(Reader note: My family was invited to take part in a media event for Keystone Kidtopia. Most of our travel expenses were covered as part of this trip, but I was not otherwise compensated and my opinions remain my own.)
You know how amazed you are when you step foot onto Main Street at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, with awe-inspiring things to see and do all around you? Well, that’s exactly how I felt as I entered River Run Village at Keystone Resort, simply stunned by the beauty of the mountain in front of me and all of the glistening snow, but also happily surprised by the quaint village packed with fun offerings for my family.
Yes, to me, Keystone Resort gives new meaning to the phrase, ‘Disney on Ice’.
And just like the Magic Kingdom, it’s entirely possible to have all kinds of fun without your kids, but I have to admit it just wouldn’t be the same. Admittedly, it’d be a different kind of fun.
Having never been around a ski resort or even the sport of skiing before, I had no idea how ideal it is for families.
When my family was invited to come check out Keystone’s Kidtopia, I wasn’t sure my kiddos would really enjoy it. Heck, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it, since I’ve always been a self-proclaimed beach baby.
Boy, was I ever happily surprised.
We took ski lessons and after the first day, felt confident enough to head up in the ski lift and master ‘Tornado Alley’. Even my eight year old, who took part in Camp Keystone where I dropped her off at 9 or 10 each morning and picked her back up at 3:30, trained nearby…close enough where we could see what she was up to, but far enough that she didn’t realize she could call over to us if she decided she wanted a break (which was important since we were supposed to be learning to ski, too).
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We each learned all kinds of new terms and phrases, each carrying funky new meanings. It turns out pizza is critical to stopping when you’re on your skis (that’s the shape you make with the skis, toes pointed together and the back of the skis as far apart as you can make them). French fries are what make you fly down the mountain (not something I wanted to do a lot of, so I spent most of my time perfecting the pizza).
We discovered the color coding system is really, really important when you do go up the mountain to the real ski trails, with green being easiest, blue being moderately dangerous and black being for the best of the best. I don’t imagine I’ll ever make it to black, but I did end up on a blue trail (strictly by accident). Even green trails intimidate me. And I learned they even have ‘cabs’ on the mountain (yes, they look more like stretchers, but the point is, if you get stuck, you have options besides sliding down the rest of the mountain on your rear end).
We also got to go ice-skating and tubing, and could have gone mountain climbing with snowshoes, sleigh riding through the snow and even bike riding with specially-built bicycles for the snow. That doesn’t mention the fun Snow Fort at the top of the mountain. We simply couldn’t pack it all into the three days we had at Keystone. The resort goes all out when it comes to family fun and I bet you’d have a tough time doing it all, too.
We had great food options all around our condo, from Kickapoo Tavern (great place to grab a burger and beer) to the Bighorn Bistro Steak that overlooks Keystone lake (the largest lake in the US to be maintained by a Zamboni) where we were able to watch the Saturday night fireworks display from the restaurant’s massive window wall. When we didn’t feel like skiing, we also had options like Ready, Paint, Fire where we painted our own pottery and painted a masterpiece that we also took home.
And don’t get me started on the condo where we stayed. We were in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit in River Run’s Arapajo section. Each unit is individually owned and rented out, and the unit we had was cozy, classy and comfortable. There were two balconies overlooking the square, with the hot tub steps away. We were thankful for the washer/dryer in the unit, and threw our wet gear into the dryer every chance we had.
We certainly didn’t come prepared with the gear we had (never, never go skiing without a good pair of gloves or wool socks). Want to know what to wear? Check out the picture below (and here’s a tip—the best place to buy gloves on the mountain is in the Adventure Post on the top of the mountain where you check in to go tubing…we found them for $12). And I don’t think we brought enough ibuprofen for all the bumps and bruises we got from our falls.
But we did learn that you’re never too old, or young, to learn to ski, or to bond with your kiddos in such a fun, healthy way.
My daughter already wants to know if we can go back ‘a lot’.
I sure hope so.
Keystone promises a ‘mountain of possibilities’ and that’s what we found on our visit.
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