Keystone Resort is the clear front runner when it comes to a family ski destination, and I feel so lucky we got to experience their focus on families first hand! With incredible ski instructors, a legit snow fort and an endless amount of family activities, its easy to see why this place attracts families from all over. From an authentic horse drawn sleigh ride to a idyllic cabin for dinner to an amazing dance party at the base of the mountain, we lived it up for a weekend in Keystone, Colorado!
When: A weekend in March, during their Musical Experience week
Where: Keystone Ski Resort
Lodging: River Run Condominiums
Weather: Varies, but it was spring skiing for us when we were there!
Wear: (see My Favorite Ski Gear)
Ages: My son was 3 and my daughter was 6 years old
- Arrive and Check-In
- Kidtopia Headquarters – Face painting and arts & crafts
- Kidtopia Music Experience – Snow Pants Dance Party with Go Noodle
- Dinner at 9280 Tap House in River Run Village
- Emmie and Easton went to Ski School while we skied
- Played at the Snow Fort after Ski School
- Hot Tub Time
- Ordered Pizza in our room
- Private Family Ski Lesson
- Sleigh Ride Dinner
- Check Out
Lodging: River Run Condominiums
For our weekend away, we stayed in a two bedroom unit at the River Run Condominiums. Our location was impeccable and the unit is well designed for families. I love having a kitchen, a living room with a fireplace, and TWO bedrooms so they kids could finally have their own space, even if it was just for a few nights! Eating out all of time can get expensive, so it is nice to have a fully functioning kitchen if you want to cook a meal or two in your own space.
Located about a 5 minute walk to the base of the Gondola and a 5 minute walk to River Run Village, you cannot beat the location. We were so close to skiing, ski school, rentals and restaurants that we rarely got in our car! With skiing and kids, location is KEY! It is the worst to have to transport their gear far or bundle them up and squeeze them into their car seats. Even though we had a short walk, Keystone thought of families (as they always do) and had little red wagons available around the accommodations and village so you can pull their gear (or them) back and forth!
The condos also have a pool and a hot tub with gorgeous mountain views, which is key to unwinding at the end of a long ski day. We loved our stay here and highly recommend them.
If you want to teach your kids how to feel comfortable on the slopes, this is your place! We had a wonderful experience with our ski lessons at Keystone Resort, and our kids improved ten-fold over any other lesson they have received prior. This was actually the second out of three ski resorts on our 6 month road trip we visited, and by far my favorite ski instructors.
For the first day, our kids went to ski school so Mike and I could hit the slopes. It was an easy check-in process even with the crowds, and we were able to hit the slopes without delay to enjoy our time to ourselves. Emmie has a dairy sensitive so I am always concerned on how accommodating a place will be (believe it or not one place only fed her fries for lunch rather than find her something else!), but Keystone was fully prepared, she had a complete meal and we didn’t have to do anything differently. From the get go, the instructors here were upbeat, friendly and took the time to learn my kids names. I left knowing the would be in good hands! When we picked them up, we were greeted by the kids with happy smiles and received a full and detailed report from the instructors. Emmie said her instructor was her favorite, teaching her how to do little jumps on the sides of the slopes. Honestly, I was thoroughly impressed with every part of the ski school process, and I haven’t found better instructors on any of the mountains we have skied!
The second day we decided to do a family lesson to get some one on one time with the kids. If you want to dramatically improve your kids skills, a private lesson is the way to go! While the ski school here was fantastic, nothing compares to the one on one time they receive. Our instructor was incredible – patient, fun & great with kids. He started the morning off really focusing on Easton, letting him get a lot of runs in to better his position and control. By the end of the morning, he had way more control than the entire trip combined, and was able to stop on his own. After lunch, Easton was done so I took him back to the room so Emmie could have her one on one time with the Instructor. They hit the slopes all afternoon with Mike, taking her to a terrain park, through the kids forest and down some blue runs for the first time. Having that time improved her confidence and skills dramatically. If you can swing it, I definitely recommend a private lesson as your kids will improve much more than traditional ski school!
Your ski instructors can make or break your kids skiing experience. You want someone encouraging, fun, patient and upbeat to help them when they get tired, keep them going and make the experience fun. All of the instructors we encountered at Keystone fit this bill, which is why this is my favorite resort for kids!
Keystone offers an incredible amount of activities for kids besides skiing, and one of our favorites was the Snow Fort at the top of the Decrum Mountain. This place was amazing – slides, climbing, tunnels and views for days. Our kids spent about an hour here playing “king of the castle” before we decided to head in for some warm hot chocolate. You can take the gondola to the summit just to play on the fort or take a break from your skiing during the day to climb around. Playing on the snow fort is free, you just need a pass to ride the gondola (your day ski pass works).
A word of advice: bring your kids snow boots. They will not have fun climbing this awesome snow fort in uncomfortable ski boots. We let the kids play one afternoon after we picked them up from ski school. I brought their ski boots in my backpack and just changed them out when they were ready to play.
If you have had enough of the snow, you can head on inside to Kidtopia Headquarters, which is like a fun little indoor play spot for kids. We spent about an hour and a half here one afternoon. Emmie and Easton made tambourines, got their faces painted, played foosball, stacked some blocks and just had some fun exploring all their toys. It is free, and a great reprieve from the outside.
Kidtopia Music Festival
If you can swing coming during one of their planned festival weeks, I highly recommend it. They even add more kid friendly activities and events for your little ones to enjoy. We hit the jackpot when we were there last year during their Music Experience as the guys from Koo Koo Kangaroo on Go Noodle did an entire performance in River Run Village. I don’t know about your kids, but my daughter is obsessed with Go Noodle and knew all of their songs, so this was a *highlight* for her! I don’t think I had seen her jump around, dance and smile like that like in a long time!
The Keystone crew went all out too, passing out warm cookies for the kids, dancing and singing with the kids and handing out foam guitars for them to play with. We even got to meet the Koo Koo Kangaroo guys after and get our picture with them, which made me just about the coolest mom their was. It was an incredible experience for Emmie and I. Its not everyday you get a music festival centered around kids – and this one does it right!
Eating our way around Keystone
There are lots of great restaurants, coffee shops and sweet stores around Keystone Resort and in River Run Village (I fell victim to the cookie shop on more than one occasion)!
We ate dinner at the 9280 Tap House in River Run Village on our first night. It is a relaxed restaurant/pub with a good location and great pub food. It is loud, which makes it a great environment for kids. The kids loved their hot chocolates, I love my beer and nachos, and Mike devoured his tacos.
On the mountain, there are lots of great restaurants to grab a bite in between your runs. We ended up eating at The Outpost without the kids. I loved this spot as it had views for days, yummy food and a live DJ. And bonus, it wasn’t very crowded.
No dining experience on our entire 6 month road trip compares to the Dinner Sleigh Ride we enjoyed at Keystone Resort. Imagine being cozied up in blankets with a white mountain backdrop while getting pulled in a traditional red sleigh by beautiful horses to an isolated cabin where you are serenaded by guitar while having a delicious dinner by the fire. Yeah – its even better than it sounds. It was so incredible, it needed its post so you can read about our Sleigh Ride here.
Tips & What we would do differently
So, what we would do differently next time?
- We would stay longer, at least another 2 days. There is SO MUCH to do with kids at Keystone that you can’t possibly get it done in just one weekend. I would recommend between 5 – 7 days here. We were only able to experience a handful of what this resort has to offer because of our time constraint. Next time, I would like to include the snow tubing, ice skating, the fireworks show, more of the planned activities for kids (like Cocoa & Coloring or Family Game Night) and another day on the slopes.
- I would not schedule a the Dinner Sleigh Ride after a day of lessons. We had to cut our lesson short by an hour to make it home to get ready, and I felt like we missed some valuable lesson time and we were rushed. I would do the Dinner Sleigh Ride on a day where we just ski (no lessons) or one where we play around town.
Any tips for your planning?
- ABSOLUTELY plan for the Dinner Sleigh Ride. Highlight of our 6 month road trip and memories I will never forget!
- Break up the days your kids ski. If you are there 5 days and your skiing for three, I would recommend breaking them up so you have “play days” in between. Your kids will like a break from lessons and it will give them time to rest before another long day out. Go tubing, ice skating, play at Kidtopia Headquarters or on the ice fort for you “play days”.
- If you can, stay as close to the base of the mountain as possible. When you have kids and a lot of gear, the closer the better!