Kidventurous is happy to take part in the third annual Back to Ski Week, which includes fantastic tips on planning a family ski vacation.
Today, we hear from Keryn Means of Walking On Travels on why a visit to Keystone Resort in Colorado is perfect for families. Kidventurous was compensated for writing this post; all opinions are the author’s. Now let’s chat about some winter fun.
The Best Family Ski Destination
Parents who love to ski know it can be tricky to find a mountain that satisfies all ages in their families. Those with babies need a reliable daycare while toddlers and grade school kids need a ski school that’s both fun and safe. Tweens and teens want to hang out with their peers and not be talked down to by instructors. They also want a photogenic mountain to show off on and cool rental equipment.
Keystone Resort in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains has all of this and more. This is the best family ski destination because you can call it home and the staff will be your family. Not convinced? Here are ten reasons why you will want to head to Keystone this winter.
1. Camp Keystone. Ski school is one of the most important things to look at when researching the best family ski destination. You are there to enjoy the snow safely and that means either teaching your children a new sport or advancing their existing skills. Camp Keystone welcomes kids with open arms for fun on the slopes and play with their peers.
This world-class ski school goes out of its way to make kids feel cared for and teach them the mountain skills they need. Kids who are booked for three or more days at Camp Keystone can be placed with the same counselor every day, giving them a familiar face to greet them each morning at drop off and making it easier to get into a routine and build trust on the mountain. The experienced counselors are used to working with kids of all ages and personalities.
2. Daycare. If the daycare center at Keystone was in my hometown I would have my kids there every day. The staff loves and cares about the kids whether they have them for four hours on one day or eight hours per day for an entire week. Parents can feel safe leaving their children and no one minds if you pop in from the cold or call to check on your little ones from time to time. They know it is hard for you to leave your kids with new people.
3. Adult Ski and Ride School Staff. Whether you are a beginner or advanced skier you will find an instructor at Keystone who pushes you just a little outside of your comfort zone with the goal of having you cruise down the mountain with confidence. Best of all, there are lifts just for beginners where no one will come shredding past you and there are no trees on the lesson slope.
4. Snow Tubing for Everyone. Snow tubing at Keystone’s Adventure Point puts the “A” in adrenaline, especially on cold and slippery days. Big kids will get a rush on the steep chutes while smaller children can play on the tiny tube run at the top. Better yet, bring your babies and toddlers to the Nordic Center to tube down the gentle slopes. It may not be for adrenaline junkies, but it is the perfect pace for children just beginning to discover the magic of snow.
5. Snow Fort. Keystone does not mess around when it comes to snow forts; in fact, you may need to set a timer to get your kids out of this snow-mazium. The resort claims its snow forts are the largest in the world and the shape and theme change annually. Located on top of Dercum Mountain next to the tubing hill the fort is free and open to the public every day.
6. Kidtopia. The staff at Keystone knows that kids get tired and families want to have fun together off the slopes. That’s why the resort’s Kidtopia program has a packed schedule seven days a week. Face painting, fort building and ice cream with Ripperoo (the mountain mascot) are just a few of the incredible activities you and your kids can enjoy. Many of the activities are free or have a nominal fee, so you can stick to your budget while still maximizing the fun.
7. Ice Skating. The fun doesn’t stop at the bottom of the mountain. Multiple ice skating rinks are set up around the resort for families to enjoy together, day and night. Grab a few free cookies to keep your strength up as you try that triple axle you just know you will land this year. Don’t make it? Falling is all part of the fun.
8. School Yard. As a parent, it is hard to think of bringing your new-to-skiing toddler out onto a mountain. You might worry that he will be run over or the other skiers will intimidate her. The “School Yard” was set up as a family ski trail where little ones can ski with confidence, try out a few new skills and not get knocked over by advanced skiers and boarders. It is also a great place for families to learn and grow together.
9. Even the Food is Fun. To say that this mountain resort knows its way around a chocolate pot would be an understatement. Their world-renowned pastry chef is a master chocolatier and creates edible masterpieces including an enormous chocolate village that is displayed during the holidays.
If you dream of a trip to the Swiss Alps, but you just can’t make it there this year, head up the mountain to Keystone’s fondue restaurant, Der Fondue Chessel for an unforgettable night of hot cheese and polka music. Or enchant your children with a sleigh ride that will bring you through the backcountry to a beautiful cabin for an authentic homestead dinner filled with steak, chicken, mashed potatoes and pie.
10. Fireworks. Every Saturday night the sky over the snow fort is illuminated. Take in the view from the base of the mountain or while skating on the rink near Keystone Lodge. It is a magical way to end your evening, especially if you snuggle up with mugs of hot cocoa.
Photo Credits: Keryn Means (snowy mountain, ski school), Vail Resorts (snow tubing, ice skating, fireworks)