Want to know what there is to do in Keystone CO besides ski and snowboard? There's so much! Whether you're looking for things to do along with or instead of skiing, there's much fun to be had with things to do in Keystone CO.
Things to do in Keystone CO off the Slopes
If you're scoping out a ski vacation, you're probably making your list of things to do when you're not skiing or snowboarding. If you're like me (not anything close to being a ski bunny), you're really interested in those extra things to do at a ski resort. This was our first family ski vacation and I didn't know what to expect.
My nine-year-old son and I recently had the opportunity to spend some time at beautiful Keystone Resort. Keystone Resort is located near Dillion Colorado, a charming mountain town in the Rocky Mountains. Breckenridge and Vail are not far away. Visitors coming from outside the local area can fly in to Denver airport. The resort is serviced by Epic Mountain Express shuttle service.
Although I had to practically remove my son from the slopes by force each day, thanks to ski school lessons, we did fully enjoy all the non-skiing things the resort has to offer. Wondering about things to do in Keystone CO off the slopes? I've got you covered with this list of awesome things to do.
1. Der Fondue Chessel
Der Fondue Chessel is the ultimate après–ski dining experience. You'll ride not one but two gondolas to reach an elevation of over 11,000 feet. A Bavarian-inspired feast awaits you at Der Fondue Chessel, which is a four-course immersive food experience, complete with entertainment. If your family enjoys The Melting Pot, you'll like Der Fondue Chessel. It's a similar concept, but Der Fondue Chessel is an elevated, luxury experience. Elevated in a literal sense (11,000+ feet is no joke) and elevated in a meal quality sense.
You'll begin with a salad, followed by a cheese course. You'll then enjoy a a main fondue course. My favorite (of course!) is the delicious chocolate course.
You'll want to make reservations to eat here and I'll warn ya: this one can get pricey. The basic adult dinner is $78 per person and the basic kid portion is $39. But it's worth the splurge. In my opinion, what really makes Der Fondue Chessel exceptional are the available add-ons. You can add on premium enhancers to your cheese course, such as pesto or truffle oil. Premium proteins such as cold water lobster or elk can be added to your meat course.
The”don't miss” add on is the chocolate flambe. It's like having your very own indoor marshmallow roast and I have to tell y'all, I loved it as much as my son did.
2. Sleigh Ride Dinner
I say this is a don't miss experience at Keystone Resort. I recommend booking it as soon as you know you're going. We did this on our last night at the resort. It was a great way to cap off our trip.
You'll meet at the Adventure Center a half hour before your reservation time for check in. Then you'll take a shuttle bus to meet your sleigh team. For a Texas girl like me, dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh was a serious bucket list thrill. Full disclosure: there are actually two horses pulling your sleigh, but it doesn't go with the whole Jingle Bells vibe I had going on.
You'll take a 10-minute drive across the snow (blankets are provided) to a remote homestead for a three-course meal and live bluegrass music entertainment. We had homemade beef and barley stew with fresh biscuits for an appetizer and apple pie with ice cream for dessert. You'll have some choices for entrees, which you'll need to make when you pre-order. Water and hot chocolate were on the table and there are other beverages available for purchase – AKA a full bar. We were offered a complimentary shot of peppermint schnapps to warm us up, which I thought was a fun touch, although the inside cabin was very warm and cozy. You do have to go out into the cold to use the restroom facilities, though.
The Sleigh Ride Dinner is a definite must do. Since it's managed through Keystone Stables jointly with Keystone Resort, I recommend you double and triple check your reservation to make sure you have all the details square. We had a mix-up with our time, which wasn't a huge deal since it was later than we'd been told. But if it would have been the other way around, that would have been bad, since the meals are prepaid.
TravelingMom Tip: For more dining options at Keystone Ski Resort, check out this page. You will definitely not go hungry. There's a wide range of food options and pricing, but in general, the food at Keystone Resort isn't what I would consider bargain priced. You will likely have kitchen facilities in your condo and there are nearby places to get groceries and snacks. This will help fill in the gaps between those premium dining experiences that I really think are don't miss. And, it's totally OK to list eating among my favorite things to do in Keystone CO, right?
3. Snow Tubing
Snow tubing is so much more my speed than skiing or snowboarding. You get the same sort of “flying through the snow” sensation but you're much lower to the ground. Being a 5'10, 53-year-old first-time skier is a little terrifying. Not having as far to fall is a little less stressful, but keeps a lot of the thrill. If you're looking for things to do in Keystone CO as a family that non-skiers will like, check out snow tubing.
Snow tubing starts at $30. Reservations are highly recommended. And since Keystone Resort offers night skiing, guess what that means? You can also snow tube at night under the lights. How fun is that?
TravelingMom Tip: New to ski resort life and not sure what to pack? Our ski trip packing list has all the info you need.
4. Ice Skating
If you're looking for something to do on a non-ski day, try ice skating. Keystone Ski Resort offers two different ice skating venues. The first and the largest (and, in my opinion, the best) is on Keystone Lake, right off the lobby of the main lodge. We stayed in the Argentinia Condos and we had a lovely view of Keystone Lake and the ice skaters. We saw a lot of grace and talent and a lot of wipe outs as well. It was all good.
You can also ice skate at Dercum Square, located in the River Run Village, where you're going to find most of your shopping and premium dining.
Skate rentals at both locations are $15 for adults, with reduced rates for kids and seniors. The Keystone Lake location also offers private ice skating lessons and hockey stick rentals.
Which location you choose is a matter of personal preference and will probably be driven by the location of your lodging. Keystone Resort is vast – it's very much like a small town. There are buses and shuttles to get you from one place to the next and you also have the option to drive your car. That said, unless you're getting lessons, you'll probably want to skate near to where you are staying.
I would personally choose the Keystone Lake location. I think it's prettier and more scenic. You also have the nearby Adventure Center if you want to duck inside to warm up or even enjoy a hot drink.
5. Ride the Gondolas
We found riding in the gondolas and ski lifts to be an activity in itself, even though we primarily used them as transportation. You don't have to be skiing or snowboarding to enjoy the mountain, but you do have to have a lift ticket to ride the gondolas.
The lift tickets are cards that you'll want to store in a designated jacket pocket. My son's ski parka had a special pocket designed just for this purpose. The lift lines are fully automated at Keystone Resort and they're very efficient. We loved the feeling of sailing into the trees and it was a lot of fun to watch the skiers in the ski area below.
6. Kidtopia Kids Programs
There are no shortage for things for kids to do in Keystone CO. In addition to ski school and the other winter sports activities your kids can get involved in, there is Kidtopia. Whether it's crafts, face painting, movies, meeting the rescue dog or learning the science behind snow, you'll be able to find something at Kidtopia that appeals to your kids. And let's be real: a lot of this will appeal to you, too. There's a little bit of kid in all of us and Kidtopia is a great place to indulge that.
And did I mention the world's largest snow fort? For southerners who don't get a chance to see this kind of magic every day, the snow fort really was something to take in. Check out the website in advance of your visit to see the current list of activities.
They're offer nightly fireworks seasonally (November through March – make sure you check the schedule). I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the fireworks, so make sure you don't miss them.
7. Mountaintop Family Adventure
If you want to experience the mountain in a different way than on skis or a snowboard, try the Mountaintop Family Adventure. You'll have amazing views of the Erickson and Bergman Bowls atop Keystone and get to ride in a snow cat vehicle.
This experience starts at $48 per person and we recommend advance reservations.
8. Snow Biking
If you're thinking snow biking is some of fat tire biking, you would be wrong. Snow biking isn't actually biking. It's probably more like skiing than biking. The best way to describe snow biking is a bike seat atop a bike-like apparatus with blades instead of wheels.
It's a little funny looking but that's part of the draw. Rates start at $40 and lessons are required. After an initial lesson, you can rent a snow bike and whiz down the slopes.
We did see several people riding fat tire bikes throughout the resort, but snow biking is completely its own thing.
Retail therapy is my love language and the shops in River Run on the Keystone Resort property don't disappoint. They are mostly centered around ski gear and Keystone souvenirs, but there's a TON of variety. As a San Antonio resident, I don't have much use for ski or cold weather gear, but I had a blast looking at all the cute ski and après–ski apparel.
If you want to venture a little further out, there's more shopping in the surrounding area. There are outlet malls at Silverthorne, which is about eight miles from the resort. If you're looking for something besides ski and cold-weather gear (although they have both in abundance) or if you just want a little bit of time to power shop, this is your place. You'll need to have a car for this one, or take a taxi or ride share.
10. Spa Experiences
Skiing makes your muscles sore, especially if you're a first timer. Even if you don't ski, a spa day is never a bad idea. I didn't get to experience a spa treatment at Keystone Resort, although our shuttle driver, Andy, gave it rave reviews. Our visit was relatively short and we had a busy schedule, but if I would have had another day, I would have put my son in an extra ski school session and gone for it.
The spa at Keystone offers various massage options, facial and body treatments, nail and waxing services and more. They even have a kids spa menu that has fun options, such as a chocolate mousse facial or candy cane pedicure. If you're staying a week and want to give your kiddo a special treat off the slopes, these kid treatments are very reasonably priced.
11. Fitness and Yoga
If you don't think winter sports offer enough opportunity to get your exercise in, Keystone Resort offers Studio K, a yoga and fitness studio. There are a variety of yoga and barre classes and differing intensities – you can check out the class descriptions here.
A drop in class will run you $20 which is about standard for fitness classes in most areas. However, you do get a free class if you book your lodging through the resort, which is a great benefit of staying on site. A gentle yoga class might help ease those kinks out after a day on the slopes. Or, if you're me, a day of falling down.
12. Explore the Resort
I've highlighted a lot of things to do in Keystone CO that don't involve skiing so if you've read this far, you know you won't lack for things to do off the slopes. You'll also find seasonal activities (the lobby display at Christmas time was gorgeous) and lots of opportunities to take pictures to commemorate your vacation (and make the folks at home jealous – ha!).
Since the resort is so vast – it feels more like a town than a resort – I recommend you take your arrival day or even another full day on top of that to acclimate yourself to the resort and to figure out how to get around. Keystone Resort offers a complimentary transportation system – a combination of free buses and on-call shuttles – that will meet your transportation needs, but the system isn't intuitive. Depending on where you're staying, you may need to take more than one shuttle to get where you're going. We were very frustrated with the limitations of the transportation system on our first day. Once we'd been there a couple of days and knew what to expect and knew our way around, it was a lot easier.
If it is your first visit, I recommend combining exploring the resort with getting a feel for the transportation system. This will make sure you're in good shape for the rest of your planned activities. I find I enjoy myself so much more in an new location once I have my bearings.
We loved hanging out in the Adventure Center located just behind Keystone Lodge. If you ice skate on Keystone Lake or do one of the Sleigh Ride Dinners, this is where you'll check in. The Adventure Center has a bar and tables and offers a really fun, cozy atmosphere. My son and I spent some quiet time in here playing a board game while we waited for an activity. He remembers it as one of the best moments of the trip. This goes to show you never know when and where you're going to find those moments when you're traveling and that they might not be what you expect them to be.
13. Visiting in summer?
Here are things to do in Keystone CO that don't involve winter weather or snow!
No snow? No problem. A lot of these winter activities are either available in summer or have a summer parallel. There's ice paddle boarding and other water craft activities instead of ice skating. There's a wagon ride dinner instead of the sleigh ride dinner. And of course, there's golf, horseback riding and mountain biking. Read here for more info on summer activities.
Want to explore beyond Keystone? Here's a list of family friendly Colorado ski resorts.