Ski Scoop

It’s true that Keystone Resort is a sponsor of the Back to Ski website and this post and that they also hosted my family on a complimentary ski trip there. But my enthusiasm for Keystone as a family skiing destination comes independent of any sponsorship.

Keystone Resort founder statue

A statue of Max Dercum, the founder of Keystone Resort, greets guests as they arrive.

I love the vibe at this resort. The enthusiasm of the people who ski and work there, the numerous families out to have a good time, even the smiling statue of the resort’s founder at the bottom of the main gondola all point to the fact that Keystone Resort believes (as I do) that every family should hit the slopes because skiing is just a whole lot of fun.

And happily, that genuine skiing enthusiasm also comes with a very modern set of amenities. Let’s take a look at what makes Keystone the perfect place for a family ski vacation.

Kids ski free at Keystone Resort. Probably the number one reason Keystone is tops for families is the fact that kids ski free with no blackout dates or restrictions.

Taking advantage of this deal is simple: Families need to stay at the resort for at least two days in either one of the hotels or the numerous convenient condominiums. There’s no limit to the number of children and, since the deal isn’t tied to any adult lift ticket purchases, the grownups can ski or not as they choose (this might be a good moment to point out that Keystone also offers a full-service spa).

Keystone has a huge range of accommodations of various sizes, location, and cost. There are two village areas, one of them right next to the lifts, and even private homes that sleep up to fourteen people. Use their online reservation system to book your trip and you won’t have to buy lift tickets for your kids.

All that Rocky Mountain terrain. With 3 mountains, about 2300 vertical feet, and 3000 acres Keystone Resort offers tons of great terrain for every level of skier or snowboarder. As an East Coast skier used to waiting in lift lines, I loved the long trails that let me air out my legs for what seemed like hours (Schoolmarm, the longest, stretches for three and a half miles). The huge A51 Terrain Park has features for every level of freestyler – kids can easily spend the whole day there.

You can ski in or out of the trees, on bumps or long stretches of groomed trails. If bowl skiing is your thing, Keystone offers access to a variety of them via snowcat. Keystone Resort is also one of the few ski areas in Colorado to offer night skiing including at the terrain park. 

Ski instructor Keystone

The ski instructors at Keystone Resort are friendly and professional.

The friendly and professional ski school staff. The Keystone Ski and Ride School offers lots of options from private to group lessons for all ages and ability levels. Every member of my family worked with a different teacher, and all of us had great experiences. I especially appreciated the fact that although both of my sons were signed up for group lessons, they got plenty of individual attention from their instructors.

When we visited, my six-year-old son was struggling a bit with the altitude and his asthma. His teacher kept a close eye on him and checked in with me via my cell phone both days at lunchtime to let me know how he was feeling. My nine-year-old son had more ambition than ability, but his teacher encouraged and challenged him, taking him on all three mountains and even helping him ski a black diamond trail, which thrilled him no end.

At the end of each day I got a detailed written report about where the boys had skied and what skills they had worked on. The boys had a great time and didn’t want to say good-bye to the teachers when we left. 

Dinner Keystone Ranch

Dining at a dude ranch is just one of the fun things to do at Keystone.

Keystone has lots for kids to do on and off the mountain. My kids don’t usually get tired of skiing, but even they enjoyed all the fun on offer at Keystone. The snow tubing hill offers loads of sliding fun, with three speedy tracks, a carpet lift, and some rocking tunes playing over the loudspeaker. Nearby kids can play in a giant snow fort whose shape and design changes every year. Snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and ice skating at two different rinks are other fun outdoor activities on offer at the resort.

Keystone also offers daily programming for kids through its Kidtopia program. Activities vary throughout the season but always include s’mores by the fire pit and a weekly parade with Ripperoo, Keystone’s furry mascot that ends with a family-friendly party at the ice rink (when we were there I got to watch my six-year-old dance the Macarena).

There are numerous restaurants at Keystone offering a variety of different kinds of dining experiences. These can be a big part of your family fun from dancing the Chicken Dance at Der Fondue Chessel to riding a sleigh to a dude ranch for dinner and some cowboy songs.

It’s easy to get there – and to get around. You might think that the fact that Keystone is two hours from the Denver International Airport might make it a challenge to get to, but that’s not the case. The Colorado Mountain Express Shuttle leaves right from the baggage claim area, offers affordable tickets, has free wi-fi on board, and friendly, courteous drivers who can offer you tips and information about the resort and the surrounding area.

Once you’re at Keystone Resort, you don’t need a car to get around. Free shuttles run regularly to every part of the resort, there are numerous onsite restaurants, and even a small grocery store where you can pick up the basics you need to make breakfasts and lunches in your condo or hotel room.

If all of this sounds good to you, I’ve got some great news. During the week of September 16th to the 20th Keystone Resort is giving away a 2-night stay for a family of four. The prize includes lift tickets, rental equipment, and a family lesson. To enter, visit the Back to Ski Facebook page and click on the Giveaway tab.

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