Vista Verde Ranch Luxury Resort Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:58:40 +0000 en hourly 1 Vacation with the Griswolds – February 2018 Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:37:44 +0000 January was the month of radio interviews for the ranch. We were asked by two different blog radio shows to chat with them about Vista Verde. It was fun to chat with both hosts, and I got a little insight into the world of blog radio shows. Both of the hosts were intrigued to learn about dude ranch vacations, and it was fun to explain to their listeners how a luxury ranch vacation is quite different than what people remember from the movie “City Slickers.” In addition, opening up their eyes to winter ranch vacations brought on a lot of questions about what you can do at a ranch in the winter months. I had a ton of fun chatting with Steve and Lisa Griswold from Vacation with the Griswolds and am hoping they come out to the ranch with their kids someday soon! You can read their blog post (Vista Verde–this is not your normal ski vacation) as well as listen to their interview.

Parents Magazine – January 2018 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:56:53 +0000 Wow, to make it into Parents Magazine is quite an honor, and we are grateful for Karen Cicero including Vista Verde in her article about the 10 Best Snow Resorts. With the kids program kicking back into gear this coming weekend, the timing is perfect to be celebrating family snow vacations at the ranch. Bring on the snow, bring on the giggles, and bring on the hot chocolate! Read the article…..

The Telegraph- November 2017 Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:24:39 +0000 A bit late to post this one, but what a wonderful article by Stephen Wood about his experience coming to Steamboat Springs for the Cowboy Downhill race, followed by a visit to Vista Verde Ranch. He marries the Western lifestyle of Steamboat Springs with the ranch vacation experience with wonderful British wit. Read the article….

Dude Ranch Life: The VVR Book Edition Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:56:51 +0000 When you live in a place with limited bandwidth and spotty cell phone service, there tends to be an inclination to either go to the dark side or just read a lot of books. As we prefer the latter option, there tend to always be a lot of great book recommendations that come from our staff. This week we share some great suggestions that tie into our local area and activities we like to pursue.

Recommended by Beka
Hiking the Boat by Diana Crane-White: We use this book all the time when trying to learn more about the history and surroundings of the beautiful trails we use year around. It is focused on summer but has many useful and fun facts and advice about the area. It’s a must have, even as an encyclopedia for hiking the areas around Vista Verde Ranch in the summer. It’s hard to find in any shops outside Steamboat Springs but can be ordered online.

Recommended by “Zen Ben”
Horses Never Lie and Considering The Horse by Mark Rashid: These are two wonderful books that help introduce true horsemanship to anyone interested in learning more about horses. These books help transform the old mindset of “breaking the horse” and the old cowboy into the new trusted-based relationship through passive leadership. True horse people start with trust as the foundation to build a relationship with their horse. I read this book faster than I read Harry Potter!

Recommended by Devyn
Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden: This is a true story of two adventurous East Coast society girls who take teaching jobs west of Steamboat Springs in the Elkhead Mountains. This book is seamlessly written, with beautiful descriptions of the landscape, great stories from the wild west, and historical information.

Dude Ranch Life: All kinds of babies Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:56:01 +0000 With the large staff filled with young people starting off in life, we always have a stream of ranch babies to cuddle and love on. And we’re not even referring to the cute foals that arrive every spring. We’re talking about little people! As one set grows up, another arrives, and 2018 is no different than the past several years.

At this point it’’ pretty hard to hide the fact that Beka and Michael are expecting a little one to come skiing out to join them on their many adventures at the end of March. Not that anyone was trying to hide it, but somehow it flew under my radar to make a big announcement last summer when we heard the great news. Of course, Beka hasn’t let pregnancy slow her down much, and she’s still getting out and enjoying her time recreating in the snow as long as possible. We can’t wait to meet this little girl soon, and we will keep you all posted of her arrival.

Adding to the excitement there was another baby announcement recently. Must be something in the water up at the Adventure Center, as Ben and Addie will be welcoming their first child mid-summer. Wow, we’re going to have some active little kiddos cruising around this ranch pretty soon. I suppose Eamon will finally get a run for his money!

What a great place to start a family, and what a great place to grow up! We look forward to meeting these new additions to our ranch family.

My winter ranch vacation: Poppy’s 5 perfect days at VVR Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:51:36 +0000 It has been fun to ask different guests about what their 5 perfect days at the ranch look like to them. Twelve-year-old Poppy represents the age that I want to be at the ranch–when you get to enjoy all the fun, but don’t have to foot the bill! I interviewed her when she was at the ranch over the holidays, and here is how she broke down her perfect 5 days of a winter vacation at Vista Verde.

Day 1
Definitely need to start the trip off right with a tubing party with the kids and the kid wranglers. What makes it even better is a break in the middle of the fun for hot chocolate and apple cider.
Poppy has figured out that the best way to play out her time at Vista Verde is to spend some time enjoying the kids program mixed in with sharing experiences with her family. So, in the afternoon, she would rally her mum, dad, and brother to go out on a family snow shoe tour with a guide. There are so many places to explore, that she would leave it up to the guide to pick the best spot where the powder is the most fresh that day.

Day 2
After breakfast with her family, Poppy would head over to the indoor arena to join the kids and play games, and learn how to stay on her horse. This is a big deal for Poppy, as she has been a little nervous about riding. Zip is her main man, and despite his tall size, his gentle spirit shines through and comforts her a bit. After some instruction as well as horseback games, she starts feeling a lot more comfortable on Zip and the smile gets bigger and bigger on her face.
Once again, following a hearty lunch in the dining room with the staff, other guests, and her family, her parents and brother strap on skis with her and they go out to explore the back country with one of the ranch guides.

Day 3
Today Poppy is going to start off the morning with an invigorating ski with her folks. A stop to build a snow pit and make a fire only make the adventure even more fun. Hot chocolate again? You bet!!
After burning all those calories skiing, everyone in the family is hungry so they make sure not to miss the lunch bell and warm up by the fire.
Next up is a trail ride with the kids program crew, followed by grooming Zip and braiding his mane and tail. It’s nice to get that time to pamper her horse, and Poppy enjoys making Zip look fabulous.

Day 4
It’s been a while since she’s been on the tubing hill, and it is such a highlight for a kid who likes to giggle, so she heads up on the snowmobiles with all the other kids joining the kids program that morning. The squeals of delight are heard all the way down at the lodge as the kids sail down the hill on the tubes. And, the icing on the cake is that Poppy gets a ride back up the hill on the back of a snowmobile after each trip down. Hot chocolate and apple cider again mid-morning? Yep!
Following lunch, Poppy heads back up to the kids hut to join the kids in making ice sculptures and snow treats. What, you haven’t made a snow treat at Vista Verde before? Well, you might need to track down Poppy to find out the secret recipe.

Day 5
Oh boy, it’s the last day….how hard it is to pick the grand finale! Poppy decided that a snowshoe with her family in the morning would be a great way to wrap up a wonderful family vacation. Of course, stopping for treats along the way is a must.
Just because it is a family vacation, and Poppy knows she has a great family, she is going to opt for a trail ride all together for their last afternoon. Even better would be to order up some light snow falling from the sky to mute the sounds and make the ride even more peaceful and enjoyable.

My winter ranch vacation: Max’s 5 perfect days at VVR Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:50:58 +0000 Here’s the guy who has been coming to Vista Verde since he was a little tike, and has now been at the ranch during both the summer and winter time. So, how does a veteran VVR guest play out his 5 perfect days? Max shared with me his vision of 5 perfect days over breakfast when he was at the ranch recently.

Day 1
Max didn’t hesitate to suggest that he would start his stay off with a horsemanship clinic. He acknowledged that riding a horse is much like riding a bike, and that a refresher on his technique is always a good way to get tuned up for the rest of his stay. It’s time to reconnect with his buddy Rebel and get his timing and cues sharpened up with KP’s instruction.
Over lunch, Max reconnects with his family, and lingers over coffee with his grandma. She’s been bringing him to the ranch for years, and they have shared so many memories here together. This is a special place where they enjoy long conversations and tales of the trail together.
After spending the morning inside the indoor arena, it’s time to get out and get moving, so Max chose to go cross country skiing that first afternoon. It’s a good intro for him as he hasn’t spent as much time at the ranch in the winter as he has in the summer. This intro to skiing gets him dialed in so he is able to do more and advance throughout his stay at the ranch.

Day 2
Now that he’s feeling more acclimated, Max is ready to hit it hard today. The morning is a backcountry ski, and it’s amazing with fresh snow having fallen overnight. The powder is light and fluffy, and the scenery is glorious. Almost so much that he doesn’t realize that he is working pretty hard as the guides see a young, fit guy and decide to push him a bit.
The warm fire in the Lodge and a big lunch are a welcome sight after that big ski. It’s wonderful that when you’re a young guy packing away the calories you can just keep eating and eating at the ranch! It’s good to catch up with his little brother and hear about what fun he had that morning as well.
Fueled up and recharged, Max jumps onto snowshoes for the afternoon. It is fun to be able to tackle terrain he might not have wanted to attempt on skis, but have no problem climbing up hills and meandering through tight trees on the snowshoes. I’m guessing this is a night that Max barely makes it through dessert before he falls asleep.

Day 3
Now it’s time to get back on Rebel, and Max is really looking forward to the new clinic that Ben Y-H is leading this winter called Zen and the Art of Horsemanship. Max points out how cool it is to stop thinking about himself as a rider and instead think of his horse as an extension of himself. During the clinic he finds himself tuning into the smaller, subtle details of riding, which is eye-opening and exciting to notice.
After yesterday’s epic outings, a trail ride with his family sounds kind of nice today. Mellow, scenic, relaxing, and then, look at that, there is time for a dip in the hot tub before dinner and the music show that night!

Day 4
Having rested yesterday, Max is ready to strap on snowshoes for an all-day outing. The crew going on the trip pack lunches and hit the trial mid-morning. It’s a highlight for this California guy to be walking across a frozen lake, with a view of Hahn’s Peak in the distance. Also, having been to the ranch so many times in the summer, it’s fun to experience a new version of places he’s been before–like this lake where he’s dipped his hand into the cool water in the summer, but is now literally walking on water as he snowshoes across to the other side!

Day 5
That final day has proven to be a tough one for all of those who I’ve asked to craft their perfect 5 days….so tough to pick that final wow moment. Max settles on a final backcountry ski to hone his skills. Maybe some ups and downs to practice technique, so next time he’s back on skis he’ll be able to start a jump ahead with his improved skills.
To wrap up a great trip with his family, they will go on another trail ride to enjoy the views around the ranch on horseback. This also gives him a chance to say goodbye to Rebel and have a final moment of time together before Max has to leave the ranch.
Another great version of how to enjoy the ranch. There are so many different ways one could play out their 5 perfect days at Vista Verde. What would yours look like?

My winter ranch vacation: Wanda’s 5 perfect days at VVR Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:50:21 +0000 There are few guests who are bigger fans than Wanda. Ok, maybe some are pretty close, but what we love about Wanda is her enthusiasm for snow and being at Vista Verde in the winter. So, it was no surprise that, when I asked her to send me what her 5 perfect days at the ranch look like, I received a bit of a novel in reply. It made me excited about winter just reading her descriptions! So, from the Southern empty nester who dreams of fresh powder, here is Wanda’s take on 5 perfect days at Vista Verde.

Day 1
My morning starts with an early morning soak in the hot tub. Dawn is breaking, it is snowing, the only sounds are the horses in the winter pasture. Then to the lodge for my favorite breakfast of VVR branded pancakes with breakfast potatoes & thick cut bacon. The excitement of planning our first full day of activities… must include tubing!!! Off to the Nordic center to meet our group & on the snowmobile up the hill we go to tube down & ride back up..repeat x10 then to the Nordic Center to warm up and talk with the staff & guests with a cup of hot cider.
A quick walk to the barn to check on the horses & off to lunch. Schedule for the afternoon… snowshoe to Elk River (love this trip): the snow is deep, the water is frozen & we snowshoe right on the river.
We have definitely reached our 10,000 step mark. Back to the cabin for a shower in our luxurious bathroom & a quick nap.
Happy hour at 6:00, amazing dinner, and another walk to the barn for the barn dance with staff & guests!! I wish I could remember what I learned the year before.
We fall into our soft comfy bed, happy to be in this amazing place.

Day 2
Up early. It is really snowing. Take a long walk around the ranch, just enjoying the beauty. We can smell the bacon cooking. Down to breakfast for some fresh fruit and amazing granola. Oh… special… grits for breakfast!!! Off to track ski. The trail is groomed, and there is fresh champagne powder in the tracks. A quick change into snowshoes & off to the mare barn to check on all the “girls.”
Ready for a bowl of hot soup & a sandwich. We are ready for a snowshoe trip to Pearl Lake. Love the hike in & out. 10,000 steps again today!
Hot shower, quick nap & ready for dinner!!! Great meal with old & new friends we have met at the ranch over these 12 years. Always wonderful to reconnect. Excited about our schedule tomorrow. The weather calls for snow & more snow. “Early to Bed, Early to Rise!”

Day 3
How I love the hot tub soak to start my day… cup of hot coffee and total silence.
I dream of the sound of “crunch” as we walk to breakfast. Dreaming of pancakes!!! Need the carbs for the energy to handle our busy schedule!! (Justification) We are headed to the Continental Divide on the back of the snowmobile. What an adventure!!! We repeat this trip every year. I cannot get enough of the beautiful landscape. Hoping for another lesson on “avalanche science.”
Ready for a quick lunch and off to feed the horses. They are so beautiful as they run behind the sled in the deep snow, ready for some fresh hay. I hear the tubing hill calling my name. Who would believe a 70-year-old woman would still enjoy that “childhood”memory. Many times up & down and landing in the soft powder at the bottom. The guides seem to enjoy their trips up & down as much as we do.
Time for a break & a nap. Seems to be a common thread every day about this time.
Ready for another great meal… wine pairing tonight. Such fun as Chef Chol comes out and interacts so personally with us. A great time after dinner to sit in front of the fireplace and plan Day 4. The walk back to our cabin with the snow falling always makes me smile & makes me even more excited to see how much falls during the night. I will be up peeking out many times before dawn.

Day 4
Today we are off on another adventure…. Our first try at the Hinman Lake snowshoe. It has been on our radar for three years, and today we are going to give it the old North Carolina try! Could be a very short day… or a very long day.
Lunch & a relaxing sleigh ride… a time to huddle & cuddle with my amazing husband. (With Finn in the front keeping an eye out).
Love having the casual dinners with staff and out for an entertaining evening with the Farwell Mountain Band for a little singing & dancing.

Day 5
Last day. This is always the hardest to plan. How do you get everything else you want to do into one day. I have not ridden in the indoor arena. I have not been on one trail ride. We have not been to Hahn’s Peak Lake.
Ok. Decision time… since it is snowing so beautifully here, we are heading out on trail ride…. then we will strap on a pair of skis and ski around the Ranch until lunch.
Ending up at Hahn’s Peak Lake for our final adventure. There is just “so much to do… so little time.”

Travel Channel – February 2018 Tue, 06 Feb 2018 19:52:43 +0000 With Valentine’s Day coming soon, many people are turning their thoughts to romance. The folks over at Travel Channel put together a list of luxury ranches that are just right for romance. And look at that, we were included in the list! We would agree that staying in a cozy cabin with a crackling fire in the wood burning stove, relaxing in the hot tub while you watch the snow falling, sharing new adventures with your loved one, and enjoying a glass of wine and a gorgeous meal are all a great recipe for romance! Read the article…..

The Spotlight is on Cheryl Levesque Thu, 25 Jan 2018 16:59:29 +0000 It’s been a while since we’ve featured a staff member, and the stars aligned this week to put the spotlight on Cheryl Levesque. Why? Because we are going to be handing over the reins of our Instagram and Facebook accounts for a while to Cheryl, so it’s great for you all to meet who will be the face behind the posts this winter! Both Steph and Devyn have found themselves in the weeds a bit this winter, with so many great projects to tackle and so many great guests to entertain, so Cheryl is helping lighten our loads while the ranch is covered in snow.

After graduating High School, Cheryl was working as a secretary for an Optometrist and Personal Assistant for a Psychiatrist. Realizing that she had no desire to go to college, at the time, and wasn’t feeling fulfilled in the 9-5 job life, she decided to spend some time doing things that she enjoyed and packed up and moved to Colorado. Before coming to Vista Verde, Cheryl had worked at a couple other guest ranches in Colorado–working for 3 summers with one and the winter season with the other. She first heard of Vista Verde through a friend who had worked for us for a few seasons, and then through her sister, who was (and still is) working as a line cook at the ranch. Missing her sister and ready to experience a new environment she joined the VVR team in August of 2017 as a line cook alongside her sister. This winter she branched out to join the team in the office crew, and is learning all the behind the scenes workings of a dude ranch. Cheryl enjoys the great outdoors and being able to be active in them by hiking, biking, running, riding, and now in the snow! One of her more memorable experiences was getting to trek through Nepal and the Himalayan mountains. While there she volunteered with a local café and got to meet many locals and travelers both. She’s looking forward to going trekking through Norway and Europe this spring during our off season break!

We look forward to seeing what Cheryl finds to share with all of you on our social media accounts. If you aren’t already following us on Instagram and Facebook, tune in and stay up to date on what’s going on at the ranch!