A family ski trip to explore the snow-capped mountains of Colorado is an exciting adventure. But finding a one-stop resort to entertain adults and kids alike can be a daunting endeavor.
One answer comes from Keystone Resort, stretching across three mountains and offering one of the most kid-friendly locations above 9,000 feet.
We’ve compiled a top-10 list of activities the whole family can enjoy, from traditional snow play to educational undertakings.
1. The Ultimate Snow Fort
A main Keystone attraction for kids is the Ultimate Snow Fort on top of Dercum Mountain. Sculpted from snow and open 10:30am until dusk, the Fort offers kids a winter play place, with tunnels, ice slides, towers, a drawbridge and even a light-up snow dragon.
The Fort is at the center of Keystone’s new winter program called Kidtopia (. On select weekends throughout the season, it features fun activities such as face painting, crafts, dance music and glow stick parades.
2. Snowcat Ski with the Kids
For the adventurous skiers in the family, Keystone offers an additional thrill with daily snowcat rides up the mountain for some fresh powder action away from the groomed runs. Intermediate and expert skiers and boarders are hauled up an additional 400 feet from the top of the Outback Express from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily.
The terrain from the top is steep mountain backcountry, so there’s a safety talk before skiing begins. For the not-so-daredevil kids and adults, the snowcat program also offers scenic tours, moonlight rides and a children’s program.
The snowcat program costs $5 per person with the Adventure Passport given to families lodging at one of the Keystone properties. The Adventure Passport also includes discounts and free items for food and activities.
3. Tubing at Adventure Point
Skiing isn’t the only way to enjoy the snow. Keystone’s tubing hill offers other thrills. With five lanes of built-up snow walls and steep chutes, tubers can do individual slides, or group up to four inner tubes together to form a sliding blob. Before the plunge, the attendant will ask if the rider prefers to spin or slide straight, then sends the rider down for a thrill on the hill.
At the bottom, tubers step into a conveyor that carries riders and their tubes to the top with a comfortable and shielded ride from snow and wind.
The $29 per hour fee includes the ride from Keystone’s River Run Village to the top of the mountain on a scenic gondola ride. The tubing hill is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, from noon to 8 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
The Nordic Center also offers a mellower version of the tubing hill for families with younger children.
4. Get a Keystone Education
The Keystone Science School offers weekly programs and workshops throughout the winter to explore the mountain winter ecosystem. From snowshoe tours to Starquest (the stargazing program), kids can have so much fun, they may not even know they’re learning.
Regular pricing for Starquest is $20 for adults and $10 for kids, but with the Adventure Passport, Science School students will receive $5 off.
Learn about Keystone’s history and forest environment on the Ski With a Ranger Tour. Participants meet at the base of the River Run Gondola where the tour begins, taking the beginner Schoolmarm run.
Each family member should have a lift ticket. With the Keystone Adventure Passport, the activity is free.
5. NASTAR Family Racing
There’s nothing wrong with a little competition to spice up the day’s skiing or snowboarding. Family members can compete in Keystone’s NASTAR racing, going against the time of U.S. Olympian Daron Rahlves, those in their own age group or even fellow family members.
Registration is at the Flying Dutchman Race Arena, and discounts are available for Passport holders.
6. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Nothing brings families together like a common sweet tooth. Families can gather at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, near Lakeside Village, to see how delectable fudge and other chocolate delights are made. And, of course, they can taste the finished products.
This fudge fun is free with the Adventure Passport.
7. Snowbiking/SlopecyclingFor an exciting alternative way to glide down the mountain, families can try this summer-turned-winter sport of snowbiking. What looks like a mountain bike with skis makes for an easy-to-learn activity everyone can try.
Introductory lessons – free with the Passport – run Wednesday through Sunday at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. at Adventure Point. Lessons for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders are at 3 p.m.
8. Ice Skating and Hockey
Family members can trade their skis for skates and glide on the ice of Keystone Lake. Skaters can simply enjoy laps around the lake perimeter or join a pick-up hockey game with fellow skaters.
For those wanting to take a break, Lakeside Village offers shops, restaurants and bars where families can bond or parents can take a break.
Ice arena hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission and skate rental cost $11/$7 for adults, $9/$5 for students, $7/$4 for kids and $3/$3 for seniors and toddlers. With the Adventure Passport, admission and skates are free.
9. Nordic Ski LessonsLearn how to Nordic ski with private lessons at the Keystone Nordic Center. The lessons are designed for one child, ages 6 to 12, and one adult, but additional learners can take part for a small fee.
Lessons are available daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with advance reservations. Regular pricing is $60 for the kid/parent combination, but with the Passport lessons are half off and additional family members can learn for $15 each.
10. Paint a Memory
Families can reserve a time at the Adventure Center to preserve their Keystone memories. With painting supplies and instructions included, everyone can make a personalized souvenir of their visit.
Paint a Memory classes are on Thursdays at 2 p.m. for 1 ½ to two hours. Class size is two people minimum, 15 people maximum. Guests must be at least age 8, and the activity is free with the Adventure Passport ($5 regularly).
If You Go
P.O. Box 38
Keystone, Colorado 80435
800-354-4386 or 970-496-4386