Keystone isn’t just a first-rate ski area with more than 120 runs across 3,087 acres—it’s truly an all-in-one winter resort destination. Its expansive boundaries include a variety of terrain, which means that there are slopes ideal for every level of skier or rider, from gentle learning areas to steeps accessed only by hiking or Snowcat. With more lighted trails than any other resort in Colorado, it’s possible to watch the sun go down over the Rockies from the slopes and experience skiing by moonlight.
It’s also one of the most family-friendly resorts you’ll find, with tons of activities and perks just for kids, but enough to keep even the biggest thrillseeker happy, too. Here are a few reasons why.
What makes Keystone great for families?
Free lift tickets for kids
That’s right – free. Book a two-night stay at any of the lodging options at the resort and receive free lift tickets for children 12 years and younger. You’ll also get lift tickets for night skiing the day you arrive, a pass for free ice skating, and more! You can even get this deal during weekends and holidays, but lodging fills up fast.
Secondly, Keystone runs a winter-long paradise for young visitors, aptly named Kidtopia. It’s a lineup of free, kid-oriented events and activities every day of the week, including educational adventures, parades, ice cream parties, snowball launches, tubing, and face painting. There are also free (warm!) cookies passed out at 4 p.m. daily in River Run Village and a massive snow fort to explore at the top of Dercum Mountain.
Skiing scavenger hunts
With wide green runs like Schoolmarm and lots of tree trails with fun jumps and tunnels, family fun on the mountain is a sure thing. When you thought it couldn’t get better, add an element of mystery with a scavenger hunt. Pick up a scavenger stamp book and hint map in the morning and collect stamps throughout the resort. Families that collect them all (in a day or over the whole season) will get a prize.
Pretty much every restaurant in Keystone puts extra special consideration into its kid’s menu, but a handful of haunts bring a dining experience that will go down among your family’s most cherished memories. The Ski Tip Lodge, for example, offers a three-course menu just for younger palates, and dessert served in front of a roaring fireplace is always a big hit.
There are also dinners that start with a night-time journey. Cozy up under a blanket as you glide through the snow in a horse-drawn sleigh on your way to Keystone’s back ranch for a warm and rustic dinner, or take the gondola up the mountain to the top of North Peak, where you’ll be rewarded with a pot of melted cheese at Der Fondue Chessel(save some room for chocolate, too!).
Ice skating and tubing
Keystone is home to not one, but two, tubing hills and ice skating rinks. For tubing, dog mascot Ripperoo visits the Keystone Nordic Center tubing hill every Thursday afternoon for a free hour of tubing, where sliding is done the old-fashion way – walking up the hill with your tube in tow.
There’s also a state-of-the-art tubing hill at Adventure Point where you’ll take a covered conveyor belt to the top. There are six lanes to choose from for the ride down, and you’ll get up to speeds of 30 mph on the 200-yard stretch.
The main hub for ice skating is at Dercum Square in River Run Village, where the rink spans 7,200 square feet and has a live DJ every Saturday afternoon. Ice rink access is free and skate rentals are discounted for children 12 years and younger. (This is also the place to be at 4 p.m. every day for free chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.)
The other option for ice skating is on Keystone Lake. The vast, five-acre lake is the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor skating rink in North America.
What makes Keystone great for everyone?
Challenging terrain and park
Sure, Keystone is a hub for families, but let’s not forget that more than half of its ski terrain is rated advanced or expert. There is no question that the place throws one challenge after another for skiers and riders seeking a thrill, whether it’s the narrow glades of The Windows or hiking to the upper bowls. There’s also the 60-acre A51 Terrain Park, split into four zones separated by skill level (beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert). The area has more than 100 features and is served by its own chairlift.
Keystone is one of the only resorts in Colorado to offer cat skiing tours for seasoned (high intermediate to advanced) skiers and riders. This day of powder bliss includes making fresh turns at 12,000 feet in Independence, Bergman, and Erickson Bowls’ nearly untracked terrain that is otherwise only accessible by a long hike. The day tour also includes powder ski demos and a gourmet lunch.
One-stop vacation experience
Families aren’t the only visitors that love the fact that Keystone has everything you could possibly want or need for your winter getaway within arms reach. Once you arrive, everything—skiing, tubing, groceries, restaurants, spas, hot tubs, bars, live music venues—is just a short walk away.
Award-winning fine dining
Besides frequenting the aforementioned Ski Tip Lodge and Der Fondue Chessel, foodies flock from far and wide to the sumptuous and comforting meals at Keystone Ranch, a steakhouse that has received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and has been deemed a Distinguished Restaurant of North America. Also at the top of North Peak sits Alpenglow Stube, North America’s highest AAA Four-Diamond-rated restaurant serving up seasonally fresh offerings from duck confit to apple-toasted warm brie.
Whether you want to kick back and relax, pack in a weekend of adrenaline-fueled adventure, or make memories with your family to last a lifetime, come to Keystone Resort. You won’t be disappointed.
Featured image provided by © Vail Resorts