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Family-Friendly Ski Vacation in Keystone, Colorado

Even warm-blooded Texans should try skiing at least once. Before ski season closes on April 9, take the kids, the coats and plenty of sunscreen to find fresh powder at Keystone Resort in Colorado. With runs for advanced skiers, lessons for newbies and wintry fun for all ages, Keystone promises plenty to do for snow-seeking families.

Getting There
Keystone is the closest ski resort to the Denver airport (the resort is about 90 miles west), making it fairly easy to get to via a nonstop two-hour flight from Love Field or Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

What To Do
Keystone’s 3,000-plus acres of ski terrain provide trails for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Three mountains mean lots of long runs and groomed trails perfect for beginners (but still fun for intermediate skiers too). Buy lift tickets online in advance for the best prices — expect to pay around $200 per adult two-day ticket or $400 for four days, while kids 12 and younger ski free if you stay at a resort property. At the resort’s Ski School, experienced instructors use special equipment to teach people of all ages how to ski. You can even book an all-day private family ski lesson for $745.

Beyond downhill skiing, Keystone offers a full menu of other cold-weather thrills. Speed down the snow tubing course, or learn how to cross-country ski, snowbike or snowshoe. And for enthusiasts who can’t get enough time on the slopes during the day, certain runs are lit for nighttime skiing (and daytime lift tickets are valid until 8pm).

Prefer less adrenaline-filled fun? Ride in the warm cab of a snowcat (the machine that grooms the ski runs each evening) on the Mountaintop Family Adventure Tour and get breathtaking views of the Rockies. Adults, $38; ages 12 and younger, $30. Or take a Scenic Gondola Ride to the top of Dercum Mountain to romp in the life-size snow fort. Adults, $31; ages 5–12, $21; ages 4 and younger, free.

Families with younger children should check the Kidtopia schedule for daily organized activities, many of them at no cost — take a walk under the stars, compete in a snowball launch, build a snowman, watch the Saturday evening fireworks show and more.

If you want some adults-only time to ski (or unwind with a couples massage at the Keystone Spa), the resort offers child care for ages 2 months to 6 years. Rates start at $90 for half-day care; reservations and walk-ins welcome.

Where To Stay
Lodging rates in Keystone start around $119 per night but vary by date and property. For a rustic experience, the Ski Tip Lodge Bed and Breakfast has two large suites perfect for families (not to mention the generous breakfast). And the quaint Keystone Lodge and Spa is located on a small lake with spectacular views of the mountain. Enjoy a fast pass to skip morning lines at the gondola, then warm up at the spa or in the heated outdoor pool after a day on the slopes.

Don’t Miss
For a memorable mountaintop meal, take a gondola to Der Fondue Chessel, where families cook their own traditional Bavarian fondue and raclette while the servers entertain with dancing and polka music. Reservations are recommended.

Brave a chilly Dinner Sleigh Ride to dine at an historic homestead in the woods—and learn about the history of Keystone en route. Adults, $94; ages 4–12, $63; ages 3 and younger, $11 (dinner included). Make it a private affair for an extra $200.