Keystone Resort in Colorado might just have the best family vacation deals, programs and family-centric offerings available in the ski industry. How do I know? We invited to check out their family-friendly amenities last month and I’m so glad that this was the first place my daughter ever frolicked in snow that wasn’t man-made. Here is why:
1. Kids Ski Free At Keystone Resort
Did you hear that? Kids rule here at this winter wonderland of fun in the snow. Between gear, airfare, travel and hotel expensive the costs of skiing are worth it but can add up. Lift tickets for kids aren’t something you have to worry about at Keystone resort with kids ages 12 and under and two nights of booked lodging. There are no blackout dates or fine print which is rare in the ski industry.
2. There’s A Family Ski Trail
So, I admit to spending a decent amount of time getting my ski legs used to being on sticks again (it had been almost 20 years) versus a snowboard. I LOVED not worrying about fast skiers or snowboarders whizzing by or cutting me off. There was none of that. All I saw were easy-paced people of all ages enjoying the fresh powder together. I loved it. It’s called Schoolyard and very well-marked so you don’t lose your way.
3. Kids LOVE Camp Keystone
Do your kids cringe at the very mention of ski school? Mine used to. Camp Keystone is where kids ages 3 and older learn how to ski, however, there’s snacks, coloring, an indoor play area and other snow activities to give tired legs a break. Plus, any child booking three or more days of ski school is guaranteed to have the same instructor on each day, giving kids the opportunity to find comfort in a familiar face.
My daughter swore up and down that she would hate ski school. The second after we arrived, she saw all of the kid-friendly offerings and got fitted in gear, she couldn’t care less when we picked her up. They even ate Subway sandwiches for lunch, her favorite. Learn more tips for getting kids excited for skiing.
4. Kidtopia’s Ready, Paint, Fire And More
My daughter’s eyes lit up the second we walked into Kidtopia headquarters with all of its paint, ceramic and kid-fun glory. She painted a mermaid on a canvas and went to town painting ceramics which were fired and ready for pick up the next day. It’s a spectacular way to break from the cold.
Kidtopia events run daily and include everything from face painting to DJs to cookie hour. On Saturdays, Ripperoo’s Village Parade marches from the River Run Ski School to the Dercum Square.
5. Ice Skating
Just outside Kidtopia Headquarters in River Run Village awaits Dercum Square Ice Skating Rink. Though there’s a 5-acre Lakeside Village Rink which is the largest samboni-maintained outdoor ice skating rink in North America.
Despite the evening snow, we laced up and flailed around the rink (I was the only member of the family who had ever been on ice skates), laughing the entire time. Kids can push an orange street cone around to keep balanced. It’s a genius idea.
6. Winter Snow Tubing
Venture up to the highest tubing hill in the world at 11,640 feet! Zoom down one of seven lanes and there’s even a dedicated children’s tubing hill for kids less than 42″ tall. I regret that we didn’t have time to do this because I heard it was epic from a number of sources. Next time.
7. The World’s Largest Snow Fort
Kidtopia fort located at the top of Dercum Mountain (pictured above) is awesome. Kids can run through and play in the massive ice sculpture. Apparently, it’s the largest snow fort in the world!
8. Not A Skier? That’s OK!
Take the River Run Gondola up to the top of Dercum Mountain for hot chocolate and spectacular photo opps. Honestly, I wish I would have roamed the mountain with my good camera because I was too paranoid about dropping my iPhone in the snow. Book a scenic sleigh ride or just chill at the spa. There is a lot to do when not on skis!
9. Condo Convenience
We were hosted at The Timbers, a luxury condo complex with ski in and out capabilities, a fully stocked kitchen, great WiFi, TVs in each bedroom and the living room, a balcony and more. Keystone Resort has over 800 condos to choose from based on your family’s needs. The benefits to condos are endless on ski vacations where kids get tired and hungry.
Yes, there were people using the jacuzzi in the snow as well as the indoor/outdoor pool!
10. Lots Within Walking Distance
Each day, we’d walk about 5 minutes or so into River Run Village where a number of convenience stores, ski rental places, family-friendly restaurants and more entertainment await. Fill your fridge with goodies from the market and anything you forgot to pack. But, if you don’t feel like walking, there are shuttles to take. And, there are 150 red wagons scattered throughout the resort for guests to use at leisure to transport tired kids and their gear.
Tips For Visiting Keystone
We took an early morning flight from San Diego to Denver which realistically could have put us on the slopes by about 2:00pm. I was tempted to go for it to maximize time on the slopes. I’m glad we didn’t. The altitude at Keystone is no joke so do drink tons of water, wear sunscreen, keep Advil handy (if it suits you) and give the kids a little time to acclimate. There is plenty to do! For a kid who has never seen this much snow, an hour just pushing it around our condo balcony at The Timbers was so much fun.
Getting To Keystone Resort
We took the Colorado Mountain Express from Denver International Airport to Keystone. The van was full, but all passengers were en route to Keystone so no major additional time was added. The actual drive time was 1 hour and 45 minutes including one midway Starbucks bathroom break. On the way out, conditions were good. However, it was snowing during our return and our ride took nearly 4 hours. Colorado Mountain Express anticipates the drive time in advance, based on weather, and will call you to adjust your departure time accordingly. I’ve taken them a number of times in the past to Beaver Creek and will say that I’ve never had a disappointing experience.
Have you been to Keystone Resort? Where does your family normally ski?
*Thanks to Keystone Resort for hosting our lift tickets, Camp Keystone and lodging! Top, ice fort, and Ripperoo parade photos are used courtesy of Keystone Resort