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Kidtopia: Why Colorado’s Keystone Resort Is for Kids

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A lot of Colorado’s ski resorts do a great job catering to kids but Keystone Resort has upped the snow-coated ante by creating Kidtopia, a multi-weekend festival for the little ones. Group that with the Kidtopia Snow Fort’s climbable tunnels and turrets and a five-acre mountain lake for skating…and you have a ton of wintry family fun.

Kidtopia: Why Colorado's Keystone Resort Is for Kids

Keystone ice sculpture (Photo credit: Amber Johnson)

Why Keystone

As the largest mountain resort in Summit County with 3,148 acres of bowls, bumps, glades and groomers, Keystone has three mountain playgrounds—Dercum Mountain, North Peak, and the Outback.  My family was recently invited to Keystone as a part of a media weekend. It was to be an epic family getaway at this resort that is just 90 miles from Denver. Skating. Skiing. A mid-mountain fondue dinner at Der Fondue Chessel.

There was only one thing that did not cooperate: the weather. With highs in the single-digits, we frequently ran for cover and were unable to tackle our bucket list such as tubing at Adventure Point at the summit of Dercum Mountain and skating at the new outdoor Dercum Square Ice Rink (free but skate rentals are extra).

But there’s a silver lining: Now we have an excuse to go back.

Colorado's Keystone Resort's Kidtopia festival

Kidtopia Snow Fort (Photo credit: Amber Johnson)


Skiing and snowboarding are plenty entertaining but an entire festival dedicated to kids that runs November 22 through March 24, 2013?  Talk about fun!

A smattering of activities occur during the week that include Cookie Hour, 80’s tubing, Funky Fridays Disco Skating and kids’ après ski. But Saturday is when the mountain comes to life with Riperoo’s Village Park Parade, S’mores Saturdays at the Dercum Ice Rink and the Kidtopia Fireworks ignite the winter skies and are viewable from River Run and Lakeside Villages.

SKiing with kids at Keystone's Kidtopia

Family ski-time on Keystone Mountain (Photo credit: Amber Johnson)

The Mountain

We have achieved a milestone in our family; we are finally able to ski together (insert moment of thankful silence for all those patient ski school instructors who have waged the teaching-our-kids-to-ski battle). Despite the frigid conditions that made us devour hand-warmers like candy and ultimately call it a day at 2 p.m., we still had a wonderful time.

Something we loved about Keystone is their new EpicMix. Last year, Vail Resorts  launched this cutting-edge smart card that tracks things like vertical feet skied and also offers free on-mountain photos, including free low-res downloads for sharing on social networks including Facebook and Twitter.

Ice skating with kids at Colorado's Keystone Resort

Skating Keystone Lake (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Keystone Lake: A Cut of Canada

Most families have some kind of initiation when someone marries into the clan. My American husband received a pair of hockey skates with the explicit instructions that any of our future half-breeds should be born on the blade.

But here’s the deal: a Canuck’s idea of skating is not circling around on some uninspired indoor rink with music blaring in the background. We like wide open spaces and we skate for miles on rivers and lakes. Frozen nose hairs are an added bonus.

Keystone Lake is about as close to the Real Skating Deal as I have come since moving to the United States. The resort boasts their five-acre lake is the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor ice skating rink in North America. My little clan had the time of our lives cruising around, watching a pick-up hockey game, and marveling at the mountain grandeur as flurries of ice particles glittered in the swirling air. It was the perfect cut of Canada.

Minus the frozen nose hairs.

Kids Ski Free

I immediately perked up when I heard about Keystone’s new promotion announced this year but of course, there is a catch: Kids 12 and under ski/snowboard free with any two-night stay at Keystone’s accommodations. On a positive note, there are no blackout dates, so this deal is one for the taking.

What’s your favorite winter activity: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, tubing, or après ski? Let us know in the comments!

A Note from The Outdoorsy Travel Mama: Thanks to Keystone for a fabulous time!

About Amber Johnson, The Outdoorsy Travel Mama

Amber Johnson is a fun-loving mom of two. After a whirlwind career as an adventure-travel writer and publicist in Utah’s ski industry, she married and moved to Denver where her family loves skiing, biking, hiking and climbing 14ers (14,000-foot peaks). She is the founder of The Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas, writes a regular “Family Cents” column for the newspaper and has been blogging since 2005 (you can find her at Amber is excited to be a part of the Travel Mamas team and looks forward to chronicling her occasionally-painful but always-hilarious misadventures! You can connect with Amber on Twitter as @TheMileHighMama.

  1. It’s a post like this that makes me look forward to the future idea of skiing with the kids. What a perfect family activity- and looks like you had a wonderful time!

  2. Amber's The Mile High Mama says

    We do a lot of activities as a family but there’s nothing like skiing together, heading back to our condo, hot tubbing and snuggling up to the fire. Definitely my favorite things to do!

  3. I know a lot about Colorado’s cold weather having grown up in Minnesota. Now I deal with the opposite extreme living in Arizona. I love reading about skating – I once shoveled the snow from a lake only to find the ice very rough.

  4. Amber's The Mile High Mama says

    Ellen–that’s why flooding the frozen lake with water and smoothing it out with a zomboni are nice for lake skating. 🙂

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