was the last one we visited near the end of ski season: Keystone Resort. Now that we live in Florida, we hope flying back standby sometime this season will be possible. If we can make it, Keystone will be first on our list of places to hit the powder. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Keystone Lodge and Spa
Keystone has thought of everything to make your stay memorable, starting with the moment you check in. My daughter, Reagan, had a hard time choosing from an assortment of treasures like sunglasses, silly bands, and stickers from the treasure chest at the front desk.
And, I was pleasantly surprised with the gourmet cookies handed out with my room key. Luckily, I’m the only cookie monster in the family and didn’t have to share.
Our cozy room had fantastic views of the mountains and a deck to enjoy them from. Every room at this lakeside Lodge has a view. In fact, many overlook the famous, five-acre Keystone Lake, which is the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor skating rink in North America.
Make sure to leave time to stroll through Lakeside Village at the base of the lodge. Rent some skates at the Adventure Center next to the rink which also has a full bar inside. Enjoy happy hour at Tenderfoot Lounge and dinner at the Bighorn Steakhouse.
One of the bonuses of staying at Keystone Lodge is the courtesy ski storage at the resort. Their free shuttle runs on demand and drops you off in River Run Village right next to the River Run Gondola. At the end of your day, simply store your skis or snowboard at the valet ski storage next to the gondola and they will call the shuttle to pick you up and bring you back to the Lodge.
Typically, the shuttle was already there when we checked our boards and we were back in our room within 10 minutes and ready to hit the Lodge hot tub, heated pool, steam room and sauna. Yep, we used them all.
Wow. Where do I start? Keystone’s Kidtopia continues to redefine the family resort experience with free activities and events on and off the snow every day of the week.
Build your own snowman, attend an ice cream birthday party with Ripperoo. Catch a movie matinee, paint a canvas or piece of pottery and have your face painted at Kidtopia headquarters. March in the village parade, go disco tubing and catch Saturday parade and fireworks.
In addition, the mountain top snow fort, complete with a maze is open all winter for kids to explore. It’s easy to see why Kids rule at Keystone.
3. Adventure Point
Conveniently located in the middle of the action at the top of Dercum Mountain and next to the snow fort is one of Colorado’s best tubing spots. Compared to other tubing hills we’ve been to, Adventure Point was in a class all its own.
Scheduled tubing times keep the numbers small, which means more trips down the hill and no wait lines at the magic carpet up the hill. And the staff made our experience even more of a blast as they had fun along with us. The music is jamming whether you’re tubing day or night with Disco tubing every Thursday night!
At Adventure Point, you can also rent Sno-Hawgs, Airboards, and Snowbikes and create your own adventure.
4. Family and Beginning Skier-Friendly
Loved the new 8-passenger, downloading River Run Gondola to the top of Dercum Mountain where we could spend all day with our little beginning skier and never have to board a ski lift. It was nice to have the snow fort nearby for diversionary breaks when she needed them and the Summit House to relax at with some hot chocolate and for lunch. There is also the Discovery Learning Area at the base of Mountain House where Camp Keystone is located.
Keystone’s Ski and Ride School has so many options for adults and kids. Reagan really benefitted from Keystone’s full day Ultimate 4 lesson, a semi-private group with no more than four guests and one pro. We followed up her lesson with a 1-hour private lesson called Mom, Dad and Me which allowed us to review what she had learned with her instructor and build on it the next day and going forward – so beneficial for us as snowboarders who never learned to ski.
For those who like to live on the edge, the A-51 Terrain Park, named one of the best in North America, has an area just for beginners to learn how to ride the rails, jibs, the pipe and more.
5. Unique Experiences
Keystone is most famous for having one of Colorado’s longest ski days with night skiing. The lights come on at dusk and remain on as late as 8pm depending on the date. I tried this for the first time and while it is beautiful to see, it is very challenging to ride. Worth trying for the experience, and just to say you did it.
You’ll also want to try the scenic gondola ride all the way to North Peak. You’ll board two separate gondolas to make the trip and if you go at night you can have dinner at The Outpost, home to Alpenglow Stube, the highest AAA Four-Diamond dining experience in North America or Der Fondue Chessel, a fun fondue experience for the whole family.
Looking for an old-fashioned sleigh ride dinner? They have that too.
No more fumbling with your camera, get your photo taken by a professional at designated areas on the mountain! The photographer will scan your lift ticket or season pass and your photos will be instantly available online for you to view later at EpicMix.com.
From there you can purchase them for download or share for free on Facebook and Twitter. EpicMix also records your time on the mountain, vertical feet and rewards you with special pins, which can all be shared on your social networks. I am so hooked on this. What a way to remember every season and special memories with your family!