Vista Verde Ranch http://www.vistaverde.com Luxury Resort Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:39:08 +0000 en hourly 1 Creating a better family vacation http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/02/creating-a-better-family-vacation/ Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:49:56 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25565 What makes a great family vacation? Well, in our mind it is when everyone in the family has fun and amazing memories are created together. At Vista Verde, we believe that part of the magic of the best family vacation is to have options for families to enjoy adventures together, but also to split up and pursue their own interests. With that in mind, we have always poured our energy into our kids programs. Over the years, the kids program turned into a kids program and a teen program. Now, starting in 2017 we will be adding a tween program.

We’ve recognized the desire of our guest kids for a little more personalized experience while they are at the ranch. Maybe you remember your middle school dance, where some of the young folks want to slow dance, others want to talk, and some want to go outside and play games. It is no different here at the ranch – kids all develop and grow in different ways and at different rates. Our newly added tween program will mean the kids, tweens, and teens will each have their own activities and adventures. The breakdown of the groups is based on a typical US school set up with the kids program geared for kids entering 1st-5th grades (6-10 years), the tweens will represent kids entering middle school grades (11-13 years), and the teen program will be for kids entering high school grades (14-18 years). Knowing that not all kids enter the same grade at the same age, we will adjust as needed each week based on the overall makeup of the kids here.

The kids and teen programs will stay mostly the same, as there are so many tried and true favorites, but with some new twists and turns just to spice things up. The tween program will take the best of both programs so we retain some childlike fun while still bringing in many of the cool adventures that the teens enjoy.

Also, we are excited to introduce Mandy Anzalone and Addie Simms as the new heads of the kids programs. Mandy worked at the ranch in the late-nineties as a wrangler, and is returning after spending the past 15 years in education and starting a family. She is excited to be back at the ranch and putting her background in education into play by helping oversee the kids programs. Addie is another educator who spends the school year working at the North Routt Charter School. Addie is an avid outdoorswoman which makes sense as she is married to one of our ace guides Ben S. These two are working diligently on updating the programs, fine tuning the details, and preparing for a wonderful summer season. We are excited about all they are bringing to the ranch with their professionalism, knowledge, and enthusiasm.

So grab your kids and pack your bags (ok, maybe just book your reservation) for an amazing family vacation at Vista Verde Ranch this summer.

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Equine Elementary School http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/02/equine-elementary-school/ Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:42:47 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25549 Every year we have a new “kindergarten” class come through the ranch. These kids are the young colts who were born and raised here who are ready to take the next step and start learning the ropes of being a riding horse. Here is a quick update on some of these little guys in the VVR Elementary School, and how they are doing. If you’ve been to the ranch in the past 5 or so years, you might remember some of these names from when they were cuddly little foals.

Typically with the colts during their 2-year-old year we start doing some work on the ground, put a saddle on them, and maybe sit on them just a bit. Then, when they are in their 3-year-old we year get to take it to the next level and ride them and get them to master the basics. A few trail rides for exposure that summer, but still just light riding while they are growing physically and emotionally. During their 4 year old year we hand them over to wranglers to start exposing them to more terrain and different riders and get them to gain confidence out in the big, bad world. Finally, by the time they are 5 we start handing them over to guests.

Chisolm-5- He’s gone through the training program, he’s been tested out on the trails, and is ready to start taking guests on rides!
Junior– 5- Part puppy dog and part horse, Junior is little and athletic. He’s graduated the training program and is ready for smaller guests to start riding him.
Malia– 4- This gorgeous filly has about 50 rides so far and she’s coming along nicely. As with most of the 4-year-olds, she will probably have a wrangler riding her on easy trail rides this summer so she can get used to the trails and get stronger before we ride her harder in the coming years.
Magnum– 4- He’s a late bloomer and still looks young. With just 10 rides so far we’re going to give him some time and wait for him to grow a bit more before he’s ridden harder. KP will ride him in clinics this summer given his immaturity and slower progress.
Stormy– 4- This great horse has more rides than we can count, so she’s ready to hit the trails and will be a wrangler horse this summer to gain more experience and build strength.
Rocketman– 4- This is one we are having a lot of fun with and have put a lot of rides on so far. He will get a chance being ridden by advanced guests this summer who don’t want to ride really hard.
CJ– 3- She’s willing and curious, and with about 30 rides CJ is progressing very well. KP is hoping to have her on trails a little here and there with a wrangler this summer.
Charm-3- A little slower to come along, this gal has had just 1 ride. It was a little chaotic, but she has a kind heart and KP will be riding her this summer in clinics to keep working with her
Sage– 3- She was started on the ground, and then an eye injury put her training on hold. She’s healing up, so we’re hoping to get to ride her this spring.
Sonja– 3- She’s big, beautiful, and a just a little bratty. With about 15 rides Sonja is coming along nicely despite being a tad stubborn at times. She’ll probably be on trails with a wrangler this summer.
Baretta– 3- With so many foals in the 2015 foal crop, it’s taking a while to get all of them started under saddle. Baretta is hanging out for now getting a little bigger, and KP is looking forward to getting started with this one soon.
Coming 2 year olds- Wesson, Scout, Remy, Red – KP got a saddle on Remy and Red and did a bunch of ground work with Wesson, but otherwise they are just hanging out and growing for another year before they get serious about learning. Consider that kindergarten with lots of snack breaks and recess.

 

 

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Chef’s Corner: Mushroom Risotto http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/02/chefs-corner-mushroom-risotto/ Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:38:31 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25555 Mushroom Risotto (makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

4 ounces butter
½ yellow onion, minced
2 cups carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 quart vegetable stock, simmering
½ pound mushrooms
2 ounces soy sauce
1 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream, or heavy cream)
4 ounces Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan on medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the rice and cook while stirring until a nutty smell develops. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Reduce the heat to low.
3. Cook the wine down until nearly dry while slowly stirring the rice.
4. Slowly add the vegetable stock ½ cup at a time, while stirring the rice, waiting each time for the stock to nearly evaporate.
5. Meanwhile, in a separate sauté pan, sauté the mushrooms on high heat to sear slightly. Deglaze with soy sauce and immediately remove from the heat.
6. Check the rice for tenderness, season with salt and parmesan cheese, and finish by folding in the mushrooms and crème fraiche just before serving.
7. Risotto should be a bit loose and flow on the plate.

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Winter Photography Tips http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/02/winter-photography-tips/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:41:07 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25546 Our ranch photographer Carla Jones offers a photography workshop each week to our guests. In the winter she gives our guests some really helpful tips about taking photos in the wintertime. For those of you who can’t get here for your own ranch vacation, here are Carla’s tips and tricks for you to use at home.

Also, if you are in Steamboat and want to work one-on-one with Carla, she does offer classes through the Steamboat Ski Resort.

Winter Photography Tips

KEEPING YOURSELF AND THE CAMERA WARM

Cold and frostbitten fingers may result from camera operation during severe winter weather. Avoid touching metal and exposure to wind with bare hands. Fisherman gloves with poly pro liners are great. Wear warm boots and a hat to keep you warm. Keep your camera and a spare battery near your body to keep them warm.

Do not let moisture into your camera body and avoid sudden radical changes of temperature. Keep lens and viewfinder free of ice fog and spray. Avoid breathing on camera, because the steam may condense on your lens and freeze will leave an icy coating. Use a protective filter like the Sky1A, which will also give the picture a bit of a warming cast.

EXPOSURE

Obtaining a proper exposure on snow scenes is often a tricky matter. Your light meter wants to make every scene a medium-gray tone and this can make the snow look gray. You want the snow to look white, not dull gray. Depending on how much of the scene is white, over-exposing will help in making the snow look white. Most cameras have a +/- button. This button is great for over-exposing. Check the histogram to make sure you haven’t gone too far over-exposing a created clipping. Remember, how much to over-expose depends on how much the scene is white with snow. Sunsets and alpenglow you will need to under exposure, going any where from – 1 to –2.

TIPS FOR GENERAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Seeing is most important. Don’t get bogged down with the technical side of the camera. Watch the weather and shoot on the edge of darkness (Morning or Dusk) The quality of light and seeing it is very important.

1. Side lighting will snap out shadows on sunny days and give a 3/D appearance. Enhance a winter scene by including a bit of color from a person’s clothing or a building. Red or yellow are great colors to use.
2. Back lighting of frosty trees and weeds brings out the sparkle of the snowflakes. Morning light is best before the sun melts the frost.
3. Diffused light—–Overcast snowy conditions can set a great mood. Softer light is great for photographing people. You won’t have harsh shadows on the persons face.
4. Magic light-The wow light. Late afternoon when a storm is clearing, the sun breaks through with dark sky behind your subject. Late afternoon can create a warmer tone to the pictures. It is also best for capturing the pink alpenglow on Mt Werner or the Zirkels.
Night scenes are special in the wintertime. Cabins with the lights on can be shot at dusk and where there is still a little light in the sky. Use a tripod to keep the camera steady.

PHOTOGRAPHY TELLS A STORY

When you find a scene you like take several shots. Work it with different angles (high and low), different lenses (wide angle and telephoto). Try different apertures F22 vs. F2.8 for depth of field or different sharpness. Look at where the light is hitting the subject. Adjust the White Balance if shooting indoors or outside. If a scene or subject catches your eye take the time to explore the composition. Be sensitive to the distracting foregrounds or backgrounds. Moving a foot one way or the other can make a difference. Keep it simple! The subject is very important. Make sure it is a good subject.

Composition
Rule of Thirds —–Divide the picture into thirds. Put subject in the intercepting lines
Leading Lines— fences-roads-streams and rivers
Patterns —-A color interrupts color patterns
Frames —-–window-trees

Landscapes (Long shots, medium, and close-ups) First shoot without the tripod to find the spot you like than set the camera on the tripod.
People (try to get a series of photos of someone doing something)
Special events (Ask what is going to happen, when and where. The more you know the better the chance you will get in a good position to get the best shots.)
Do research on area visiting. Look at online photos- get maps and study them.

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Taking the Kids – February 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/02/taking-the-kids-february-2017/ Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:19:11 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25551 She travels the world exploring great family vacation options, and last week Eileen Ogintz made a stop at Vista Verde to play in the snow. Read Eileen’s trip diary that she put together for her family travel website.

FAR FROM THE SKI CROWDS: VISTA VERDE GUEST RANCH IN COLORADO

SNOW SHOEING, BACK COUNTRY SKIING AND HORSEBACK – VISTA VERDE GUEST RANCH

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Hero and Leander – January 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/01/hero-and-leander-january-2017/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 20:00:42 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25538 We discovered the website Hero and Leander when they wrote this nice article about the best USA ranch holidays. What in interesting website! It is designed to be the destination for couples with the concept of “Enjoy life with your partner. Be inspired to experience life together.” Maybe it is because we are in the midst of our adult-only vacation times at the ranch and have couples celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and honeymoons all at the same time, but we fully subscribe to the concept of couples getting away to reconnect. And a ranch vacation is a great way to do just that! Read the article…..

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Dude Ranch Life: Snow, videos, snow, honeymooners, snow, photos, snow http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/01/dude-ranch-life-snow-videos-snow-honeymooners-snow-photos-snow/ Tue, 24 Jan 2017 21:39:34 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25534 It’s been a whirlwind of a winter season so far here in the Steamboat Springs area. Between everything we have going on at the ranch and the amazing snowfall we’ve had in 2017 everyone around here has been pretty busy! So, what’s been taking up all our time?

First of all, we’ve had some amazing guests with whom we are having a blast sharing our winter wonderland. Some long time guests have been visiting as well as those new to the winter guest ranch experience. We’ve had a ton of honeymooners–at one point we had 4 couples here at the same time on their honeymoon! This week we have 3 couples celebrating their wedding with a winter honeymoon in the mountains. It is so much fun having those couples here and hearing their stories and helping them relax and have some fun after the big event. And then there are the guests who have been coming for years which make coming to work feel like a family reunion. Good times all around, and that keeps us busy just taking care of these guests and getting them out to play in the snow.

Speaking of snow, you’ve heard, right? If not, here’s the quick recap. In November and December we had 82 inches of snow based on our snow specialist Bill Backer (also a specialist of a lot of other things around the ranch). Then, in early-January he logged 46 inches one week followed by a week with 54 inches. Yep, in two weeks we got as much as we had received in the two months prior! Needless to say, we had some pretty tired ranch hands and everyone was super excited when the sun finally broke out after those storms. Following a brief reprieve which allowed us to catch up on moving snow, shoveling roofs, moving more snow and shoveling more roofs, it is snowing again. We do love the snow, and it makes our winter outings more fun, but those two weeks sure were a lot of heavy lifting, literally!

On top of all that we’ve also had some special events going on at the ranch. A few weeks ago our friend Seth Dahl from Big Cedar Media came in to shoot some winter video footage for us to use for promotional purposes. Seth is a blast to work with, and he shoots amazing video footage. Those were some pretty crazy days of riding around on snowmobiles, lining up models, getting the right angle, and doing that all as the snow kept piling up! Following that, this week we have Gigi Embrechts here at the ranch leading a group of women in a photography workshop. Her photos are amazing (she loves photographing draft horses as you can see in the above photo), and the gals are having a blast taking photos of everything and everyone at the ranch. Somehow today my sneaking in to the barn to take a photo of them photographing Troy turned into them handing me a horse and clicking away. I’ll be a little more careful where I show up next time they are shooting!

So that’s the scoop from here at Vista Verde. If you’ve been considering a romantic getaway, we do still have space available around Valentine’s Day. And, if you’re wondering what to do with your kids for Spring Break vacation, how about bringing them to a winter wonderland where they can ski, tube, ride, and generally wear themselves out in the snow with our amazing staff while you get to relax a bit? Give Devyn or Melissa a call and they can answer any questions about our winter program.

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Dallas Morning News- January 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/01/dallas-morning-news-january-2017/ Mon, 23 Jan 2017 19:17:12 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25531 As people start to look forward and think about their summer plans, journalist Lynn O’Rouke Hayes wrote this article for the Dallas Morning News dreaming of cozy cabins, campfires and lots of horses. Read the article….

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Travel Weekly – January 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/01/travel-weekly-january-2017/ Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:15:24 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25525 People who don’t downhill ski sometimes shy away from a winter vacation in the mountains. But, according to Travel Weekly alternatives abound for non-skiers in snow country. And we couldn’t agree more! Read the article….

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Horse Illustrated – January 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/01/horse-illustrated-january-2017/ Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:12:22 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25522 With a sub-title of “Dashing through the snow becomes reality,” journalist Audrey Pavia captures the essence of a winter horseback riding vacation at Vista Verde Ranch. Read the article……

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