On family vacations, the whole family gets to play. Everyone gets to join in on the fun. Often, experiences, places and activities are being enjoyed together for the very first time collectively. It creates this sort of level playing field within the family not necessarily experienced at home. The family vacation is fertile ground for creating stronger family bonds, connections, memories and experiences.
Refusing to let go of the ideal that play is solely for kids, I am happy to call Keystone Resort in Colorado more than simply my place of employment, but home. On a daily basis I’m surrounded by the laughter, joy and excitement of countless numbers of families creating their own memories. It’s fitting then, that we proudly refer to Keystone Resort as the Mountain of Youth, a playground where kids of all ages (even the adult kind) can discover the magic of playing in the mountains and where grownups like me discover that deep down, we’re still kids too.
At Keystone, kids have no age limit. No matter your age, you too can play. We not only believe that play is the root of all good, but we believe play is for everyone. So go ahead, feel free to bend some rules. I’ll leave jumping on the bed up to you, but if you’re ready to let your kid flag fly at Keystone, here’s how to do so:
Use Your Outdoor Voice
And shout from the mountaintops while you’re at it. Located just 75 miles west of Denver, Keystone Resort is home to more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain including three distinct peaks, five above-tree-line bowls, night skiing and an in-bounds cat skiing program. Skiing and snowboarding are one of the few sports that the entire family can enjoy together, no need to simply cheer from the sidelines. Imagine the stories your family will tell after standing atop Keystone at 11,640-feet elevation, more than two miles above sea level, with the landscape of the Rocky Mountains dotting the horizon as far as the eye can see before you ski down Keystone’s dedicated Family Ski Trail together, a 3.5-mile easy trail that meanders down the entire mountain.
Take Turns, and Lots of ‘Em
Keystone is the largest ski resort in Summit County, Colorado. More than 125 trails await, including gentle groomed runs, steep bump runs, gladed terrain, powder-filled bowls and an award-winning terrain park. Additionally, Keystone offers the longest ski day in all of Colorado. Families can enjoy the star-filled sky as they ski and snowboard on Keystone’s multiple lighted trails. Open until 8 p.m. the majority of the season, Keystone’s night skiing is a unique option found at very few Colorado resorts and allows for more time on the slopes.
Kids Ski Free, No Takebacks
Every day, all season long, kids 12 and younger ski for free at Keystone with no blackout dates. Simply book two or more nights in one of Keystone’s numerous lodging accommodation options, which span from affordable hotel rooms to family-sized condominiums. More than 100,000 free kids’ lift tickets have been provided since the inception of the program in 2012. And if your kids don’t thank you, your wallet surely will.
Take Your Coat off and Play Awhile
Your time spent indoors may be minimal, but you do not need to sacrifice comfort. No matter the size of your family or budget, the options of Keystone’s accommodations are welcoming. Keystone Resort offers two on-site hotel properties and a variety of condos and townhomes, from studio to multi-bedroom properties. Plus, all condos and townhomes are equipped with kitchens and most have access to a washer and dryer, hot tubs and pools. What’s more, with any length stay, everyone on your reservation will receive free night skiing lift tickets and free ice skating admission and discounted ice skate rentals, among other freebies, perfectly designed to let you play more.
It’s All Fun and Games. Period.
Don’t let the Kidtopia moniker fool you, as kids of all ages are invited. Keystone’s Kidtopia features free activities and events on and off the snow each day of the week for the entire season. The family-friendly lineup includes activities such as a village parade and fireworks, snowball launches, ice cream parties and meeting Keystone’s Ski Patrol rescue dogs. And new for the 2017-2018 season, the Kidtopia Signature Event Series will feature multi-day events with additional activities and family fun.
The Kidtopia Spectacular, Dec. 15-24, marks the first signature event of the winter and kicks off the holiday season with a bounce house party, a mountaintop celebration and lighting ceremony of the world’s largest snow fort. The first-ever Kidtopia Culinary Festival debuts for the 2017-2018 winter, Feb. 9-17, with a savory lineup tailored to the youngest of foodies with cooking demonstrations, chocolate fountains, bakery tours, dessert specials and a celebrity chef event. The Kidtopia Music Experience, March 2-10, is the last of the signature event series and kicks-off the spring skiing and snowboarding season with music-themed fun including rock ‘n’ roll themed parties and the Snow Pants Dance Party, featuring live outdoor music performances from popular kid-friendly acts.
Learn Your Lesson the Easy Way
Go ahead, get back to school. While it’s more like a day-long recess while playing on a mountain, Keystone’s Ski & Ride School has offerings for kids, adults, beginners and experts. Whether you’re just learning to ski or snowboard, practicing new skills, or looking to go on a guided mountain adventure, the professional instructors will help you achieve your goals and fully enjoy your Keystone experience. If you have young ones, be sure to check out Camp Keystone, a facility specially designed for kids that even has a slide that whisks kids from the indoors to the snow outdoors. If you and your brood wish to stay together, enroll in Keystone’s Family Private Lesson where instructors specialize in working with the whole family. Taking advantage of shared on-snow time, bonding is just an added bonus to these specially designed lessons which will have your family developing new skills together, regardless if you are new to the sport or season snow veterans.
Spoil Your Appetite
While Keystone offers the ultimate family destination, parents, and younger ones with discerning taste, will be pleased to find that the resort is home to several top-rated restaurants. These signature Keystone dining experiences are perfect for a parent’s night out, or a full family affair.
High atop Keystone’s North Peak and accessed by two gondola rides are the Alpenglow Stube, providing fine dining at 11,444-feet and the highest AAA Four-Diamond rated dining experience in North America, and Der Fondue Chessel, offering an authentic fondue experience in a true family-friendly environment.
Down in the cozy villages of Keystone, elevated dining experiences await as well. The Ski Tip Lodge, originally an 1800s stagecoach stop and once home to Keystone’s founders, is now a cozy bed and breakfast featuring a dinner restaurant that has been voted one of the best in America by OpenTable. The Keystone Ranch, another AAA Four-Diamond rated restaurant located in an original 1930s ranch homestead that previously served as both a working ranch and home to some of the area’s first settlers, offers a genuine Colorado steakhouse with historic charm, in an extraordinary setting.
Ride the Little Red Wagon of Life
Hop in. At Keystone, complimentary red wagons can be found throughout the resort to assist with families toting gear, and excited kids, to and from the slopes. Additionally, free parking, including designated family parking spots, greet guests around the resort. If you are a family, be sure to take advantage of the family only line at Keystone’s River Run Gondola. These small, yet convenient touches make the ride that much smoother.
Color Outside the Lift Lines
Keystone is a true winter wonderland. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, you can enjoy a variety of additional adventures as an entire family. With Keystone’s enclosed River Run Gondola, mountaintop adventures like family snowcat tours, snow tubing and fondue dinners are accessible to the whole family regardless of skiing ability. Take in the sights of the Continental Divide on Keystone’s snowcat tour, zip down eight lanes of high-speed tubing action, or cap off an evening with an interactive dinner at Der Fondue Chessel. Be sure to check out Keystone’s scenic or sleigh ride dinners, where you and your family will enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride to historic homestead-era log cabins form the 1800s.
Play for Keeps
Or, play for fun. However you choose to play at Keystone, you can ensure it’ll elicit laughter, bonding and memories forever. But don’t simply take my word for it, come and experience the Mountain of Youth for yourself.
For more information and to book your trip, visit Keystone Resort.