Winter Family Vacation at Keystone Resort in Colorado

If you're looking for an excellent spot for your next winter family vacation we can highly recommend Keystone Resort in Colorado! Our family of 4 adults and 3 kids (6, 9, and 12) had a blast in Keystone Resort over spring break. Some of the reasons we highly recommend Keystone Resort include:

  • it's very kid friendly with lots of activities and fun things to do for kids and families
  • Skiing in Keystonekids under the age of 12 ski free when you book two or more nights of lodging at any of the Keystone Resort properties - a huge savings
  • the ski mountain is excellent with a good mix of runs for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers
  • you can choose from a wide variety of lodging options ranging from ski-in ski-out to huge beautiful mountain homes, cozy condos, and lots more
  • everything (ski lifts, good restaurants, bars, shops, parking, quaint shops and more) is very close together and the free shuttle makes it painless getting to and from lodging, the ski lifts, and the activities
  • the snow is usually very good, the ski runs are great, and the crowds aren't that bad
  • it's easy to get to and from Denver

Hard to beat all that!

Skiing at Keystone Resort

Since we're talking about a winter/spring vacation at Keystone lets start by talking about the ski mountain. During our March Spring break the winds were light and the temperature ranged from 38 to 45 and it was sunny most days and a little bit of new snow overnight - perfect for us fair weather skiers. Our typical ski day went like this: up by 7:30, fed and bundled up and out the door by 9:00 (amazing for a group of seven with 3 young kids), up the gondola by 9:30, ski hard on lots of different runs (green, blue, and black with some great moguls) then stop for a good on-the-mountain lunch, ski all afternoon and then head straight for the nearest Keystone Resort bar for drinks and appetizers. While the adults were eating and drinking the kids headed back out for some night skiing and when the kids skied until the slops closed, we went out for dinner. Shortly after walking in our front door we were all in the hot tub and finally went to bed dog tired but excited about another day of the same thing. The kids loved the night skiing - I don't know where they got all that energy. Each night we would watch fireworks launched from somewhere on the mountain - what a beautiful sight!

Keystone MountainRiver Run VillageSkiing

The snow base was a little low (48'' base) but that was true for all the Colorado ski areas - the good news is that all 328 ski runs were open. And how can you beat kids ski free - kids 12 and younger ski and ride free every day, all season long, with just two or more nights of lodging booked through the resort and there are no blackout dates, no hoops to jump through, and I'm not kidding. Plus they can ski free on the runs that are lit each night! Ski free leaves families free to spend extra money on activities, lodging, or restaurants. And the kids are pretty tired by the end of the day and ready to hit the sack with no complaints.

Keystone Resort Terrain ParkTucked away in the White River National Forest of the Rocky Mountains, Keystone Resort is the largest ski area in Summit County, Colorado. Spread across three peaks—Dercum Mountain, North Peak and the Outback — and the resort boasts more than 3,149 acres of skiable terrain. There is something for everyone from gentle groomers, rolling cruisers and steep bumps plus gladed terrain. In addition to five powder-filled bowls above the tree line and an award winning Terrain Park which is a 60-acre collection of boxes, rails, jumps and half pipes. And make sure that before you leave Keystone you test your skills by racing through the gates at Epic Mix Racing.

Skiing at Keystone ResortKeystone Resort is the perfect playground for all skier levels from beginners to rippers. 12% of the mountain is designed for beginners, 39% for intermediate skiers, and 49% of the mountain is black diamonds with a vertical drop is 3,128 feet. There are 348 skiable acres with 328 runs (the longest of which is 3.5 miles), 20 lifts, plus the terrain park and 288 acres for night skiing - which is a whole different fun experience! Snow machines cover 622 acres. To learn more about the runs at Keystone Resort, check out Andy's Ski and Ride Guide. His guide tells you something about every run, lift, rock and crannie - it doesn't matter if you ski, snowboard, monoski, or telemark. He rates each run from 1 to 100. He also rates the lifts, vertical feet, and the lift run times plus he provides lots of other good information like which runs are groomed and which ones have snowmaking capability. Here is his list of the top 5 best trails everyone should ski when coming to Keystone:

  • Beginner - Discovery, Scout, Silver Spoon, Schoolmarm, and Last Chance
  • Intermediate - Wild Irishman, Spring Dipper, Frenchman, Star Fire, and Porcupine
  • Advanced - Mine Shaft, Ambush, Wildfire, Badger, and Crap Game
  • Expert - The Grizz, Bullet, Victory Chutes, Black Rock, and Indy Face

Keystone Resort Ski SchoolDon't let not knowing how to ski stop you from a vacation to Keystone Resort - they are well known for their quality ski lessons and camps and within a half day you'll be zooming down the hill. They also are well respected for their kids ski programs. For a unique and fun experience rent a snow bike - easy to learn, not as hard on the knees and back, and lots less tiring. Keystone is home to over 1,000 acres of incredible hike-to-terrain with secret stashes and untouched tree runs for experts and if you don't want to hike, you can take a $10 snow cat ride that provides the same access to the back country.

You can even book a day of guided cat skiing to terrain in all five bowls! You'll be shuttled to the top of the 12,000 foot mountain in a snow cat and two guides will follow you down to the bottom of the back bowls with some of the best terrain and skiing through the trees with lots of powder. There are over 800 acres of out-of-reach snow and slopes varying from between 25 and 45 degrees. At the bottom, the snow cat is waiting to take you on another run! And you'll enjoy an on mountain gourmet lunch.

Keystone Resort Winter Activities

I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons we love and can highly recommend Keystone Resort for a winter vacation is because of all the other fun activities and things to do when you're not skiing. Here is just a few of the things that kids will enjoy and a lot of them can be enjoyed in the evening after a full day of skiing: :

  • Kids at Keystone Resorta five lane huge tubing hill
  • children's center and day care with a ski with a ranger program plus outstanding kid's ski schools
  • the worlds largest snow fort with slides, mazes, and plenty of photo ops
  • Kidtopia which includes free activities like fireworks, scavenger hunts, lots of daily kids programs, live music, face painting, fireside cocoa, coloring, critters discovery, tubing, and arts and crafts plus an adventure center with arcade games, hot coco, and beverages
  • scenic dinner horse drawn sleigh ride or gondola rides to the top of the mountain and back
  • ice skating rink with day and nighttime skating that's free if you have your own skates
  • hockey rink with hockey sticks and pucks

Keystone Resort kids fortSleigh ride at Keystone ResortIce skating at Keystone Resort

For adults there is lots to see and do in addition to skiing, listening to live music in the square, eating, and drinking, some of which includes:

  • the Nordic Center which offers cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and old fashioned tubing
  • a saloon, year round tennis center, fitness center, and spa - nothing beats a massage after skiing all day
  • family snow cat adventure
  • snowmobile rentals
  • unique shops and restaurants ranging from sports bars to gourmet dining to a fun mountain fondue dining experience on the top of the mountain

Snow Cat Adventure at Keystone ResortAs we get older we don't (can't is maybe a better word) ski seven days in a row from the time the lifts open until they close!. So on this trip to Keystone Resort we skied five days and left two days open for some other activities for all of us to enjoy. First up was a Snow Cat Family Adventure that was a blast that we all thoroughly enjoyed. Click on this link to read about our Snow Cat Family Adventure at Keystone.

Tubing at Keystone ResortIf you're in Keystone, you've got to try the snow tubing at Keystone Resort - old, young and everyone one in-between will love zooming down the mountain in a tube and then back up a moving carpet to the top to do it over and over again!. To learn more read our Snow Tubing at Keystone Resort.

One evening after the kids were done with night skiing, we piled in the car for a short drive to Dillion to check out the Ice Castles. Growing over 10,000 icicles a day, it takes 50 workers over 20,000 hours to create this huge ice castle with mazes, slides, tunnels, and more. What a fun and unique experience for all of us. Here is a link to our article on Ice Castles.

Keystone Resort Lodging

Lodging at Keystone ResortKeystone Resort has a wide variety of options for lodging ranging from one bedroom to six bedroom mountain homes, to condos, to lodges where you can walk to the gondola or to the village with shops, restaurants, activities, and nightlife. We stayed in a very upscale and well done condo with sweeping views of the mountains and several of the runs from our front porch - a perfect place to watch the fireworks lighting up the sky over the mountain. After skiing and other activies in the high altitude air, we were ready to soak the tired muscles in our hot tub and then waddle off to a very comfortable bed for a good nights sleep. All of which we could do in our 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, nicely appointed condo a few minutes from the River Run Village and the gondola to the top of the mountain. Because we booked our condo through Keystone Resort the kids skied free because all of them were under 12 - wow, we saved enough to spend on a couple dinners, some cocktails, and other activities.

When booking a reservation for lodging it's a little confusing because Keystone Resort consists of five different areas:

  • Keystone Resort River Run VillageRiver Run Village - is loaded with several lodging options, quaint shops, fun bars, good restaurants, a village center with music and lots of kids activities and walking distance to the River Run Gondola and the Summit Express to the top of the ski mountain
  • Conference Center and Lakeside Village - home to lodging, some shopping and restaurants, fitness center, tennis center, Keystone Lake and ice skating - you'll need to take the shuttle to get to any of the mountain base lifts
  • West Keystone - loaded with a variety of different lodging options including the Keystone Lodge & Spa and some of the golf course holes that play through West Keystone - shuttle service will take you to and from the lifts
  • East Keystone - home to several lodging options which are about a mile from River Run and the gondola
  • Mountain House - is at the bottom of three of the lifts and it's home to some walk to the lifts lodging, a couple different lodges, condominiums, and several dining options

Keystone Resort Dining

You're not going to go hungry during your Keystone Resort vacation. There are lots of options for dining ranging from fun sports bars to gourmet restaurants to dinner sleigh rides. There are several restaurants spread throughout Keystone Resort but our favorite spot was River Run Village with several restaurants at the base of the gondola that are perfect for a hearty breakfast before you head off for a day of skiing or great for a drink, appetizer, and dinner after skiing. To keep you fueled while you're skiing there are six full service restaurants with a variety of good food on the mountain that you ski to and from.

De Fondue ChesselFor one dinner we thought about the dinner sleigh ride but several people told us we would have a fun and lively dinner a Der Fondue Chessel. It was hard convincing the kids that they would enjoy the on mountain dining at La Fondue Chessel more than night skiing - but at the end of the dinner they said thanks and "wow, that was fun!" The La Fondue Chessel dining experience starts with a ride up the Summit Express gondola to the top of the mountain and short walk to La Fondue Chessel. And then you're in awe at the dining area, quickly seated and served by a friendly and attentive wait staff, entertained with some oomph music, and amazed with an excellent four course dinner. Read our article about our dining experience at La Fondue Chessel to learn why this was such a fun evening.

Bottom line - we've skied several slopes in California, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado and I think Keystone Resort is our favorite for a family skiing vacation because of the activities for kids and adults, the fact kids ski free, the variety of lodging and dining options, and the wide variety of fun runs for all ski levels! By the way, summers are also outstanding with golf, hiking, biking, river rafting, fishing, scenic mountain top rides, and lots more. So call now and book a reservation.

Our thanks to Keystone Resort for the high quality photos.

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