This is part of a series of sponsored posts. Keystone Resorts provided some complimentary activities for us to enjoy during our stay.
Keystone Adventure: Let the adventure begin
We drove for two solid days to arrive in Keystone, Colorado Christmas Eve. The Keystone Hyatt Place was easy to find, and conveniently located. We were very pleased with our choice. I coordinated with https://www.keystoneresort.com/ for some activities. Knowing we were going to need a chance to acclimate to the altitude and climate, I requested our planned activities begin after the 25th. Seriously, I don’t know if you’ve experienced a much higher altitude, but the air is so much thinner! This Southeast Texas girl, who is accustomed to humidity. . . could. not. breathe. Every few feet, my boys were asking, “Mom, are you ok?” And, I’m really not that out of shape!
Upon entering our room, we found a backpack full of Keystone goodies. . . ear warmers, baseball hats, an insulated travel cup, a water bottle, a travel journal, and an itinerary. The boys thought the hats were the coolest! You can tell from the photos I was grateful to have something extra to keep my ears warm!
After everyone had a chance to unwind, we bundled up and used the complimentary bus service to head over to Keystone Lodge and Spa. They have a chocolate village in the lobby. Yes, you read that correctly – an actual chocolate village. According the the literature the resort provided, the chef, Gabriel Geers, uses more than 7,000 pounds of chocolate. A hand-crafted tradition that started more than 20 years ago. The Christmas tree was at least 4 feet tall, and the chocolate train was an actual working train! I highly suggest checking it out. Best part, it’s free for everyone! Surprisingly, you really can’t smell the chocolate. And, no one ever eats it. They just store it away in a special climate controlled display case to use next year. We did venture down stairs to the Big Horn Bar and Grill for snacks and beverages. There was a nice wine selection, and plenty of happy hour offerings to keep everyone happy. The boys enjoyed hot apple cider, while hubby and I relaxed with a lovely glass of Cabernet!
After a long day of travel, the excitement of seeing “real” snow for the first time, and taking in the awesome Chocolate Village, we were ready to call it a day! We were expected at the top of the mountain in the morning for snow tubing.
Keystone Adventure: Getting to the top of the mountain
Waking up in a hotel on Christmas morning was a new experience for all of us. Even though we were away from home, Santa did bring a few small gifts for the boys to open. Presents opened, breakfast eaten, we were ready to put on the warm clothes! Layers and layers of warm clothes. Going out in the snow, well, it really is cold! You will want multiple layers to keep toasty warm. We had reservations for Snow Tubing at 11:15 AM. While we are familiar with tubing on the Frio River, this was a little different.
We took the free bus to River Run Gondola Plaza and checked in at Adventure Point Hut. Ski lift passes were attached to our jackets and off we went! We took the Gondola up the mountain. Once at the top, we all had to stop and take it all in, and catch our breath. The light, fluffy, powdery snow – the extra bright sunshine (take sunscreen) – and the view of the surrounding mountains. You know when teenage boys comment on the view. . . it’s really awe inspiring.
Keystone Adventure: a Snow Fort
We’d made it to the top of the mountain, caught our breath, and figured out where to go to for tubing. We took a few minutes to explore the snow fort in an area known as Kidtopia. If my boys were between 2 and 12, they would have L-O-V-E-D it! There was a slide, and a tunnel. There were parts where you had to use a rope to help yourself climb up the ramp. The snow fort was really impressive! They also give out free hot cider near the fort.
Keystone Adventure: Snow Tubing
We went to a little hut called a “yurt.” I learned a yurt is basically a well constructed round tent. Once in the yurt, we signed waivers stating we would not sue anyone if we were injured, maimed, or killed while tubing. A short informational video was shown on how to sit on your tube to ride as a single, with one friend, two friends, or three friends. There was a part about how to cross the lanes at the bottom of the tubing hill so as not to be slammed into by other downhill tubers. Along with how to get yourself and your tube onto the moving sidewalk that takes you back up the hill. Basically, watch where you are going, try not to get ran over, fall out, or die. Got it.
Once we understood the expectations, we went to pick up our tubes. Thankfully, they were plenty to choose from in all the color choices (red, blue, yellow and green), and there were only two sizes to choose from. So we avoided the, “he got the one I wanted….I had that one first; His is bigger than mine” argument.
Tubes selected. Now to get seated. The boys agreed to go down with mom and dad as a foursome for the first run. So. . . first, you put your tube on the ground. You make sure the inserted flat panel is on the bottom. This will keep your butt out of the snow. Make sure the handles are facing the correct direction for the people near you to be able to hold on to. Now for the tricky part. You have to kind of straddle your tube, and try to gracefully lower your behind into the middle. When snow gets packed down, it can be a little icy and slippery. This does not make getting into the tube a graceful, or easy event. Think one leg on one side of the tube, the other leg on the other side. Hold on to the handle in the middle. Try not to do the splits. And….plop down. That’s about as graceful as it’s going to get.
Now that we are all seated, we have to hold onto each others tubes, and our own. One hand on a handle on my tube, and one hand on a handle on Harold’s. . . and so on until all four of us are connected. We are at the top of the hill. There is a person at the start of each run. His/her job is to give you, or your group a shove to get you going down the hill. Gravity takes it from there. Our person asked, “Would you like to spin, or go straight?”
“Spin!” yelled the boys. And away we went. Two teen boys, two 40 something parents, all holding on to each other’s tubes for dear life, screaming and laughing our way down a snow hill. Memory made! Once we made it to the end of the run, you have to exit your tube, grab hold of it, and walk over to the moving sidewalk that will transport you back to the top for another run. Getting out of the tube is a little easier than getting in. You just roll yourself right out. I didn’t say it was pretty, or graceful. I said it was easier.
The moving sidewalk took some getting used to. You get in line with our tube standing on it’s edge in front of you. When the light turns green, you put your tube on, still standing on it’s side edge, and step on behind it. You have to lean forward to keep your balance. A word of warning: try to knock some of the snow off your boots before you step on the conveyor belt. At one point I looked similar to Buddy, the Elf, as he attempted to get on the escalator. One foot WAY in front of the other. The back foot continuing to slide on back.
Snow tubing was a ton of fun! We went up and down the hill for an hour and loved every minute of it! We saw grandparents, moms, dads, teens, tweens, and toddlers all having a blast as they swooshed down the hill! I did learn that you still have to lift your butt. Failure to do so in the river will result in bumping the rocks in shallow areas. Failure to do so in the snow will result in bumping rough areas of the hard packed snow. Regardless of river, or snow tubing, failure to lift the butt, will result in bruises.
More Keystone Adventures http://keystone-adventure-hockey-ski-gear