By Helen Olsson
In so many families, moms are the task masters and the drill sergeants.
And when it comes time to book a trip, moms serve as the travel agents and logistics coordinators.
We rent the condo, book the tickets, sign the kids up for ski school, pack the bags, organize backpacks full of chapter books and travel-sized games of Boggle, and stuff pretzel sticks into snack-sized plastic bags for the plane ride.
So, once we arrive in winter paradise and the flakes start to fly—and pile up in great heaps—who ought to be the one who gets first tracks? Every hard-working mom deserves the perfect powder day.
Here’s a game plan to guide you through a day on the hill at Keystone, whether it’s a powder day or a bluebird carving day.
Think of it as a seven-hour getaway from your family getaway.
Keystone is a big mountain, but skiers and riders tend to congregate on the same runs.
If you need a groomer or two to warm up, start on Wild Irishman and Paymaster on the front side, where you’ll have lots of room to roam.
Next, if you’re up for a black diamond, take Diamondback to the North Peak.
Because it’s the less-traveled route by far, it should have more fresh snow.
Once you make it to North Peak, you’ll find stashes of powder on Ambush and Powder Cap, two of the least-utilized runs on the mountain.
Overnight, the grooming machines often bypass these runs, too, which means there’s likely a bump field under that blanket of powder.
But you spent the last month doing squats at the gym while the kids were at school, right? (If you’re snickering, don’t worry; chalk it up to a rigorous challenge to get the blood pumping.)
When you’re ready to tackle something new, head for Keystone’s final frontier: the Outback, where the views are unparalleled and you can find lots of elbow room on an open groomer or floaty glades.
If you’re feeling confident, take a short hike to either North or South Bowl, which will lead you to steep pitches and more gladed terrain.
And if you prefer to ride in a heated snowcat over huffing up a bootpacked trail, you can hop on Keystone’s Outback Shuttle for$10 (cash only).
This is your day, so go ahead: Treat yourself.
For lunch—as in, real lunch that doesn’t include pizza and chili bowls—double back to the Alpenglow Stube, which is perched on top of North Peak.
Here you can indulge in award-winning Bavarian-inspired cuisine set over white linen.
Lunch at the Stube starts at $27 (entrée and an app), and you get to ditch the hard plastic ski boots and slip into warm, fuzzy slippers.
Reservations are encouraged, but not required.
Another great on-slope lunch option is LaBonte’s Smokehouse BBQ, located at the base of the Ruby and Santiago chairlifts.
Settle into an Adirondack chair on “The Beach” to bask in the sunshine and enjoy house-smoked meats with homemade baked beans and corn bread.
Or just sidle up to the on-snow bar for an Irish coffee.
Of course, you’re welcome to a 24-ounce Man Can of Budweiser… Let’s just call it a “Mom Can.”
If you prefer to learn when surrounded by like-minded peers—the camaraderie and mutually supportive environment can be downright fun—Keystone has some great women-specific ski and ride lessons.
These are focused, personalized classes for women with a maximum of three students per instructor.
This low ratio gives women the opportunity for plenty of one-on-one time with a female coach.
For years, Keystone has offered a women-specific clinic for upper level skiers called Betty Fest.
The program is two full days of skiing in small, supportive groups with the resort’s top female instructors.
The thing about taking a day to recharge and ski the mountain the way you want to ski it is that meeting back up with your family at the end of the day will be that much sweeter.
It helps, of course, if the kids are in good spirits while they debrief their day in ski school.
Enter the endless supply of kids’ activities at Keystone.
There’s the massive Kidtopia Snowfort high on the mountain, snow tubing, ice skating, and parades led by Keystone’s furry Ripperoo mascot.
On Mondays, there’s a giant snowball launching contest complete with a catapult, targets, and prizes.
On Wednesdays, Keystone organizes an obstacle course for kids, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 4 p.m., Ripperoo hosts an ice cream social at the Mountain House base lodge.
Every day of the week, it’s M&M cookie time at Dercum Rink.
It’s simple pleasures that keep kids happy at Keystone—and frees Mom up to worry about herself, and her own time on the mountain, for a change.
For a full schedule of events and activities for kids, click here.