Known as one of Colorado’s premier family ski destinations, Keystone ski resort delivers a big mountain ski experience the whole family can enjoy.
Keystone Resort in Colorado is a great destination for a family ski trip. It boasts a signature Kidtopia program, as well as a package that allows kids 12 and under to ski and ride for free when two or more nights of lodging are booked through the resort. (Plus, the young – and young at heart – will go gaga when they see the world’s largest snow fort.) But that doesn’t mean advanced skiers should snub Keystone. With five bowls above the treeline, a cat skiing program and 3,148 acres on three peaks, this resort is able to cater to all skill levels.
Keystone Resort sees about 235 inches of snow annually, with snowmaking covering about 662 acres. There are 20 lifts at Keystone, including two gondolas, accessing 128 trails. The longest of these is the 3.5 mile, family-friendly Schoolmarm on Dercum Mountain, the closest mountain to the resort. At 11,640 feet, Dercum also holds the award-winning A51 terrain park – 60 acres of boxes, jumps and rails. Behind Dercum Mountain is the 11,660-foot North Peak, with runs designed for intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. The Outback, at 11,980 feet, is known for tree skiing and its two bowls. An alternative way to get to the bowls is a $10, cash-only shuttle on the Outback’s snowcat. Night skiing is offered at Keystone, as well as multi-lane tubing, snow biking, ice skating and snowcat tours.
Keystone offers private and group lessons to kids and adults, as well as family lessons. Ski and snowboard rentals are available at multiple locations throughout the resort. Keystone is an Epic Pass destination, and special packages are available when you book through the resort. There are a number of ski-in/ski-out hotel options, and Keystone also has several on-mountain dining options.
The ski season at Keystone Resort typically starts the first weekend of November and ends at the beginning of April, with February generally being the best month for snow. Because of its close proximity to Denver, Keystone can be packed on holidays and weekends.
Tickets purchased seven days in advance are far cheaper than on the day of arrival, so to save money, consider purchasing tickets online or by calling 970-423-7118. Tickets are also available for purchase at the A-Basin Ski Area.
Nineteen percent of Keystone Resort’s runs are designed for beginners, while 32 percent are labeled as intermediate, and 49 percent advanced/expert. According to Russell Carlton, the ski area’s communications manager, these are the best Keystone Resort trails for each skill level.
For beginners, go to Schoolmarm, a 3.5 mile trail that is iconic to Keystone. With sweeping views, the trail overlooks Lake Dillon and is also Keystone’s family ski trail, a place where kids have the space and comfort to go their own speed. Be sure to check it out during Keystone’s night skiing as well!
Intermediate skiers will find plenty of options at Keystone, with Last Alamo on North Peak being a great trail to up the challenge. If you need a break, be sure to stop at Labonte’s Smokehouse BBQ at the base of North Peak for the best on-mountain barbecue.
For experienced and expert skiers and riders, The Outback offers a variety of great tree runs. Head to Wolverine for expert glade runs and hidden powder stashes.
There are lodging options to suit most budgets at Keystone, many within walking distance of the lifts. The Keystone Lodge and Spa has a private shuttle to the gondola, offers indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and all rooms have views to the mountains and the Snake River. Hyatt Place Keystone , near the Mountain House Base Area, has rooms and suites with private bedrooms, a shuttle service and an outdoor hot tub. The River Run Townhomes are a good option for larger families and groups, across the street from River Run Village. The three to four-room townhomes have large living areas with fireplaces and multiple balconies, close to dining and shopping.
From pizza and tacos to fine dining, Keystone has a growing food scene that caters to most appetites. The award-winning Ski Tip Lodge has a weekly rotating four-course menu in a former 1800s stagecoach station, offering dishes like pan-seared New Zealand venison, English pea risotto and cashew crusted ruby red trout. Housed in a 1930s homestead, the Keystone Ranch gives diners serves up duck confit or bison tartare in a cozy setting. For steak and seafood or a late night martini, try the Snake River Saloon and Steakhouse, which offers shrimp cocktails, escargot or smoked rainbow trout, followed by Filet Oscar or pan-fried Canadian walleye.
Keystone has plenty of spots for après-ski drinks and bites, starting at 9280′ Taphouse, which has a daily happy hour with brews and craft cocktails, as well as mountain-sized nachos in the village. The Ski Tip Lodge also has happy hour specials by their fireplace where guests can relax with a glass of wine and appetizers like short rib potstickers and a winter charcuterie plate. Just off the Keystone Lodge & Spa, the Bighorn Bistro and Bar has live music along with craft cocktails, wine and beer, and bar snacks.
Travelers can fly into Denver International Airport, 90 miles west of the Keystone Resort, from more than 180 destinations. Rental cars and shuttles are available at the airport, while The Colorado Mountain Express provides regular shuttle service to Keystone with complimentary onboard Wi-Fi (kids 12 and under can ride for half the standard price). Eagle County Airport is 65 miles west, close to Vail , with non-stop flights from Los Angeles, New York/JFK, Washington D.C., Denver, and Chicago, among other hubs. Shuttles and car rentals are also available from here.
Keystone Resort is serviced by a free, in-resort transportation system, which also serves much of the Highway 6 corridor, as well as the ski base areas. Many Keystone-area hotels also offer complimentary shuttles. Keep in mind that Keystone is also easily walkable, with accommodation in close proximity to dining and activities.
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