Yes, every ski resort has lessons and hills just for kids. Keystone is different in that while the adults can join in a bevy of activities, kids get their own world in Kidtopia. You get jazz and wine, they get kid fun.
Keystone has morphed in a top-notch destination with a bevy of adult festivals, activities each day for children, and then activities the whole family can do together. The opportunity for boredom went out the window with the base altitude of 9,000 feet. At 80 miles west of Denver, this is either an easy destination or not too far out of the way if connected with other Rocky Mountain adventures.
During the summer, Keystone hosts numerous festivals, most of which have an adult theme, but still, have activities for the kids. Most are at the base of the mountain, so ample opportunity to take a chairlift or gondola ride sometime in the middle of your summer adventure. Kidtopia, which is Keystone’s no-charge kids’ program, has free adventure activities offered every day from June 8-Sept. 1. Two of the most popular are Friday’s ‘Face Painting and Craft-er-noon’ and Sunday’s ‘Meet the Rescue Dog.’ These are held at Kidtopia Headquarters in River Run Village.
Shake off that city dust with the Bluegrass & Beer Festival, the first weekend of August where over 30 different breweries mingle with food vendors. Entertainment is constant with 3 live stages. And, like all the festivals, Keystone is adept at mixing lodging and ticket packages to make it a one-stop reservation.
Not the best known, yet with enthusiastic attendees is the Wine & Jazz Festival in July. Two days of unlimited pours with top jazz entertainment on the village stage, and you have a recipe for expanding your musical and libation appreciation. Carefully spaced in the village streets are various food vendors so you won’t go hungry with everything from Asian BBQ to charred ribs with grits.
And if the kids don’t want to do their own Kidtopia excursion, face painting and art opportunities are within the festival so you can stick together. Top it off with various wine education events focusing on different varietals and even tequila.
Keystone has their own stable and riding program, so there is usually some type of wagon ride with dinner on the edges of Keystone proper in the White River National Forest. For the Wine & Jazz Festival, that wagon ride gets you to the original cabins where each holds a special dish in the five-course meal, with a wine pairing. Strolling to the original cabins from 1850 with new friends and live mountain music make this a special evening. Not all festivals have their own wagon ride and dinner, but those are offered weekly both in summers as wagon/dinner rides and in winter as sleigh/dinner adventure.
The most unique culinary experience lets you dine at the highest four-star restaurant in North America, the Alpenglow Stube, and a short gondola ride to the top of the mountain at 11,666 feet. Romantic dinners plus an award-winning brunch menu with such items as ricotta-infused French toast and braised pork hash with spinach and sweet potatoes are examples of their creative, high-country cuisine.
Lodging is really anything you want, as Keystone either owns or manages a majority of the base real estate in the village. So, from traditional hotel rooms to ski condos, you can choose, and the only real consideration is where your activity base will be. If you book through Keystone (probably the best way for you to tune into various lodging options), you receive a Play for Free package. This includes scenic lift rides for the kids, golf on arrival day, a guided hike, a yoga class and one hour of tennis.
Recently renovated, The Spa at the Keystone Lodge and Spa is way above what is the norm at a ski area. The treatment rooms are spacious, well decorated and the options reflect the high-country environment. For adults, the Altitude Massage combines a head to toe treatment with O2 to really get those muscles and joints up to high country function. In the spirit of getting the kids involved, finally a spa with limited-attention offerings for kids. The most fun is the Chocolate Mousse Facial. It might be edible, but it does work on pre-teen complexion issues. For even more fun, do the strawberry and chocolate mix, like a perfect Sunday for the face!
Golf does not play second fiddle at Keystone with two exceptional links options. The Ranch Course winds through the original ranch land with slight ups and downs in a mountain-links design. Great views of the valley with the meandering holes where you do get away from it all. The River Course is diversity at its’ best with water features, ups and downs (like a 194 foot elevation drop on hole 16), and holes in and out of the lodge pole pine forest.
While it is part of Vail Resorts, Keystone definitely gives you the small town, big mountain feel that made Colorado skiing famous. And it may just be that summer is a bit better than winter at Keystone, and winter is pretty darn good.