It is rare to find white powder, a great ski school, and family friendly amenities all in one place, but Keystone, Colorado definitely has it. Parents can drop their kids off for skiing with their friends and hit the slopes on their own, or indulge in a spa treatment and a quiet meal together. There is really no reason not to go with so many airlines offering nonstop flights to Denver. You could be up on the mountain before dinner.
If you are looking to save a little cash, because let's face it, skiing is not a cheap family hobby, all kids ski free at Keystone if their family is staying two or more nights. No black out dates. Ever. Grab the kids, pack your bags, and see what this Colorado playground has to offer this season.
Where to stay
River Run Village and Mountain House are the two easiest areas to stay if you are traveling with kids. The last thing you want to do is have to haul all of your gear miles away or load up the kids in a car just to grab some food. There is a shuttle system that will bring you back and forth to ski school and the different lifts on the mountain, which does make it easier to explore the resort. Expedition Station has multi-bedroom condos with full kitchen and baths that are perfect for families to spread out in. It is also in the same building as many of the Kidtopia activities and across from the Dercum Square Ice Rink.
Camp Keystone is the only place your kids will want to be after their first day. Sign your kids up the first day and they are good to go every day after your arrival. Drop them off in the morning so you can get some quiet time on the slopes or take a lesson next door at the adult ski school. Adult instructors are happy to teach beginners or get intermediates more comfortable on the mountain and show them the best trails.
Not everyone is ready to strap on a pair of skis, which is when Keystone daycare comes in handy. Parents can rest easy when they drop their children off with the loving and understanding staff. Infants as young as two months old and children as old as six can hang out from 8:30am-4pm, seven days a week. Children are broken up into age groups where they can play with their peers, take naps, do crafts, and get a little energy out before dinner with mom and dad. The staff is available to answer any of your questions, you are welcome to check in on your kids, and the manager is ready to assure you even before you arrive. Bonus: the daycare can give you a list of babysitter referrals for nighttime outings at the top of the mountain for fondue (the elevation is too high for babies) or a date night to the local pub to watch the big game.
Off the slopes
Not everyone is always in the mood to ski, so why not try one of the other activities at the resort. Tubing (yes, it is on the slopes, but it is an activity the family can do together), climbing through the massive snow fort, firing a few clay creations, dog sledding, and ice skating are just a few of the activities Keystone has in store for families with kids of all ages. Kidtopia, the childrens programing on the mountain, offers regular entertainment that includes face painting, fort building, ice cream parties, and even fireworks.
Food is plentiful at the resort, if not always awe-inspiring, but the Sleigh Ride Dinner is a must for families with older kids who won't complain about the cold (children 5 and under shouldn't attend because of the late hour and cold temperatures). A trip up to Der Fondue Chessel is a fun night of cheese and meat for kids and parents. You don't have to wear your lederhosen, but no one will mind if you do.
Have you taken the whole family skiing? How was the experience?