Almost all major ski resorts offer family-friendly amenities. However, only a handful are truly family-focused. A Keystone Resort vacation in Dillon Colorado ranks in our top three family-friendly ski resorts (along with sister property Northstar California and Big White Ski Resort). What makes Keystone kid-focused? A combination of programs, conveniences, and amenities, which, when offered in tandem, make for a dream ski trip for kids. Want a taste? Check out our Keystone Resort for kids video! You might find a few of the following kid-friendly features at any resort, but they only exist ‘under one roof’ at Keystone!
1. Ski-in, ski-out village lodging:
Yes, nearly all large resorts offer ski-in, ski-out lodging. But do they include heated outdoor pools with water slides? How about condos with game rooms, media rooms, and toddler play rooms? Everyone offers ski lockers, but at River Run Village, ski rentals, Kidtopia events (more on this below), dining, and daycare are all within easy walking distance as well. We’ve stayed in ski-in or walk-to-slopes lodging in multiple resort areas, and my nine-year-old ranked Keystone’s The Springs as the best for pool and hot tub fun, gondola access, and village access.
2. Kids ski free:
When staying two or more nights in any Keystone lodging, kids 12 and under ski free. No blackout dates, no exceptions, no kidding. We always recommend staying on-site in convenient resort lodging anyway; now, families can save lift ticket cash for a fun night out, a day with demo skis, or a special souvenir. Learn more at Kids Ski Free.
3. Weekly Kidtopia programming:
Kidtopia is a ton of fun, but many families don’t realize it’s on offer. Here’s what you need to know: when you check in at Keystone Resort, look for a weekly Kidtopia schedule. Kidtopia offers various events free to kids, based out of Kidtopia headquarters in Expedition Station in River Run Village. Kidtopia events range from face painting to cocoa with Riperoo (the Keystone mascot) to the weekly Kidtopia parade through River Run Village (every Saturday). Kidtopia headquarters also houses Ready, Paint, Fire, an art studio where kids can paint on canvas or create (and fire) their own pottery. This is a great indoor option for kids not skiing (or when poor weather brings families indoors).
4. Kidtopia snow castle and on-slope ski features:
No kid (or parent) can resist the amazing snow castle at the top of Dercum Peak! Pop off your skis and explore this multi-story snow castle, where kids can crawl through tunnels, slide down tubes, and walk through mazes made of ice and snow. The castle is a great place to take a 10 minute break from the slopes, or if you don’t want to stop, look for the School Yard features along green run School Marm, where kids can ski through Riperoo’s dog house in Riperoo’s Forest, try out small terrain features, and look for short, easy ski trails. For intermediate skiers, our favorite ski feature is the H&H mine, located off blue run Santa Fe.
5. Kamp Keystone ski and ride lessons for all abilities:
Keystone offers multiple Ski and Ride learning options, but kids will want to base their ski school experience from Kamp Keystone, the main ski school center located in Mountain House. Kamp Keystone is unique in that it offers evening activities (for a fee) and—this is a biggie—guarantees your child the same instructor every day (if booking lessons for at least three days). Consistency is key with resort ski lessons (and hard to come by) so enrolling in Kamp Keystone definitely gives kids an edge. Inside Kamp Keystone, kids can play on a replica ski kat or snowmobile while waiting to be registered, and if they need rental equipment, it’s fitted for them in-house (no carrying and confusion required). Abilities from ‘never evers’ to advanced and expert skiers are accommodated; my expert nine-year-old had a great group lesson with kids of his own age and ability. And because Keystone is a Vail Resort, it offers EpicMix Academy, an online record of your child’s daily lesson report, complete with current level (making it easy to migrate to other Vail Resort ski schools throughout the season).
6. Adventure Center and additional activities:
Kids taking an afternoon or morning off from the slopes can go tubing at Adventure Point, take a gondola ride to The Outpost (at over 11,000 feet) for a fondue dinner, take a sleigh ride to a historic ranch, or ice skate on either the Dercum rink in River Run Village or the lake in Lakeside Village (largest Zamboni-served ice skating rink in the nation). All the above activities can be booked directly from Keystone (call the Adventure Center in Lakeside Village), making Keystone a great resort for families with kids of many ages and ski abilities.
Read our Keystone Resort overview for families for dining picks, lodging descriptions, and on-mountain reviews!