Ski + Snowboard

Budget Ski Trips 2009

by Kimberly Thompson

KEYSTONE, COLORADO
Annual snowfall: 230 inches
Vertical drop: 3,128 feet
Skiable acres: 3,148
One-day lift ticket: $92

Perfect for: Families. Even if Mom's a ripper, Dad's a beginner, and Junior's a park rat, they'll all find a favorite run.

Why here: It's all about convenience. Keystone is a self-contained village (if an ersatz one—the "mining town" theme is a little contrived), with coffee shops, restaurants, and rental shops within walking distance of the lifts and lodging. As for the skiing, Keystone's strength is in its diversity, from fast groomers like Star Fire to the Windows, a steep, challenging glade. The kids can kick it by day in one of the nation's best terrain parks, ride all evening on Keystone's illuminated slopes, and then hang with their newfound friends in the plaza until curfew. That means parents—with money to burn, thanks to Keystone's unbeatable package deals—are free to do whatever they want. Now that's a vacation.

The highlight: Adventure Point tubing park (pictured)—a 1,000-foot drop that nears 30 degrees in parts and might be the most thrilling part of your day. (Unless, that is, you followed your teenager into the terrain park.)

Sleep for cheap: The River Run Village's one- to four-bedroom units—done up in standard mountain-condo decor—include a full kitchen (eating in will save you plenty), living room, dining room, and gas fireplace. And they're close enough to the slopes that you can ski straight to the heated outdoor pool and hot tub.

Four nights of lodging at River Run Village and four lift tickets starts at $157 per person per night. Night skiing is free the day you arrive (excluding Mondays and Tuesdays). Keystone also throws in an Adventure Passport, which includes a free ice-skating pass and coupons for local restaurants and activities; 800-404-3535; www.keystoneresort.com

Next: More winter wonderlands >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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