So Much Fun Whitewater Rafting with Performance Tours!

Going white water rafting has been on the bucket list and this summer we crossed it off our list while vacationing in Keystone, Colorado.  We had the most amazing experience with Performance Tours! They offer several trips in different areas, all within an hour or two of Keystone Resort.  The closest rafting trip was the Blue River half day, but we wanted a full day trip, so we looked at the Royal Gorge Full Day and The Brown’s Canyon Full Day trips.  The Royal Gorge is a little further away from Keystone and the rafting is a little more challenging than Brown’s Canyon. Since it was our first time rafting, we decided on the Brown’s Canyon Full Day.  It costs $98 for a child and $108 for an adult, but as SummitCove guests, we got a special discount for everyone in our group!

 

We met our guide at the Performance Tours Boat House in Buena Vista, at 10:00 am and then we shuttled to the put in at Fisherman’s Bridge.  Everyone was chatting about it being a perfect blue sky Colorado day and the views of the Collegiate Peaks were astounding. It was amazing how many companies and people were all there at the put in and yet how quickly we still got out on the river.  Our guide gave us a safety talk and told us she had been guiding this part of the Arkansas River as well as the Royal Gorge for 5 years. I felt confident in her abilities and she was super friendly and had vast knowledge of the river.  

 

The river was fast moving and our guide was shouting paddle commands at us and we were following her directions with wide eyes!  Our guide had complete control of the raft. It would look like we were going to hit a rock and then at the last second she would turn the boat and we would skim past the rock and catch the current, it was so exciting!  This stretch of river has several class 3+ rapids and I was launched out of the boat in the rapid called Pinball. I was paddling and the next thing I knew I was in the river, completely under water. Before I had a chance to freak out I looked up through the water and I was right next to the boat.  I could see our guide. Before my head was above water I reached my hand up and our guide grabbed my life jacket and before I knew it she pulled me back in the boat. I was in and out of the river so quick, it was like it never even happened. I had an incredible rush of adrenaline and I am grateful for the quick response of our raft guide.  She was awesome and saved me from a nasty swim!  

Brown's Canyon Rafting Whitewater Rapids

 

We stopped for lunch, on a sandy beach, on the side of the river and had make our own sandwiches, with all the fixings.  I don’t know if it was the swim I had or the mountain air but that was the best sandwich I ever ate. After lunch we continued on and hit more rapids, with the last rapid being Seidel’s Suckhole.  Our guide said it is named that because years ago a guy named Seidel got sucked into the hole and he is still down there! We nailed that hole and fortunately everyone stayed in the boat and noone got to meet Seidel.

 

The joke became that the swimmers had to buy beer at the end of the trip and I was the only swimmer that day, so it looked like the beer was on me.  We shuttle back to Performance Tours Boat House and I ran and got some beers and we sat out on the deck with the guides and the other paddlers on our trip, recapped our awesome day and looked at our pictures from the trip.

 

Thanks to Performance Tours white water rafting is crossed off our bucket list but it left us wanting more.  So we added rafting the Royal Gorge to our bucket list. We will be back to do the Full Day Royal Gorge Trip with Performance Tours.  They take safety and having fun seriously. We have an amazing story to tell and an adventure we will never forget! Thanks Performance Tours, for the thrill of a lifetime!

 

Pizza 101 is Our Favorite Pizza in Colorado!

When we stay in Keystone, in the summer, we always like to walk as much as possible.  We like staying in Ski Run 201 with SummitCove Properties because it is more economical than staying in River Run Village and we can still walk to some restaurants, including our all time favorite pizza place, Pizza 101.

Pizza 101 in Keystone

Pizza 101 is located in the Snowdance Plaza building which is a short walk from the Ski Run condos.  We call ahead to order our pizza and walk over and pick it up. We love the Kermit pizza with the pesto and the strombolis.  We add a house salad and some garlic cheese stixs and we have a yummy dinner and lunch to throw in our cooler for the next day, because everyone knows pizza and strombolis taste better the day after!  At Pizza 101 they brick oven-fire their hand tossed pizzas and the crust is delicious! Their pesto sauce and pizza sauce are to die for. Their prices are good, especially for a resort, and having a coupon from SummitCove Lodging helps lower the bill.  The staff is always friendly and working hard as they always seem busy.  

 

Our family looks forward to eating at Pizza 101 on each trip to Keystone and I look forward to an easy,  convenient, delicious dinner while on vacation. It is a win, win and we will be back for more!

Are You a Cornhole Master? Show Off Your Skills This Sunday!

Are you a cornhole master?  It’s time to break out those skills this weekend in Keystone!  Now is your chance to backup all that talk about your cornhole expertise with a friendly cornhole tournament.  Along with the Bluegrass & Beer Festival this weekend, August 3 & 4, New Belgium is hosting a Cornhole tournament.  The tournament takes place from 12:00pm – 2:00pm at Warren Station on Sunday afternoon. Come show off that college Cornhole acumen. There is a bonus prize for best team uniform so dust off those superhero capes or beer mug costumes of yours!  Of course New Belgium is hosting the tournament, so beer sipping will go along with the tossing. You could be good enough to be this year’s Crowned Cornhole Champion in a single elimination tournament. Games will  be held on the Warren Station Patio starting at noon on Sunday. Teams will compete in pairs and the winning team will walk away with a grand prize. Entry is $30 per team and includes two complimentary beers per team. Be sure to get registered early before it sells out! 

Cornhole Tournament at Warren Station

Bluegrass & Beer Festival ticket and lodging packages for the festival this weekend are still available with SummitCove Lodging until 4pm on Friday, August 2nd. Packages can save you up to 15% on your lodging and tickets.  Book a condo in River Run Village and walk to the festivities all weekend long.  Stop by the SummitCove Booth inside the festival to get a free pretzel necklace and to enter to win a prize package for the 2020 Bluegrass and Beer Festival at Keystone!

Vacation Kickoff With A Trip Down Clear Creek

Whitewater rafting is an adventure of a life time.  I grew up on the rivers and riding the rapids. This year on our summer family trip to Keystone I wanted our teenage children to experience this adventure.  Our flight got into DIA early around 8am and check in time at our condo wasn’t till 4:00 so we thought, perfect time to go whitewater rafting! Clear Creek is on right on the way to Keystone, about 45 minutes from the airport.  There are several rafting companies in Idaho Springs, so I did some research because I wanted to go with a very experienced company. The water is very high right now and I wanted to make sure my family and myself were in expert hands.  I found Clear Creek Rafting, the oldest company on the river, with the most years of experience.  

Colorado Whitewater Rafting with Clear Creek

 

We arrived at their office on a sunny, blue sky day to do the Beginner Trip.  My kids are teenagers and they wanted to do the Intermediate Trip but with the water levels so high we choose the Beginner Trip and we were not disappointed!  First, we got wet suits and helmets and then our guide, Rasta Rob, gave us the safety talk. This river is no joke and I could see my kid’s eyes get big as Rasta talked about paddle strokes, flipping, high sides and how to pull someone back in the boat, if they fall out.  My kids wanted to paddle up front so my husband and I took the back and we were off on a fast moving, raging river!

 

We went through at least 10 rapids with Rasta yelling paddle commands to us.  This is a tight river and our guide was as smooth as butter. I would start to think, we are going to hit a rock and then our guide would turn our boat and slide by rock.  The kids in the front got hit with wave after wave of whitewater and loved every minute of it! No one fell out of the raft and that is because we had an expert guide. We paddled our butts off and had the time of our lives!  We all want more and we will be back to do the Intermediate Trip in a few days! This was an awesome experience! Thanks Clear Creek Rafting! Thanks Rasta!

A Day in Brown’s Canyon with Performance Tours Rafting

Yesterday, SummitCove employees were able to escape for a fun team-building excursion on the Arkansas River with a group rafting trip down Brown’s Canyon with Performance Tours Rafting!

Browns Canyon Rafting
Whitewater Rafting with Performance Tours at Beautiful Brown’s Canyon in July 2019

Rafting is certainly a team sport, as every member in your boat is responsible for paddling their hearts out!  Your trusty guide tells you exactly what needs to be done… LEFT TWO or BACK ONE!  Just follow along and push your paddle hard into the water.  The team pushes the raft forward where it needs to go, whether it’s around a rock or straight on over a rapid! Teamwork really does make the dream work!

Rafting Boat Heading through Colorado Whitewater
Getting Splashed As We Paddle Through One of the Rapids on the Trip!

Yesterday was no different and with the high water levels this season, there was no shortage of paddling and super-fun rapids!  We love working with Performance Tours because they have some of the best guides in the country!  We always feel well-informed and safe during our journey and most importantly, we always have a ton of fun.  If you are lucky, you’ll get a guide that tells you jokes the whole way down like ours did! We joined a half day trip on Brown’s Canyon National Monument.  This trip is considered Class 3 and features tons of great rapids, like Pinball, Zoom flume, Bigdrop, Staircase, Punchbowl and many more.  The scenery is incredible, with picture perfect rock formations and those Colorado bluebird skies.  We loved every minute of this fun trip and the weather was perfect!  We have been recommending Performance Tours to our guests for many years and highly recommend that everyone looking for a fun, family-friendly activity on their Keystone vacation give one of their rafting trips a try.  They offer a variety of trips, from full to half to multi-day trips along an assortment of different rivers throughout Colorado.  They can even arrange transportation from your vacation rental if you need it!  All SummitCove guests receive a special discounted rate on rafting with PT, too!

Whitewater Rafting with Performance Tours
Big Water Equals Tons of Fun Out On the River!

High waters mean that the rafting season should be nice and long this summer, so there is still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the river! We highly recommend whitewater rafting on your Keystone vacation!  Call or book your trip online with Performance Tours today! 

7 Ways to Unplug This Summer in Keystone, Colorado

As convenient and amazing as technology is, it is often hard to peel yourself away from the daily grind of screen time and social media life. The mountains offer a chance to escape the daily ‘plug-in’ and find real life beyond the phones, tablets and social media. We invite you to visit Keystone this summer and truly unplug for a few days for a real Rocky Mountain getaway! Here are 7 technology alternatives to consider for your Keystone vacation.

 

Stop and Smell the Wildflowers!
Wildflowers grow like crazy in the Colorado mountains! Take a hike through a wildflower meadow and enjoy nature’s beauty. Bring along a guidebook and see how many different varieties you can find! Take your colored pencils and sketchbook and get inspired!

 

Get Out on the Lake
Keystone Lake in Keystone is ground zero for fun summertime lake activities such as kayaking, paddle boating, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding.  Head to the Adventure Center to rent your gear and get out on the lake for some much needed ‘reflection’ time!

Summer activities at Keystone Lake
Stand-UP Paddle Boarders Exploring Keystone Lake on a Sunny Day

 

Act Like a Kid Again
Keystone is the number one resort for kids in every season and summer is no different with daily Kidtopia programming. Most activities are free and offer kids AND adults a chance to release their inhibitions and be free to act like a kid! Daily Kidtopia Summer activities include events like movie matinees, kid-friendly yoga, family golfing, kite flying, wildflower crafts, camp nights and more!

 

Head to the Hills
Whether you head up the gondola to the top of Dercum Mountain, head west towards Keystone Gulch or east into the hills near Montezuma and Peru Creek, there are tons of hiking and biking trails located in Keystone.  Choose a mellow waterfall hike or tackle some nearby fourteeners such as Grays & Torreys or Quandary Peaks!  You might even get to spot some wildlife! Permission granted to take that selfie at the top – but don’t post it until you get home from your trip.

Mountain Goat Summit County CO
A Mountain Goat Sits Near the Top of Quandary Peak

 

Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow
Keystone is known for their incredible summer festivals and although each festival has a different focus, almost all of them feature live music from some of the best touring acts in the nation.  Stomp your feet at the Bluegrass and Beer Festival or get down with The Strumbellas at Mountain Town Music.  Is polka dancing more up your alley? Then you must attend Keystone Oktoberfest!  Dance away  the stress of your everyday life and come back feeling relaxed and reconnected.

 

Take Time to Enjoy Your Food
In addition to the amazing food you’ll find at any summer festival, you’ll want to try one of the award winning restaurants in Keystone as well! The Alpenglow Stube is situated atop North Peak, with incredible views and even more incredible dishes.  Try Keystone Ranch for locally sourced, sustainable authentic Colorado cuisine. Or head to the Ski Tip Lodge for an intimate meal at an historic 1800’s stage coach stop that serves a rotating 4 course menu and extensive wine selections. Quit rushing and take some time to savor a wonderful meal.

 

Run a 5K
What better way to break free than to start running! Annually over Labor Day weekend, locals and visitors tie up their shoelaces and earn their brats and beers at the Das Bier Burner 5K.  This family friendly fun run starts and finishes in the scenic River Run Village at Keystone and offers finishers a free brat and a beer after the run at Keystone Oktoberfest!

Das Bier Burner at Keystone Oktoberfest Colorado
Festive Runners Finishing the Annual Das Bier Burner 5K in Keystone

 

Ditch your phones and computers for a week or two this summer and take in the beauty of your surroundings.  Focus on the present and enjoying the time you spend with your loved ones.  Make memories together that will last a lifetime. Unplug, disconnect, and discover your newest passion at Keystone Resort this summer.

Keystone Science School Offers Incredible Summer Camp Programs

Keystone Science School has amazing programs for kids ages 5 – 17, all summer long.  They offer many different camps during the summer and break them up based on age.  The day camps are Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 5, with an optional overnight on Wednesdays.  They have 1 camp counselor to about 6 kids. They also offer overnight camps, which are 6 days and they pack in a lot of outdoor adventure.  In both the day camps and overnight camps, the campers go on nature hikes, summit mountains, go white water rafting, learn to rock climb, have campfires and really live the wilderness camp experience!  Lastly, they also offer 2 Wilderness Adventure Camps where kids sleep in tents while exploring Colorado and Utah. The Keystone Voyagers Camp is for kids ages 12 – 14 and it is one week long. The other camp is Keystone Mountain Adventures and this is a multi-week camp.  These camps are field-based and not only do the kids learn a lot about science, and nature they also build leadership skills and friendships. The Keystone Science School also offers financial aid to campers to make this experience more affordable.  Families can plan a summer vacation based on the camp dates and parents can enjoy some alone time while kids attend camp during the day! Choose a condo or vacation home in the West Keystone area of the resort to be super close to the Science School headquarters! 

 

The camp I picked for my girls, 8 and 10 years old, was the Water Adventure Camp.  It was $449 for the week. We did get some financial aid so that really helped. In this camp my girls learned so much about water ecology and water safety through fun activities.  They went canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and white water rafting, which was their favorite. They both wanted to spend the night on Wednesday and it was probably their most memorable part of camp.  They sang songs around the campfire with the new friends they made. They loved spending the night with their new friends and their super cool Camp Counselor. They also loved the independence. At the end of the week both my kids were happy, tired and couldn’t wait to do it again next summer.  This camp helped build their self esteem and leadership skills. Making friends was also a highlight and they are both busy planning their next adventure with the kids from camp. I love that my kids are involved with other kids that like the out of doors more than their electronics! This is definitely an experience that will positively affect both my girls’ lives and we will be signing them up again next summer!  

Keystone Science School

I think it is worth mentioning that the Keystone Science School also offers a few other programs.  The Catch Program is an after school and summer program for kids in the Summit County School District.  ‘Catch’ stands for Coordinated Approach to Child Health. These programs are offered on a sliding fee scale and teach healthy physical activity and eating habits, while having fun.  Keystone Science School also offers a Girls In Stem Program. It is an empowering, hands-on program that brings real-world learning in a fun environment. Female STEM professionals are involved in the program to help support females students who want to enter the male-dominated workforce, in science and math.

Whichever program you and your child pick, they are guaranteed to learn and grow so much, while having the best time of their lives.  The Keystone Science School is an amazing experience for kids!

Fishing for Fun on Lake Dillon with Big Ed’s Fishing Adventures

Coming to Keystone in the summer is a family tradition.  We bring 4 generations of family from grandparents to little kids.  We stay in one of SummitCove Lodging’s large, beautiful homes, this summer it was the Keystone Grand Lodge #633. We always plan group activities but with varied age groups and interests, we have found it challenging to find an activity that everyone wants to do and can do.  However, this summer we found the perfect outing for everyone in our family! Big Ed’s Fishing Ventures! We have a bunch of fisher people in the family and a few that have never fished at all. The wonderful part about Big Ed’s is they had a boat big enough for all of us and for the family that did not want to fish it was only $40.00 for them to come on the boat with us.  SummitCove also had a coupon so the kids could fish for free with a paying adult in their summer discount book. It was something everyone in our group could enjoy and afford!

Image result for big eds fishing

We had a beautiful day on Lake Dillon.  The water was calm and the views were amazing!  Our fishing guide was fantastic and knew exactly where to take us to catch the most fish.  We caught Rainbow and Brown Trout. The kids were delighted with how many fish they caught and the more serious fisher people could not believe the size of the trout.  Our non fishing family members said, they would not have missed this day on the Lake and watching everyone catch fish was a highlight. At the end of our fishing trip our guide felt like family and he gave us so much information about the area that we never knew!  

 

In the winter Big Ed’s even offers ice fishing trips!  Honestly, I have had zero interest in ever doing this but after spending a day on the lake with Big Ed’s Fishing Ventures there is no way we are not coming back to try ice fishing with them in the winter.  It will be the day we rest our ski legs, but still enjoy the Colorado sunshine!

 

Big Ed’s made our summer trip to Keystone memorable.  The photos we took, the fish we caught and the memories we made are some of our favorites from this trip.  We look forward to coming back and creating more family memories with Big Ed’s.

First-Ever Disc Golf Pro-Am Tournament This August at Arapahoe Basin

Just 7 miles east of Keystone is Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort.  You may be familiar with the world class skiing offered there.  In the summertime the mountain opens up to an array of activities, including Disc Golf. Arapahoe Basin will host its first ever sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association event this summer on Saturday, August 3, and Sunday, August 4.  Payouts will go to pro level down to novice and junior divisions.  

Admission to compete in this event is $70 for the pro and open divisions, $40 for the advanced divisions and $25 for the junior division and general entry. Check in for the event on Saturday, Aug. 3, will take place between 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. at the ski area’s guest services building, followed by a players meeting in the Mountain Goat Plaza base area between 8:30 – 9 a.m. Disc golfers will then head to the first hole, with play beginning at approximately 9:45 a.m. Tournament play will go to approximately 4:30 p.m. each day.  The tournament is non-refundable and will go on rain or shine.

If you just want to practice your skills the course is open every day except tournament days. The course, featuring all par-3 holes, is free to play, and it starts in the base area, climbs up to the top of North Fork then loops around to the Pallavicini chair and back to the base area.

To register for the tournament and for more information, visit: Bit.ly/ABasinAlpineOpen. For more information on disc golf at A-Basin, visit: ArapahoeBasin.com/Summer-Disc-Golf/.

Summer Chuckwagon Dinner Wild West Fun Perfect for Our Keystone Family Reunion

Our family reunion was in Keystone, CO this summer.  We booked our lodging with SummitCove Vacations and they did an amazing job with our reservations, keeping us organized and helping us plan activities.  One suggestion they made was going on a chuck wagon dinner with Two Below Zero. Not only was this the best suggestion but SummitCove also gave us a coupon for 10% off.  Regular price is $69 for ages 13 years-adult, $49 for ages 4-12 years and kids under 3 years are free. This experience was some of the best money we spent on our vacation! 

 

I called Two Below Zero and spoke to a friendly and informative lady.  She explained that the Chuck Wagon Rides are about 3 hours and include the wagon ride, dinner and a Wild West Show.  She said they also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options at dinner. I was glad I called in-advance because we have a large family and much to my surprise they had room for 35 of us, so I booked our chuck wagon dinner.  No one really knew what to expect but everyone was looking forward to it!

Summer chuckwagon rides
The ride to dinner! So much fun!

 

Finally, it was vacation time and the night for our Chuck Wagon Dinner with Two Below Zero.  We arrived at their office in Frisco and the Cowboys loaded us up on buckboard wagons.  The wagons were pulled by large, gentle mules. Our Cowboy drove the mules and guided us through a beautiful forest, with amazing views, to their campsite where we would eat our dinner.  It is a good idea to put on sunscreen and bring sunglasses. We also brought light weight jackets for the ride back. The campsite also had a game corral to play in while we waited for dinner.  The kids and adults played horse shoes, cowboy golf, corn hole and tried ropin’. None of us were very good at ropin’ but we were all good at eating the fresh, homemade biscuits with honey!

 

Next a dinner bell was rung and we sat down for dinner.  We were served delicious BBQ beef brisket and BBQ chicken.  We ate savory cornbread, corn on the cob and delicious beans.  For dessert we enjoyed a rustic warm apple cobbler. We also ordered beer and wine for the adults.  We had full bellies and the next thing we knew there was a bunch of hootin’ and hollerin’ and the Wild West Show began!

 

From the youngest member of our family (3 years old) to the oldest member of our family (77 years old) we were delighted by The Jackman Brother’s hilarious play!  It is a comic act with the Sheriff chasing “the bad guy”. These brothers perform amazing stunts and involved the audience. My daughter and nephew were picked to participate for part of the act and it was a highlight for the entire family!

 

Summer Wagon Rides Colorado
Enjoying the Wild West Themed Dinner

Before you know it the sun is going down behind the mountains and it is time to get back on the wagons and return.  We watched an amazing sunset and then the stars started to slowly pop out. Everyone is smiling from ear to ear. We talk, laugh and cuddle our kids on the way back.  At the end we thank our Cowboy guide and tip him kindly. He told us jokes, stories and gave us cool information about the area.  

 

We get back to our cars and we realize that for the past 3 hours we were not in 2019, were back in the Wild West with the beauty of the Rocky Mountains all around us.  It was an experience our family will never forget and one of the highlights of our family reunion. We live an hour away and plan to come back with friends and anyone who comes to visit us.  Two Below Zero does an amazing job and we can’t wait to come back and share the experience with more people!