We have taken countless trips to Keystone as a family to ski and board. We love it due to the close proximity to our house, but for many other reasons too. Whether you are a couple, a family with young kids, or a solo skier, there is something for everyone at this resort. Our youngest has spent many days in the Keystone kid's lessons and loves it every time. He has called it Skistone for years, and I don't have the heart to correct him. Read on for all our Keystone suggestions!
Getting to Keystone
Keystone Resort is 85 miles from DIA and takes about 1.5 hours to drive from the airport (*if you can luckily avoid the i70 traffic). We would recommend using a shuttle or car service to get to and from Keystone (if coming from DIA) as there is not a huge need to drive anywhere once you are there. There is also a free bus system to get you around the small town if needed.
*If you have the possibility - avoid driving in on a Friday afternoon from Denver, and avoid driving back on a Sunday afternoon to Denver.
As a bonus, you will pass the frozen lake in Georgetown, CO - which we recommend stopping for a quick walk on the lake and some photos. It is really breathtaking when you are standing on the lake, looking up at the mountains. You will lots of ice fishing folks around, and they are usually happy to chat and tell you what they've caught for the day!
Where to stay
It can be pricier to stay at Keystone Resort than renting in Dillon and driving each day - but we think it is worth the higher cost if traveling with kids. The last thing you want to do is load up a car with all the ski gear and kids, drive 45 minutes, park far, and lug everyone's gear up to the base. No matter how old your kids are... mom and dad will end up carrying extra sets of skis, poles, helmet etc. - so for us, convenience is key at Keystone (ha!).
River Run is the base area of the resort, and offers many options. As a bonus, if you are an Epic Pass holder, you get 20% off food, lodging, ski lessons, rentals and more. There are other areas to rent, but being walking distance to the lifts, kid areas, restaurants and shops makes this an easy decision for us!
The River Run Condos are a collection of Condominium buildings in River Run Village itself rather than a building unto itself. The condos in the River Run Village include: Arapahoe Lodge, Black Bear Condos, Buffalo Lodge, Dakota Lodge, Expedition Station, Jack Pine Lodge, Mill Creek Townhomes, Red Hawk Lodge & Townhomes, River Bank Lodge, Silver Mill Condos, and the Springs.
Many of these places have hot tubs - so be sure to bring your swim suit!
Kid Friendly Things to Do
This most recent winter season (20/21) we had a new addition to the family (Baby S) who isn't old enough to ski. We also have a 7 year old who LOVES to ski - so we had to split up duties. Sometimes we use a babysitter service to watch Baby S, so we can both ski. We have used Care.com for years, and love that you can read reviews on the sitters available. We have always found wonderful sitters to come to our condo. Another bonus of staying in River Run - you can stop in for lunch and check on everything!
The times I don't get a sitter, there are plenty of things to do at the base. During COVID-19, unfortunately a lot of the Kidtopia programs have been paused. But I know it will be back in full force for the 21/22 ski season. They offer many fun activities:
Fireworks on Saturdays
Daily 4pm free coookies
Saturday Ripperoo Parade (this one caught me by surprise one day during nap time, yikes)
Two playground areas
Ice skating Rink
With a lift ticket: Ice Castle at the top of the Gondola (so fun!)
Snow tubing at the top of the Gondola
For Beginner Skiers
Keystone is well known for it's family friendly ski run called Schoolmarm. It is one I avoid when I ski solo or with Justin (lots of beginners!) but on the flip side is perfect for our 7 year old. It is a green all the way from the top to the bottom, wide, and flat enough to not be intimidating. It is almost 4 miles long, so this is why we love it. You spend much more time on the run than typical bunny slopes that have you riding the lift back up after a 5 minute run.
There is also a Christy Sports and ski gear rental right there in River Run, making all your rental gear convenient. Don't forget - EPIC pass holder get a discount!
For intermediate to advanced skiers
Justin and I are snow boarders, and we would put ourselves in the advanced category having been boarding consistently for ten years now. We enjoy Keystone as it has some great runs on the backside of the mountain, and plenty of places to stop for a beer on mountain. We can easily zip over to the kid's ski lesson area and check on our son, and be back to the base within minutes. I will say that we get bored by day 3-4 if we are tearing up the mountain with just us - so if you are advanced and looking for tons of terrain to explore, Keystone may not be the best fit. If you have a shorter trip planned, there is plenty enough to do to keep you busy for 2-3 days of skiing. We would recommend adding a few days at Breckenridge if you are an advanced skier, and have 4+ days to ski.
Gear we use with Babies and Kids
When Baby S was not yet walking, I carry him in this Infantino 4in1 baby carrier. It makes walking around the village with a warm coffee in hand super easy.
To keep him warm in the winter, this carrier cover is really wonderful. If even has a place to put your hands, and can be used as a stroller cover! He stays nice and toasty in this thing.
If your baby will be walking or crawling around outside, you can't go wrong with Osh Kosh B'Gosh - ski set for baby girl or ski set for baby boy. For $40, you can't beat a snow bib and jacket. I would put them in a simply onesie underneath this, it is VERY warm and you don't want an over-heated, fussy baby!
General things you need for kids winter clothing
Mid Layers (think fleece)
Outer layer (water proof)
Any other things you may be curious about? Drop us a comment below!