One our 6 month road trip we were lucky enough to ski at three different mountains in Colorado with the kids. While each one had its own charm and beauty, Keystone Resort became a favorite for their focus on family friendly activities, amenities & fun! I equate Keystone Resort to the Disney World of ski resorts! Their focus on kids is unparalleled and their instructors happen to be the most energetic! There is so much to do there for kids in addition to skiing, making it the perfect winter vacation for families.
So, why exactly is Keystone the most family friendly ski resort out there? Let me break it down for you:
- Kidtopia Ice Castle & Tubing
- Ski School & Instructors
- Keystone Activities, including Kidtopia Headquarters
- River Run Village
- Kids ski free
1. Kidtopia Snow Fort
Yes, you heard me correctly. Keystone Resort has a fort that is completely made out of snow, and it is impressive!!! While skiing or snowboarding is the main reason you come to a ski resort, lets face it, your kids will not want to ski every day, especially the little ones. Keystone is not short of supplying alternative activities, but I think my favorite was this Snow Fort, which felt like a Snow Castle to my Elsa loving daughter! It is fully equipped with ramps to climb, slides to fly down and incredible views.
Located at the top of the Gondola ride at Dercum Mountain Summit, admission to this massive play structure is included with your child’s lift ticket. We liked to stop here after we picked the kids up from ski school to give them time to run around and play. They had a blast for about one hour before we took them back down to the base for some hot tub time.
My recommendations: Your kids will want to run around and slide, so best not to have their ski boots on. When we picked up the kids from ski school, we would take their ski boots off and put on their more flexible snow boots so they would be more comfortable playing in the Snow Fort.
2. Keystone Ski School & Instructors
I don’t know where Keystone pulls their instructors from, but man are they amazing! A ski instructor can make or break the experience for your kids. You want someone patient, knowledgeable and fun – and these guys check all these boxes! They have so much energy – I honestly don’t know where they get it from! I got to peek in on the ski school when they were looking and I heard them encouraging the kids, giving high fives and making them laugh. They even bring it off the slopes. At the dance party one evening, they were up there, front and center, dancing and singing and getting the kids pumped up.
I know it might seem like this is how a ski instructor should be, but we have run into some that we were less than impressed with. At another resort, the instructor that was with my son ALL DAY didn’t even know his name when I picked him up. At a different resort, my daughter was fed only french fries for lunch because she can’t have dairy (they never let me know they wouldn’t have something for her)! How is that okay when she had been skiing all morning, and the instructor never said anything? Honestly, blew my mind. At Keystone, I never had anything to worry about, and that was huge peace of mind for this mama. My kids loved coming here, I knew they were having fun, and they were incredibly accommodating to Emmie’s food needs to make sure she had a great lunch each day.
What I also loved about Keystone is when I picked the kids up from ski school, they took the time to tell me about my child’s day and progress. Not just a quick one liner, but really taking the time to let me know where they skied, what they worked on, and what my child needs to work on to keep improving. I really appreciated their focus and time on my kids.
At the end of the season, I asked Emmie who was her favorite instructor and she said Rich from Keystone. He introduced her to the “whoopie whoops” (little bumps they can jump on the slide of the run) which was Emmie’s favorite thing about skiing!
3. Keystone Kid Activities
Keystone offers a plethora of activities for kids to do at this resort besides skiing, which is important! In addition to ice skating and snow tubing, they have an indoor play place called Kidtopia Headquarters. In my opinion, this is one of their greatest assets that separates them from other ski resorts. Young kids can’t ski all day, nor do most want to be out in the snow all day. Kidtopia Headquarters is a great spot indoors with lots of kids toys and activities to do. They have face painting, foosball, arts & crafts, books, and even a little area for the tiny toddlers to play at. Since you can’t travel with a ton of toys for your kids, this is a great reprieve and play space to take them too that is located right in the Village.
The other dynamic that sets Keystone apart from other resorts is their activities schedule for kids. There is always several activities going on during the day, and our kids loved partaking in them. Be sure to grab an activity schedule once you arrive as they offer so much and the schedule changes daily. From Fireside Cocoa & Coloring to Family Game Night, you and your kids will be sure find ways to stay busy off the slopes! They even offer a Super Snowy Science class!
In addition to the weekly activities, Keystone even steps it up a notch on the weekends. Every Friday they throw a Wacky Tacky Party that includes dance music, party games, prizes, crafts and a fantastic face painter. On Saturday, there is Ripperoo’s Village Parade through River Run Village in the afternoon and if your kids can make it until 7pm on Saturday night you are in for a treat – a fireworks show!
As if all of THAT wasn’t enough, there are three times during the Ski Season that Keystone kicks it up a notch for kids with their signature event series. They have a Holiday Spectacular which lasts about a month from late November to Christmas Eve, A Culinary Festival week in February and a Musical Experience Week in March. We were lucky enough to go during the Musical Festival, so my daughter got to see Go Noodle preform all of their famous songs, which was so much fun! Dancing in the street, singing “We are going to a cat party”, while warm chocolate chip cookies were passed out and smiles were as wide as can be! Epic night!
4. River Run Village
River Run Village is the main commercial area at the base of Keystone Mountain. It has shops, ski rentals, restaurants, grocery stores and even a playground. What I LOVE about this spot for kids is no cars allowed! It is a village square with a large walking path between the stores so you can safely walk around with kids. We were able to sit outside at the restaurant and let the kids play around the area without having to worry about them going into a road. And this is a huge deal if your like us, and just want to sit and sip on your beer at the end of a day of skiing.
River Run Village is also where they host a lot of their festivals, activities and parties. It is a great village and if you can stay close to it, definitely do so!
5. Kids Ski Free
You heard me right! Every day, all season long kids 12 and younger ski for free at Keystone with no blackout dates when you book two or more nights in one of Keystone’s lodging accommodation options. At many resorts, kids ski passes for a day are around $100 or more, so this is a huge savings if you take your kids out on the slopes more than once. If you decide to send them to ski school, you will need to pay for their lessons, but if you just want to take them out on the mountain with you, their lift ticket is free!
There are so many more reasons why we love Keystone, but these top 5 stick out to us as ways Keystone sets itself apart as the premier family ski town. With incredible instructors, an actual snow fort, daily activities, dance parties and fireworks, it is clear Keystone puts the focus on families… which is why we LOVE it!