2003 Number 19 Resort in North America: Keystone, Colo.


Of the 16 medals Keystone collected, none shines brighter than the gold for Family Programs. The citation suggests all sorts of fuzzy togetherness, conjuring up images of Ward and June Cleaver in stretch pants. The truth is the most popular family option is an exercise in separation, something called “Kids Night Out.” The premise (wink) is to gather the rug rats at the Children’s Center for an evening of movies, snacks and frivolity. The parents, meanwhile, suffer through estrangement while dining on steak at a Keystone restaurant. Of course, everyone reunites at a cozy condo with the resort’s Kids Stay Free program. Keystone seems to offer more family diversions than any place west of Disney World. Despite a reputation for easy skiing, Keystone also rightfully nails high marks for Terrain, in part for the muscle of the Outback. “You’ll never be bored,” one reader trumpets. “Lots of terrain and a good range of difficulties,” adds another. Overall comfort, a product of a resort culture that worships customer ease, also gets frequent mention. “Good service and a friendly staff,” many readers concur. Much of this flows straight from the Keystone playbook: good grooming, prodigious snowmaking, fine dining, great lifts and solid lodging-all topped by the bonus of night-skiing. Gripes such as “a long walk from the parking lot,” and “needs more nightlife” are commonly heard, but never from anyone under 12. -Charlie Meyers

WHAT’S NEW The Kids Ski Free at Keystone option lasts all season for children 12 and younger (800-468-5004).

A GOOD DEAL The Mountain Passport provides free activities, like cross-country and Kid’s Night Out, to anyone staying at a resort property.

MEDALS GOLD Challenge, Lifts, Access, Family Programs, Terrain Parks; SILVER Snow, Grooming, Terrain, Value, Service, Weather, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining, Après, Off-Hill Activities, Scenery.

HIGH/LOW RANK Access (13), On-Mountain Food (15), Family Programs (15); Scenery (39), Challenge (40), Snow (46).

DON’T MISS Keystone’s expansive night-skiing. Not only does this stretch the ticket value, it takes the pressure off getting up early.

READER REMARKS (+) “Good slopes and lifts, first-rate lodge.” “Always a good time.” (-) “Too crowded on weekends.” “Generic village.”

Great Lodging Deals here.