Updated November 25, 2022
As a long-time local, I’ve found that winters here can be REALLY long. I still love to snowboard but since Eli was born I’ve searched out other fun things to do to fill the long winters. I’ve found that there are so many fun things to do in Keystone Colorado in the winter besides skiing.
Planning a trip to Keystone in the summer? Read about the free things to do in and around Keystone in the summer.
Keystone is one of the best family-friendly ski destinations in North America. But, you don’t have to ski every day (or at all) to have an amazing vacation in Keystone.
Things to do in Keystone Colorado in the Winter Besides Skiing
Yes, skiing with kids at Keystone is lots of fun. If you have younger kids who are just learning, the ski school and daycare centers are top-notch.
For more information about ski school and daycare read Booking Tips for a (Mostly) Stress-Free Family Ski Vacation.
But, if you are visiting for a week, there will most likely be days you want to take a break from skiing. Luckily, there are so many amazing family-friendly things to do in Keystone besides skiing.
Disclosure- Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Tubing At Adventure Point
Growing up in Utah, I’ve always loved sledding in the winter. But, the sledding hills of my childhood are nothing compared to tubing at the top of Keystone Mountain. Tubing is the perfect activity for both kids and adults. It is one of my favorite things to do in Keystone Colorado in the winter.
Because the tubing hill is at the top of Keystone Mountain, you get the added bonus of riding the gondola up.
After a brief introduction film in the tubing hill yurt, you can grab a tube and pick a lane to go down. Everyone has to be in their own tube but you can hold onto each other and go down the hill together. If you are feeling extra adventurous you can ask the attendant to spin you. The hill is unbelievably steep and long, the ride down is quite the adrenaline rush.
The best part is you get to ride a covered magic carpet lift back to the top with your tube.
Children must be at least 42 inches to participate.
Adventure Point tubing is just past the gigantic snow fort. Arrive early to allow for playtime in the fort before your tubing session.
Visit Keystone’s Website for current prices and to make your tubing reservation.
Play In The Gigantic Snow Fort
The snow fort at the top of Keystone is a huge playground made out of tons and tons of snow. It contains slides, tunnels, ropes for climbing, and mazes. When we go skiing early in the season we love to see the snow fort taking shape. It’s always completed and open for playing before Christmas.
If you want to bring your kids on a gondola ride but they are too small to go tubing, the snow fort is the perfect activity. Kids under five ride the gondola for free.
Even on days when the weather is nice at the base area, it can be really windy and cold at the top of the mountain. Make sure to bundle up.
Ice Skating on Keystone Lake
Keystone Lake offers the most picturesque ice skating in Colorado. The five-acre lake is surrounded by Lakeside village on three sides with a beautiful mountain backdrop.
Ice skates are available for rent in the adventure center. Kid-sized ice skating trainers (it looks like a walker) are also available for kids learning to skate. Kids four years old and younger skate for free.
Because the lake is so big, it doesn’t ever seem crowded. It is so much more fun than ice skating on a small rink where you go around and around in a circle.
There are many other ice skating options near Keystone. For more info read – Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Ice Skating in Breckenridge (and Nearby)
Brunch at the Haywood Cafe
Spending several consecutive days waking up early to go skiing can be exhausting. What you need is a relaxing day off from skiing. Sleep in and enjoy brunch at the Haywood Cafe, my favorite kid-friendly restaurant in Keystone. The Haywood has a variety of unique and delicious benedicts from the Sexy Mexy Bennie with avocado, pico, and chorizo; to the BBQ Pulled Pork Bennie with slow-cooked pulled pork on cornbread with bbq sauce drizzled on the hollandaise. Yum. There are plenty of options on the kid’s menu (my son loves the french toast with fresh fruit). And, because you are on vacation, why not try one of the Haywood Cafe’s famous bacon bloody marys or a mimosa.
The Haywood is located in the Gateway Building on Highway six near the entrance to River Run Village. It’s open from seven until two and breakfast is served all day so you can sleep in and don’t have to rush to get there. The Haywood Cafe is definitely one of the can’t-be-missed things to do in Keystone Colorado.
Dinner Sleigh Ride
The Keystone dinner sleigh ride just might be the most memorable part of your trip. This isn’t a ride around a golf course, you actually go to an old ranch deep within the national forest. The setting is absolutely stunning.
The meeting point for the sleigh ride is at the Adventure Center in Lakeside Village (next to the ice-skating lake). From there you take a ten-minute bus ride to the starting point at the very end of the paved road.
After the bus ride, you load up on a sleigh pulled by two huge draft horses. The horses pull the sleigh to the Back Ranch through a beautiful snow-covered valley. Thick blankets are provided to keep you warm along the way.
When you arrive at the ranch, the tables are set up with steaming soup, biscuits, and hot chocolate. Dinner follows along with an entertainer singing and playing the guitar and interacting with the dinner crowd.
The adventure ends with a sleigh ride back to the bus and the bus back to the adventure center.
Tips for a Fabulous Keystone Sleigh Ride
-Book the early sleigh ride. It might seem early for dinner but keep in mind that it takes a while to get to the Back Ranch. The early ride is ideal because it’s still light on your way out so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. Reservations can be made by calling 970-496-4386.
-Dress warmly in easy-to-remove layers. The sleigh ride will be cold but the cabin at the ranch is toasty warm.
-Bring cash to tip the server, entertainer, and sleigh driver.
Walking the Groomed Trail on Lake Dillon
New for the 2020-2021 winter season, the town of Dillon is now grooming a walking/cross country ski/fat bike trail on the ice of Lake Dillon. This is the perfect social distancing activity and is also a lot of fun and free.
If you have never walked on a frozen lake this is something you will have to try. The ice makes crazy cracking sounds and it is a little disconcerting but there is no need to worry. The town of Dillon measures the ice thickness weekly to make sure it is thick enough to support people and the grooming snowmobile.
There are several places to park and access the trail. Lodgepole street, the Dillon Marina, and the Eagle statue along Highway 6 between Dillon and Keystone. The trail is marked with bamboo poles.
As you can see there is a lot to do in Keystone Colorado in the winter besides skiing.
The Best Lodging Options In Keystone Colorado
There are three main areas to stay in Keystone and you really can’t go wrong with any of the three options.
Lakeside Village – Lakeside village surrounds Keystone lake with easy access to ice skating. The ski lifts are a short bus ride away.
My favorite lodging option in Lakeside Village is the Keystone Lodge and Spa. The views are incredible and I love the heated outdoor pool.
There are also several other condo complexes around the lake that can be booked through VRBO.
Mountain House Base Area– The Mountain House base area is the original base area so the lodging options are older. That being said, the Mountain House is a great area if you want to be within walking distance of the ski lifts but not be right in the middle of the hustle and bustle. The Mountain House Base Area is a lot quieter than the other options. Condos in this area can be booked through VRBO.
River Run Village– River Run Village is the main base area at Keystone Resort. If you want to be right in the action, you will want to book your lodging in River Run Village. There are many awesome condo options available to book on VRBO.
Yes, family ski trips can be really expensive! Read – Family Travel on a Budget – 11 Helpful Tips to Make Family Vacations More Affordable for some incredible money-saving tips.
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