KITCHEN & DINING ROOM
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
School: CU Boulder
Cholly started of as a Sous Chef at Vista Verde in the winter of 1998. He proceeded to stay on the ranch for approximately nine years before leaving to pursue Artisan bread baking skills. Cholly soon realized that Vista Verde was his true home and moved back to Colorado in 2010 with his wife, Alaya, whom he met at VVR. They recently had a little boy named Eamon and love spending time with him. In 2012, Vista Verde offered Cholly the position as Executive Chef, where he, has since, been in charge of the wonderful food and dining program. Some of Chef Cholly’s interests include: hiking, fly fishing, camping, bowhunting and bread baking. Cholly is also a lifetime member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a member of The Bread Baker’s Guild of America since 2004.
Chef de Cuisine
Hometown: Hanford, CA
School: College of the Redwoods
John loves to travel; last year, he and his wife Erica (Head of Kids Programming) traveled around Spain and Turkey. He also likes to cook and enjoy the outdoors via hiking and camping. One can most likely find John fly fishing all around Routt County on his off time with his favorite pup, Goldie. A few of his most prized fish he has caught in the area include a 24” Brown Trout and a 26” Rainbow Trout out of the Elk River. John and Erica had their first child, Althea, in October!
Hometown: Westfield, IN
School: Ivy Tech Community College
Andrew, also known by fellow staff members as Fackler, enjoys playing guitar and backpacking. If you catch him on a good day, you can ask him to sing and play ``The Middle`` from Jimmy Eat World on the guitar (He's got a pretty good voice). For 8 years of his life, he only wore the color orange and still to this day, always wears a tie when flying on airplanes. Because of his time spent in Spain, he could eat Paella every day for the rest of his life and be fully satisfied.
Hometown: Washington D.C.
School: New York University & UC Santa Cruz
Bridgette has spent six years living in the Middle East working as a freelance camerawoman and photographer. She is currently based in Beirut. Bridgette graduated from New York University with a BFA in Photography and Imaging and a MA from UC Santa Cruz in Social Documentation. She is an old friend of John & Erica Thompson who told her about VVR. She is excited to spend this season cooking with a great team and exploring the outdoors!
Hometown: Front Royal, VA
Previous Job: Bitterroot Ranch
A life-long love of food and family led Melissa to a career in pastry arts, with a love of horses not too far behind. She attended the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and after graduation worked in both catering and fine dining. After nearly 8 years working in the hectic Washington D.C. metro, she decided to take off for some adventures in the west. This ``gypsy lifestyle`` has offered many new experiences, new friends, and the opportunity to both delight guests with great food and get the chance to spend many hours on horseback.
Hometown: Bettendorf, IA
Previous Job: Waterfall Repelling Guide
Tom is entering his third season at VVR. He loves the mountains, hiking, trail running, back country skiing and fat biking in the winter months. Tom has held a number of outdoor adventure jobs such as a waterfall repelling guide in Maui and a white water rafting guide in the Smoky Mountains.
Hometown: Denver, CO
School: University of Northern Colorado
Johnny loves experiencing and learning new things. He enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, and snowshoeing. Johnny has climbed 17 of colorado's legendary 14ers and plans to climb all 53 of them. Before Johnny started working at Vista Verde Ranch he attended the University of Northern Colorado where he ran division I Cross Country and Track and Field. At the University of Northern Colorado he majored in Business Administration. In the spring Johnny plans to backpack through Peru and and Bolivia. Johnny also plans to drive the Pan American Highway. Fun Fact: Nobody has ever beat Johnny at Tetris.
Hometown: Parker, CO
Bubba loves spending time outdoors, especially fishing. He has been involved in guest ranch services for 6 years now. Fun fact: Bubba has performed two times in the Steamboat Dance Theatre, a production that showcases many different styles of dancing. He performed a Grease and Disney Princess piece this last year and was in the barn dance scene from the film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the year before.
Hometown: Carmel, IN
School: Indiana University
This summer was Anna's return to VVR after graduating college and working in the pharmaceutical industry for a couple of years. She loves the community of the staff at the ranch and the guests that come to visit! Anna is a comedienne, singer, dabbles in martial arts, loves to knit and have a hot cup of tea by her wood-burning stove.
CPR. WFA, AED Certified
Hometown: Littleton, CO
School: University of Evansville
Previous Job: Wrangler at Glacier National Park
Alexis loves to travel, especially on road trips, and has driven across over 25 states from end to end. In college she was lucky enough to study abroad in Europe and had the opportunity to explore 6 different countries. A Colorado native, she is a huge fan of the Broncos. She has been riding horses since she was 3 years old and hopes to one day have a horse of her own.
Hometown: Plymouth, MN
Previous Job: Pandora Jewelry
Grace is a recent graduate from Normandale Community College with a degree in creative writing. After deciding to wait a year to pursue a bachelor's degree, she came upon Vista Verde in search of a new adventure! Previously she worked at Pandora Jewelry where her passion grew for customer service and she got the chance to blog for their online website. Some things that Grace enjoys are singing, baking and crafting.
Hometown: Greenleaf, WI
School: University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
Erin grew up living and working on a small family dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in May with a bachelor's degree in Communication. Shortly after graduation Erin took a seasonal job in Wyoming right outside of Jackson Hole at Lost Creek Ranch. There she worked as an office assistant and hiking guide in Grand Teton National Park. Erin loves just about any outdoor activity from water skiing to down hill skiing. She also enjoys playing the piano and watching Wisconsin sports. Go Pack Go!
Hometown: Keenesburg, CO
Previous Job: Sous Chef at Wind River Ranch
Kasandra enjoys traveling the United States as well as internationally. She loves organic farming and gardening. If she's not cooking or reading, she's probably doing Crossfit. We are thrilled to have Kasandra's kind, sweet spirit join us at the ranch. She brightens every room she walk into!
CPR and First Aid Certified
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Previous Job: Wrangler at Alaska Excursions
This is Allie's first season at Vista Verde. Previously, Allie worked as a guide on horseback in Skagway, AK. And, before that she was a professional golfer well on her way to being the female Tiger Woods. Other than golfing and horseback riding, Allie loves to hike and water ski!