On the Road: Jax to Colorado

Despite my deep love and desire to live in Ohio, I’ve lived in Florida my entire life. I know. Why trade beaches for farms? Sunshine for snow? To that I say, sunshine and beaches after 30 years get old after a while, and honestly, it was time for a change of scenery.

I’ve only seen snow twice in my life and experienced it once at my family home in Ohio with my son. It was so peaceful, quiet, and absolutely beautiful. When my son mentioned how he wanted to go see snow, I jumped at the opportunity to make that dream come true.

It was hard trying to establish which state would be the best for guaranteed snow this time of year. We could always go to our family home in Ohio, but I had never been to Maine before. Then again, I’ve also never been west of Louisville. Did I want to make sure my son got to play in the snow? Absolutely, but this was also an opportunity for new scenery for me, too. I’ve traveled to the Northeast a time or two. The Midwest was practically home for me. I decided to go for the big switch. After going back and forth, debating on where to go, we packed our bags, went to the airport, and landed in Denver, Colorado.

There are so many ski resorts in Colorado, the most well-known probably being Breckenridge. Breckenridge would’ve been my choice if it were just us on a ski or snowboard trip. Since this trip was all for Mark to see snow, we made the choice to go with the highly family-friendly resort of Keystone in Colorado.

Keystone Resort

Keystone is something out of a Hallmark movie. Walking through River Run Village in the snow reminded me of Lorelai from Gilmore Girls, the first time she said she loved snow. I would call it a winter wonderland, really. With over 3,100 acres across three peaks and five bowls, Keystone boasts a winter playground, full of endless adventure. It hosts various activities open to the public year-round, but since we went in January, it’s only natural we talk about what they offer in Winter.


Getting There

Keystone is about an hour and a half drive from Denver International Airport. If you’re not familiar with driving in snow or on ice, don’t worry. The Keystone Resort has a shuttle that will verify your flight and lodging information and will get you to and from the airport with ease. So, bring a good book, download that podcast you’ve been wanting to listen to, or just take a nap.


Keystone offers 13 different lodging options for you and your family. We stayed at the Hidden River Lodge at Keystone. Our 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo had two outdoor hot tubs, breathtaking mountain views, and easy access to the shuttles and lift. Our condo was also just a mile walk to Lakeside Village, a popular Keystone resort with upscale and relaxed dining options, events like sleigh rides, and activities like ice skating and hockey. It felt like our own little home. I’m still considering selling a kidney just for a down payment on that condo.

Things to Do

Tubing: I’ve been tubing behind a boat. It is fast, and wild, with twists and turns ending in a big splash in the water. I thought it was the most fun I’d ever have on a tube… and then we went up the Dercum Mountain Summit. I hopped in a tube and slid down the freshly groomed hill, with my son in tow. To feel like you are flying while nestled in a blow-up donut was such an exhilarating feeling. Sliding down a small part of the mountain, among the snow-covered alpines beats water tubing hands down. Keystone’s tubing was everything I expected and so much more.

Snow Forts: If you have littles that aren’t ready to ski or snowboard, don’t stress! Head up to the summit of Dercum Mountain for one of Keystone’s two Signature Snow Forts! These forts made from packed snow and carved ice gave my little one the perfect break to our day. We took some time to look at the artwork carved into the snow-dense walls. We became fascinated by the snowboarder’s face carved into the wall of crystal-clear ice. When we were ready to slow down a bit and catch our breath (because the air is definitely thinner up there), we made one or two passes down the kid-size slide and sat in the chairs to watch the skiers and snowboarders head down their trails.

Dinner and a sleigh ride: Dashing through the snow. In a two-horse open sleigh. O’er the fields we go. Laughing all the way. We did just that. Between mid-November through the end of March, Keystone offers scenic dinner sleigh rides where you and your family can enjoy the crisp winter air as you weave through the Soda Creek Valley and listen to tales of the valley’s history before heading into an original homestead to warm up with hot cocoa and a hearty homecooked meal. Enjoy the show as well known, live music is played during your meal. Don’t worry — it’s all family-friendly and kids are encouraged to choose songs, sing, and dance.

Vacation Recap

Every day, I woke up to glistening snow as it caught the sun’s rays. Every evening, I watched the sun set behind the snowy mountains, as silence fell across the valley. Colorado has a culture of its own. I hadn’t realized just how different it was until we arrived at the resort. It is a place of so much natural beauty and peace. The serene views surrounded you at every turn and were all calendar-worthy — especially for this natural-born Floridian.

When we landed in Colorado, I expected to find pretty views and a lot of snow. I expected to go skiing and sip cocoa on top of a mountain. I didn’t think that I would find so much more. We learned so much about an entire culture, unique to itself. We created memories that will hopefully stay with me until the day I lie (if they don’t, there are always photos). We learned a lot about ourselves, for instance, my son HATES gloves, my husband loved his beanie hat, and who needs a fridge or a freezer when there is fresh snow on your balcony? I learned a lot about myself. At a time when my heart was begging for solace and my mind was begging for stillness, our Colorado trip was just the beginning of my own healing. So if you need a trip that makes you feel like you’re walking on Cloud 9 in Velaris, Colorado is for you.

Brittany Hutto
Brittany Hutto was born and raised in a small (but fast-growing) town in Florida. She married her high school sweetheart and is the mother to the most kindhearted and adventurous little boy named Mark. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Florida where she majored in Public Health and Health Education. She served her community during her time working with underserved populations. After a complex pregnancy, she and her husband welcomed Mark to the world at 27 weeks and 4 days. She stepped away from her career to become a stay-at-home mom so that she could take her son to his many specialist appointments, therapies, and surgeries. She works tirelessly to ensure her son is happy, thriving, and meeting every milestone. Brittany enjoys many activities with her family. In her free time, you may find her reading a good book, spending time with her family out on the boat, DIY projects, and giving back to the local NICU. She currently manages her own blog which invites you to come along on her and her son’s journey from complex pregnancy, to the NICU, and every diagnosis and surgery in between. Brittany also manages a program called Mark’s Mission which gives back to local NICUs. She is an advocate for NICU support and research and is a current student pursuing her Master of Public Administration with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Health Care Administration at the University of North Florida. Her dream is to establish Make Your Mark as a non-profit organization to give back to more local NICUs and serve as a resource for local parents with children who have superpowers.


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