We still have wintry conditions up here in Colorado’s high country — last night a spring storm dumped fresh snow throughout the state, including five inches of powder at Keystone ski resort, where my family spent an action-packed long weekend in February.
If any Colorado families are thinking about a last-minute mountain getaway in waning days of the ski season, I highly recommend a jaunt up to Keystone before the lifts close April 11. Here’s why:
Good eats: Bighorn Steakhouse in the Keystone Lodge & Spa is so delicious — I highly recommend making reservations here. The view of Keystone Lake out the dining room’s large windows is stellar. (Ice skating is closed for the season, but it still looks pretty, with snow-covered mountains looming above.) I also appreciate that the kids’ menu offers healthy options, including grilled chicken breast with soup or salad.
Another fun restaurant to put on your radar for next ski season, since it closes for the season March 27: Der Fondue Chessel, located two gondola rides away on the Keystone ski slopes. Not only is the cheese and chocolate fondue oh-so-yummy, the entertainment from “Those Austrian Guys” oom-pa-pa band is hilarious. Yep, we all got up from the table for a round of the chicken dance.
Finally, running on a limited schedule for the rest of the ski season are the dinner sleigh rides to a rustic cabin on a historic homestead. Again, the entertainment here — from a guitar-strummin’ singer dubbed “Handsome Dan” — is good fun.
Skiing: You could make your way around the mountain with your children by yourself, but if you’re new to Keystone’s slopes, consider booking an “Adventure Session,” for $119 per person, where you’ll have a private guide to yourself, who can show you around the slopes — plus, you get to cut the lift lines! This works only if you and your kids are similarly matched in skill level; otherwise, stick the little ones in a lesson and you join an Adventure Session yourself. My husband had a beginner’s snowboarding lesson during our stay at Keystone and he said his instructor was top notch; new skiers and boarders hang out in their own area until they’re confident enough to explore the mountain.
Tubing: Just in case you didn’t see my post — with video! — about tubing at Keystone’s Adventure Point, here’s the link. Do not miss this fun family adventure (kids must be 42 inches tall) on your spring trip to Keystone. Also, keep an eye on the Keystone summer activities section of the resort website to find out how long the mountain will offer tubing through the summer season. Last year visitors could tube Memorial Day through about the third week of June; how cool is that?!
Dogsledding: I really need to dedicate an entire post to the thrilling experience of driving our own dogsleds with Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge (or I could just direct you to Travel Savvy Mom’s awesome synopsis). If you’re in the area — Dillon, Keystone, Frisco, Breckenridge — this is an absolute must with kids. Most dogsledding operations only have you ride in a sled behind a team of Huskies; we could actually drive the sleds — even my 7-year-old “baby” did it (and got thrown off into fluffy snow — no harm done).
Truly, this adventure was a highlight of our winter — it’s gone down in the annals of our family lore as one of the best outdoor activities we’ve ever enjoyed on vacation. The prices are reasonable, too: $70 per adult, $35 per child under age 8 (kids as young as 3 can drive) for an hour-long scenic ride through pristine forest and wide-open spaces. Good Times Adventures shuts its dogsledding operation down April 4, but will re-open around Thanksgiving, if the snow gods are cooperative.
Thanks again to Vail Resorts for hosting my family on a fabulous weekend getaway!