At Keystone Resort Kids Mean Business

Author: Kyle McCarthy

Tags : Colorado, Kids, Multigen, North America, Snowsports, Spring Break, Teens, USA, Winter Getaway

Tucked high in the Rockies of Colorado, Keystone is a mountain resort -- and a self-proclaimed Kidtopia – designed to make sure kids have fun with winter activities.

As the Vail-owned ski resort most dedicated to families, Keystone is where Front Range parents and grandparents go to introduce kids to winter recreation. Their comprehensive Kidtopia Program, launched in 2012, is a full array of facilities and events, many complimentary, designed to round out the on-mountain experience and help kids 3 to 12 appreciate ski culture. From fun activities to thoughtful amenities, they do a good job, especially for families who stay at the resort’s River Run base village.

Kidtopia Family Amenities and Lodging Packages

Although Kidtopia is only one facet of Keystone’s operations, it makes this very large Summit County resort stand out from its competitors. Among the three separate base villages , River Run is the easternmost base packed with restaurants, shops, condos and the largest nighttime skiing operation in Colorado. 

On all perimeters are many more condo clusters and to the east, the isolated Trappers Crossing (where I stayed with Regan and Jacob on a recent media visit.)  Condos are clean and well cared for, come in all shapes and sizes, and typically share an outdoor hot tub.

The Kidtopia attention grabber is Keystone’s unusual Kids Ski Free deal, which kicks in when families book two or more nights in a Keystone owned and operated lodging. Not only do you have the convenience and easy access that slopeside or base village accommodations offer, but it also allows every child age 12 and under to get a free lift ticket throughout their stay. This offer is valid daily all season – very unusual in the ski business.

Kidtopia Activities and Apres Ski Fun at Keystone

Kidtopia afternoon events are scheduled from after Christmas till the mountain’s April closing, with something new and different almost every day of the week.  Weekends bring extra events, and kid essentials like the Cookie Hour take place daily at the skating rink in the River Run Village, where rentals are inexpensive and hot chocolate is very close by.  

On other days, families will find an artist doing face painting, or have a chance to be artists themselves at the Ready, Paint, Fire studio. As its name implies, you can purchase a pre-made bowl, plate or other piece of pottery (our boys chose beer steins) then sit down with a variety of colored inks, stickers and other tools to decorate it. Similarly, the studio has color-by-number canvasses set up so little ones can paint souvenir mountain landscapes.  The studio is located in Kidtopia Headquarters, a warm and cozy house in River Run where other activities, such as a meet-and-greet with an avalanche dog and its ski patrol handler take place.

Kidtopia Family Fun on the Mountain Slopes

On mountain, kids enjoy meeting the fuzzy blue Kidtopia character Ripperoo, who waves happily and will pose for photos. To really see him let loose, attend the weekend parades through River Run Village when a wagon filled with ski school students provides backup moves while Ripperoo performs the latest hits.  The video says it all:




Adventure walks, counselor-led group games, even early evening star-gazing add to the mix for families who stay all week.  Since most of the activities are free, Kidtopia is a great value-add for parents whose kids still have energy to burn after a day on the slopes. Family together events also create a friendly ambiance where kids can meet each other, and siblings can hang out, regardless of their age or snowsports skill level.

Adventure Point is a fun recreation area above the RiverRun base village. You’ll have to shuffle off the lift to see it but you really can’t miss the Keystone ice fort, the 5th annual medieval fortress made of snow and ice bricks that kids can play in. For a fee, families can also book time at the snowtubing hill (42” height required to participate), try air boarding or rent a snow bike and practice on a quiet slope.

Note! This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.