A Colorado Family Ski Haven
While Vail and Aspen have a serious reputation for exclusivity and upscale slopes with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to be spoiled by in OC, don’t discount this family-friendly Colorado option just a 90 minute transfer from Denver. Plenty of bucket list experiences are tucked away in these snowy peaks, you just have to know where to look.
Scenic Gondola Ride to Der Fondue Chessel or Alpenglow Stube
Keystone is the only Colorado ski resort with two high-speed gondolas. The first takes skiers and boarders to the top of Dercum Mountain and the second to North Peak and the Outpost- home to the Alpenglow Stube and Der Fondue Chessel. Even non-swooshers can enjoy the views and heady heights as they head to gourmet eats at the highest AAA Four-Diamond restaurant in America, topping off at 11,444 feet. The unique, secluded setting is wonderfully romantic, but you can also opt for the interactive fun of cozying up with the family around a fondue pot. (Non-skiing kids ride free after 4pm during night skiing.)
Sunset to Night Skiing
Keystone’s snow can be so good, you might not want to stop. Not a problem at this resort that boasts the longest ski day in Colorado. Swish down as the sun sets and go back up for another few runs under the stars before gliding in to a hopping après ski. Many mountains don’t offer any lighted trails, this mountain’s wide open trails are perfect for moonlit nights and enjoying the solitude of an evening run.
A51, Terrain for Days
Keystone Resort has one of America’s best terrain parks, boasting 60 acres with over 100 features and a park specific lift. The park is famous for its unique features and has been honored with numerous awards, including #2 Terrain Park by TransWorld Magazine and #3 Terrain Park by Freeskier Magazine. If you are new to tricks, the area is broken into six parks of varying ability levels so you can ease your way into the gnarly jumps and rails. (Or, just sit and watch through your gaps in your finger-covered eyes, like us.)
Bubble Under the Snow
A wealth of accommodations await, ready to be tailored to your family’s size and needs. One perk of booking with a Keystone Resort pro (www.keystoneresort.com) is their knowledge of which spots are easy access to ski schools or offer shuttles, but more importantly, which properties boast outdoor hot tubs and heated pools to soak away the rigors of a day on the slope, or simply sip a glass of vino as the snow gently falls.
Keystone Family Adventure Tours
This unforgettable experience ups the ante on skiing the trails less traveled, as your family is whisked away to stunning mountaintop vistas via an enclosed, heated snowcat. This comfortable ride will take you and your family more than 12,000 feet in Keystone’s Erickson and Bergman bowls, where panoramic views await along with backcountry ripe for making tracks.
Night Tubing at Adventure Point
Tubing during the day is fun. Flying down the mountain under the stars brings it to a whole other level. This multi-lane hill, with lift for more laps per hour, is impressively long. With a side area meant for younger kids, go ahead and challenge your partner to a race.
Family Private Lesson
Whether your family is new to skiing and snowboarding, or you’re seasoned snow veterans sometimes the best way to develop new skills, improve technique, or explore the mountain is by bringing in the pros. You and up to 5 additional family members or friends will enjoy personalized instruction, with pros who specialized in working with the whole family.
Kidtopia Snow Fort
Take the gondola up to the top of Dercum Mountain and enjoy the largest snowfort in the world. This massive frozen creation features slides, mazes, (and plenty of spot to shoot the kids for your Instagram). Warm up with a cocoa before the scenic gondola ride back to earth.
Keystone has fantastic ski school programs for young kids through early teens, but if your kids feel too “old” for ski school and aren’t quite ready to wander off on a strange mountain solo, arrange a small group lesson for a more social experience. The smaller group can be adjusted to like abilities and help tailor a day on the slopes to the best experience for fun and learning. (Also available as female only, with a woman coach.)
Keystone Lodge Spa Suite Surrender
Stick the kiddos in ski school and escape to this 10,000sq ft spa for a couples massage (add pure oxygen to revive your focus and alleviate any altitude issues) followed by a romantic bath in a two-person infinity edge tub. This experience also includes champagne and a chocolate treat from Keystone’s famous chocolatier, Executive Pastry Chef Ned Archibald.
Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride Dinner
For a unique night of dining, Keystone Resort offers a western experience via a dinner sleigh ride through the Soda Creek Valley to a remote homestead. Pro wranglers tuck passengers on to a sleigh pulled by teams of Belgian and Percheron draft horses (don’t worry, you’ll cozy up under the provided wool blankets). Learn about the horses and the local history of the mining days, and on clear star-filled nights, the local constellations. For a surcharge, the sleigh ride and dinner experience can be private.
After a 20-30 minute glide over the snow, you’ll arrive at an 1800’s homestead-era log cabin nestled between the snow covered caps of the surrounding mountains. A roaring fire and the rustic charm of the past awaits, with fresh stew, homemade biscuits, and rich hot chocolate (spiked with peppermint liquor if you like, along with a full bar). A guitar-playing cowboy provides entertainment for the evening, taking requests. After a steak or local salmon dinner with Dutch apple pie and homemade vanilla ice cream chaser, you’ll be escorted back to your sleigh and begin the journey back under the stars.