Vista Verde Ranch Luxury Resort Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:30:02 +0000 en hourly 1 Travel Weekly – January 2017 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:15:24 +0000 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….

Horse Illustrated – January 2017 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:12:22 +0000 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……

Family Travel Network – January 2017 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:16:57 +0000 There are so many great reasons to come to Vista Verde Ranch for a winter vacation, and journalist Nancy Shretter from the Family Travel Network has put together an article titled 10 Reasons to Take a Winter Ranch Vacation. Read the article…..

Traveling Mom – December 2016 Wed, 28 Dec 2016 13:16:39 +0000 Following a visit with her kids in mid-December, Tami Mittan from Traveling Mom wrote up a trip review and shares all the details of what fun it is to bring your family to Vista Verde for a winter vacation. Read the article….

Dude Ranch Life: Christmas Cheer at VVR Mon, 26 Dec 2016 17:25:47 +0000 We hope you all are enjoying the holidays and sharing great moments with the people you love. Here are the ranch we have been busy little elves as we hosted families from all over the world escaping to our winter wonderland for their family vacation. The snow has been falling, the sleigh bells have been jingling, and the chefs have been cooking up a storm. Christmas at a Colorado ranch is like living in a Norman Rockwell painting.

A few nights ago, Kelli hosted the Family Tree Decorating night. Over a dozen little trees lined the Great Room hallway with one for each family. Kelli laid out a spread of supplies and suggestions for creative ornaments and decorations, and then she turned the families loose on creating their masterpiece.

Yesterday was an epic production from the kitchen. We treated our guests to breakfast in their cabins, with the guides and housekeepers delivering their meals so everyone could stay in their jammies and enjoy some family time on Christmas morning. Then, as they headed out for adventures in the snow a entourage of elves set up the most amazing feast in the Lodge. The chefs have been cooking nearly around the clock to prepare this feast, and there was a flurry of arranging furniture, decorating long tables, and making everything just perfect for the big feast. Mid-day we all met up for mimosas and a Christmas blessing to all, followed by the most gorgeous and tasty meal.

christmas cookies

The staff and the guests got cozy in the dining room with probably twice as many folks as we normally fit in there rubbing elbows and celebrating the camaraderie of the day. We all finished the meal with way too many decadent desserts that Melissa and Annie prepared for us. Following all that, most headed off for a nap or to the tubing party, as sleeping by the fire to sliding down a hill was about all anyone was up for at that point.

Today we are back to burning off all those calories while cross-country skiing through fresh snow and enjoying the memories of the white Christmas we were treated to yesterday. Here’s to a wonderful holiday season and we hope you and yours are merry and well!

Dude Ranch Life: Keeping up with the Joneses Part II Sun, 18 Dec 2016 16:23:14 +0000 On Monday we announced the exciting news of the new owners of Vista Verde. So many of you sent nice words of encouragement to them, but some of you had that concern of, “What if they change the place we love?” So, I thought it might be nice to speak to that from the perspective of someone who has been here for a long time and worked for more than one owner.

Over the past several months we have been getting to know them a little. But this week we got a chance to really dive into learning about this amazing family. Laura and Chris showed up late Wednesday night with 5 of their kids, and just left this afternoon to head back to Chicago to catch up with the rest of their family. The days they were here were action-packed and every moment was well spent. They got out on horseback, tubed with the kids, went into the back country on skis, sat through meetings with Ben, Charlie and yours truly, got trained on the behind the scenes workings, went snowshoeing (photo above is Laura coming down from Hinman Lake), hosted a staff Christmas party, and they visited with all the guests. In addition to that, they got to experience what happens when things don’t work at the ranch. The huge storm that just rolled through this area left much of Northwest Colorado without power for a period of time. As we’re a little further down the line, it took a bit longer to get power back up. Oh boy, it was an adventure. From smoking out the Great room when we lit a fire (note to self…when the power is out the fan won’t work. When the fan doesn’t work the smoke doesn’t go up the chimney), lighting lanterns as the sun went down, and at the same time dealing with the challenge of snow removal with this wet, heavy snow we got, it was a pretty realistic welcome to dude ranching. Despite the amazing facilities, the great infrastructure, and the well-versed staff, the truth is when you have this many buildings, this much extreme weather, a staff of 60, and a herd of over 100 horses, there is always something exciting going on here!

Disclaimer from the PR department: These types of situations are far and few between. This was a crazy day that will go down in history as the epic day that started the Winter 2016-17 season. One for that book about dude ranching that we’ll write someday. 

Anyway, back to the message, which is after spending the past several days with Laura, Chris and their kids we are more than confident about the direction the ranch is headed, and the fun we’ll have with this family as the owners. They are falling in love more and more with the ranch and can’t wait to be a part of everything that we’re doing. We’ll see them off and on this winter while the kids are still in school, but then come summer Laura and the kids are planning on spending most of their time out here. The coming months are going to be full of just getting to know how things work here, why we do what we do, and wrapping their heads around all that goes on behind the scenes. And we’ll be running our programs like we always have so rest assured that the same team you’ve come to know will be here doing what we do, which is to constantly look at ways to make the guest experience better.

To close, just some fun facts about the Jones:

  • They are a big sports family–runners, team sports, you name it.
  • Their youngest kids are 11 and the oldest is in college.
  • Yes, they have a 12 person passenger van they use when they are shuttling the whole crew around.
  • Chris has an unbelievable (we think photographic) memory, but he claims he doesn’t always remember names.
  • Laura mentors a group of young moms once a week.
  • Their kids are incredibly kind, respectful, fun, and game for anything.
  • The family loves to downhill ski, but just discovered backcountry skiing and are kind of addicted.



Keeping up with the Joneses Mon, 12 Dec 2016 23:44:40 +0000 We are over-flowing with enthusiasm to introduce to all of you Laura and Chris Jones, and their wonderful family of eight children as the new owners of Vista Verde Ranch.

The Joneses connection to Steamboat began when Laura traveled to Steamboat as a little girl. The visits continued, and now whether it is skiing, riding, hiking, running, rafting, or simply pondering on the beauty of God’s spectacular creation, Steamboat is a second home to the Jones family.

The seeds of the idea of a ranch were planted about 10 years ago on one of the family’s many trips to the mountains. However, it wasn’t the right time and place until about two years ago when the Joneses visits to the Steamboat area became more and more frequent. As the dream of having something “special” continued to grow it took a unique turn with the possibility of being part of Vista Verde. This past year, the idea slowly got moved from the “dream” list to the “reality” list. After a lot of prayer and hard work to put the plan into place, today Laura and Chris officially take over the reins as ranch owners.

Please join us in welcoming Laura, Chris and their kids to the VVR family. All of us at the ranch are so energized by Laura and Chris’s excitement about the ranch that it feels like Santa arrived early this year. They have consistently expressed a commitment to continuing with the mission of the ranch while never losing sight of “betterness.” We are all so thankful for the leadership, vision, and support that we had from Peggy and Jerry Throgmartin, and we look forward to the coming years with this amazing family. So here we go!

Onward and upward, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

Ben, Steph, Charlie, and the VVR crew


“There are so many things that drew us to Vista Verde. There are countless first class features. The horses, the cabins, the food, and the various facilities are all top notch. However, what stood out to us the most were the people. The people are what makes Vista Verde such a special and a truly unique place. We were completely blown away that something like this could be a possibility. We feel so fortunate and thankful to be a part of this incredible and spectacular place.”

Chef’s Corner: Chocolate Chip Cookies Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:56:21 +0000 The other day just for fun I put a photo of our cookie jar on Facebook to recognize National Cookie Day. The response was trememdous, and there were requests for cookie recipes. Since we already have our famous peanut butter cookie recipe posted, I asked the chefs for the next favorite recipe–their special chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie (makes approx. 40 cookies)

1/2 pound butter, soft
1/2 pound shortening
2 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
18 ounces chocolate chips

1. Cream the butter and sugars with a mixer or by hand until smooth
2. add the egg and vanilla extract and scrape down the bowl, mix until incorporated, but do not over mix.
3. add the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips
4. Small ice cream scoop onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees, rotating after 5 minutes for a total of 10 minutes.


Dude Ranch Life: We’ve got babies coming! Mon, 21 Nov 2016 22:30:28 +0000 Last week marked roughly the 60 day pregnancy check for our mares who were bred this past summer. Dr. Courtney Diehl came up with her ultrasound machine and checked each of the mares, and confirmed that they are all still in foal (aka expecting) and everyone is looking good! June, Teletubby, Sugar and Oakley are all well on their way to motherhood. We’re excited to have our first round of foals by our stallion Shaq due next spring. We will even have a foal due in the summer, as Oakley took a little longer to get checked into foal this year!

Now it’s time for the mares to relax, get their nails done, and eat plenty of high quality feed. Not a bad life, eh?

Carpe Travel – November 2016 Tue, 15 Nov 2016 17:17:17 +0000 Winter is coming, and Elaine Schoch, the founder of Carpe Travel, has put together a great selection of some of Colorado’s best winter accommodations. Read the article….