It’s no surprise Keystone (keystoneresort.com) earns top rankings every year for its family amenities and friendly-for-all-ages atmosphere. The entire front side of the mountain is like a dreamland for kids: long, meandering groomers and one of the premier terrain parks in the world (A-51), as well as the River Run gondola, which seats eight. Add to that Keystone’s Kidtopia programs and mammoth snow fort, and there’s a good chance your children will burrow themselves into a snow cave when you tell them it’s time to leave. Start with breakfast at Inxpot (River Run Village, 970-262-3707, inxpot.com), where we recommend the Popeye sandwich: eggs, Swiss cheese, tomato, spinach, and avocado; if you’re running late, call it in to avoid the line. Treat the kids to a tour of smooth, north-facing groomers like Spring Dipper and Flying Dutchman, then head back to the Outpost on Mozart or, if everybody’s ready for some bumps, Mine Shaft. Explore the bountiful powder stashes accessed from the top of the Santiago Express quad until all noses are frozen and it’s time for hot cocoa (Inxpot again). Assuming the kids still have energy to burn after skiing, drop by Keystone Lake (970-496-7103), which, at five acres, is the largest Zamboni-maintained outdoor skating rink in America, and where you can rent everything from skates to hockey sticks and pucks (helmets are free). Take your appetite to the Kickapoo Tavern (970-468-0922, kickapootavern.com), the perfect place for a family (with a name kids love to say) to refuel on hearty plates like the Rocky Mountain Mac ’n’ Cheese medley.
Bundle up, and get ready to mush! Drive out Tiger Road between Frisco and Breckenridge to Good Times Adventures (970-453-7604, goodtimesadventures.com), and sign up for an outing unto itself: dogsledding behind a team of Siberian huskies. The six-mile tour winds through the stunning Swan River Valley, with guests (up to six per tour) switching places from running the dogs to riding on the sled to riding a passenger sleigh towed behind the dogsled. Good Times provides snowsuits and boots free of charge, but you’ll want to plan in advance—reservations are required ($75 for adults, $40 for kids age eight and under; children must be at least four years old to ride). After your tour, drop by the Mountain Top Children’s Museum (605 S Park Ave., 970-453-7878, mtntopmuseum.org) in downtown Breckenridge, then visit the Edwin Carter Discovery Center (111 N Ridge St., 970-453-9767, breckheritage.com) for a glimpse at the namesake miner-turned-naturalist’s legacy of animal preservation, as depicted by his many taxidermy specimens and the mini-theater video about his life. Reward the kiddos for their patience by taking them to Frisco Adventure Park (621 Recreation Way, 970-668-2558, townoffrisco.com/adventure
park/winter) for some late-afternoon tubing down the multilane courses along Highway 9 (open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), then wrap up an exhilarating day with a hot family meal at Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery (720 Main St., 970-668-2337, backcountrybrewery.com)—where you can sip the award-winning Pale Ale (formerly Telemark IPA) in the towering shadow of Peak 1.
After stopping for breakfast at Butterhorn Bakery (408 Main St., Frisco, 970-668-3997, butterhornbakery.com), head west through Tenmile Canyon’s skyscraping peaks to Copper Mountain (coppercolorado.com), where the terrain is diverse and the world-class Woodward Copper freestyle training facility attracts elite action-sports athletes training for the X Games and the Olympics. The resort is vast and riddled with powdery nooks and crannies, so if you want first tracks, get an early start and explore from lifts like Timberline, American Eagle, and Super Bee, which rises 2,400 feet in less than 10 minutes. In general, the best low-angle acreage is on the west side of the resort—including a kids’ terrain park below the Timberline Express—while the steeper runs can be found on the east side and in alpine bowls like Spaulding and Union. If the free snowcat is running at the top of Copper Bowl and everyone is comfortable on advanced runs, load up the kids and watch them gape at 13,205-foot Jacque Peak as you traverse a long alpine ridge to what is certainly the best-kept secret in Summit County skiing and riding: Tucker Mountain. After lunch at Endo’s Adrenaline Café (970-968-3070) at the base of the American Eagle lift in the resort’s Center Village, get your family-style adrenaline fix at the Woodward Barn (woodwardatcopper.com), which last year received a $500,000 renovation. Woodward’s coaches run thrice-daily Intro Sessions ($49) for kids ages 8 and up, during which participants learn to use the same features their heroes use to prep for major competitions. You can also sign up for a trampoline-only session, which, like the aforementioned clinic, runs at 2, 4, and 6 p.m. ($35). After all of that, collect your weary offspring and head to JJ’s Rocky Mountain Tavern (970-968-3062) for melt-in-your-mouth barbecue (order the house-smoked pulled pork or brisket) and live music by legendary après entertainer Moe Dixon.