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. It didn't take long for Cholly to realize that Vista Verde was his true home, and he returned as Executive Chef in 2012 with his wife, Alaya, whom he met at VVR. They have a little boy named Eamon and love spending time with him along with their little girl, Saoirse! Some of Chef Cholly’s interests include: hiking, fly fishing, camping, bow hunting 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: Mohawk, NY
Jason comes to us with many years of experience as a chef. He is excited to join the Vista Verde staff, and is even more excited to be in Colorado for another beautiful summer. During the winter, Jason loves to ski and snowmobile, and even brought his own snowmobile to the ranch! During the summer, he loves hiking and fly fishing.
Pastry Chef and Sous Chef
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 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. After one season in Wyoming, she found her tribe here at VVR. When not in the kitchen, she loves to hike, go out on the all-day rides and ski. Nathan and Melissa were married in October 2016, a ranch wedding and a perfect match.
Hometown: San Diego, CA
School: University of Colorado
Peter recently finished his freshman year of college, studying Computer and Electrical Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. Peter has been an avid mountain biker ever since his first ride at Vista Verde, over a decade ago. His other interests include coding, rock climbing and trail building. Peter worked as a bike mechanic at University Bikes in Boulder last fall, and is planning on being a teaching assistant this coming semester. Being a part of the ranch staff has been a long standing goal for Peter, and he is very excited to return to his home away from home. Fun Fact: Peter was a competitive pipe organist and pianist for much of his childhood.
CPR, AED Certified
Hometown: Bloomington, IN
Jake has always loved nature and the great outdoors. Camping and hiking is his idea of a fun weekend, all learned from being a Boy Scout and even achieving eagle rank. Jake is a geek of the highest caliber. Anything from Dungeons and Dragons to anime if it's nerdy Jake has probably done it. However just because he is a nerd doesn't mean he doesn't like sports. Jake loves skydiving and archery. Jake is excited to be working at VVR and being back in the states.
Hometown: Roanoke Rapids, NC
Sarah absolutely loves to travel. One of the main items on Sarah's bucket list is her desire to visit all 50 states and climb the highest peak in each of these states.
While she has worked in Colorado for the past 6 months, she hasn't quite found the spare time to summit Mt. Elbert's glorious peaks, but is still determined to try!
Whenever she is not hiking and dreaming of hiking, Sarah enjoys slower past-times such as reading, singing, and trying out foods of all ethnic backgrounds.
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD
School: Paint Branch High School
Wilderness First Aid
Joey was born and raised in Silver Spring, MD where he lived until he was 19. He moved out west to work with the Arizona Conservation Corps, on a back country chainsaw crew. This led to a passion for backpacking and hiking. His first backpacking trip was 48 miles through the Grand Canyon. Joey continues to travel the country and plans to visit every national park in the US. Fun Fact: He has spent his last three summers living in an RV and fishing with his friends in Alaska.
Hometown: Bolingbrook, IL
School: University of Illinois
Emily is a well-seasoned server with experience ranging from a country club in college, a neighborhood cafe in Southern California complete with celebrity sightings, and an upscale restaurant in the historic Pike Place Market of Seattle, WA. When Emily is not hard at work, she likes to play. Anything that involves a ball, cards or dice is up her alley, oh, and don't forget puzzles. Emily also enjoys music of all genres even though she is tone deaf; her mother and younger brother are the musicians in the family. Fun Fact: Emily is a lefty but plays sports right-handed. Ideal for pouring both regular and decaf simultaneously in the morning!
Hometown: Great Falls, MT
School: University of Nevada Las Vegas
Casey enjoyed going to VVR in past summers with her family so much that she decided to join the staff! Originally from Montana she has always had a love for the outdoors. She spent the last year going to school at the University of Las Vegas where she is studying elementary education. Casey enjoys hiking, riding, and anything to do with the water. Casey absolutely loves animals!
Hometown: San Diego, CA
School: University of San Diego
Charlie and this family have been long time guests of VVR and now Charlie is returning as a staff member. Charlie just finished his third year at the University of San Diego studying industrial and systems engineering with a minor in Theology. Back in California, he loves to surf, work on his 1972 Toyota Landcruiser and play on the ultimate frisbee team. Last fall Charlie studied abroad in Sydney, Australia and now he is very eager to see the rest of the world!
Hometown: Lakewood, CO
School: Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage
Dannah is a born and raised Colorado native. She's reached the summit of 8 Colorado 14ers and plans to do more. Dannah loves anything involving animals especially cats, dogs, and horses. She was always the one in her family trying to save injured birds, rabbits and any other animal or insect in need of saving. She once nursed a honey bee back to health.That is, until it stung her while she was releasing it back into the wild. Dannah loves spending time with her Australian Shepherd/Black Lab mix, Misty and her black cat, Foosa. Dannah and Misty try to go paddle boarding, hiking, and swimming together as often as they can. She also spends a great deal of time working in her garden and doing remodeling projects around her parent's house. Dannah has continued in her love for horses by receiving her Therapeutic Equine Massage Certification through the Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage. Fun Fact: Dannah made candles from scratch as a little girl. She was even tasked with making over 100 candle wedding favors for her sister's wedding.
Hometown: Clark, CO
School: Emmaus Bible College
Brooke was raised in Texas along with her five siblings. She enjoys being outdoors, especially in the beautiful Colorado mountains. Brooke loves working with people, especially kids, and she hopes to be a middle school teacher in the near future. We are so excited to have Brooke with us in the dining room this summer! Fun Fact: Her favorite pastime is drawing portraits.