Vista Verde Ranch http://www.vistaverde.com Luxury Resort Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Wed, 04 May 2016 01:37:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dude Ranchers’ Association – May 2016 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/05/dude-ranchers-association-may-2016/ Mon, 02 May 2016 13:12:54 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24706 As we near the summer dude ranch season, it’s time to start tuning up our dance moves!  The folks at the Dude Ranchers’ Association put together a list of great ranches that offer Western dancing, and included Vista Verde and a photo from our barn dance in the article.  So, pull on those boots, start tapping your toes, and get ready to dance! Read the article….

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Dude Ranch Life: April showers bring May flowers http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/05/dude-ranch-life-april-showers-bring-may-flowers/ Sun, 01 May 2016 20:24:50 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24700 You know the proverb “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?” Well, we all decided, as it was dumping snow during the final days of April, that whoever came up with that didn’t live up here in the mountains of Colorado.  This spring has been one of snow, snow, and more snow, mixed in with a little rain.  While there have been beautiful days mixed in there, we all feel a little trapped in an eternal winter.  In fact, Bill just finished his charting for the month of April and his records show that we had more snow in April than we did in February!  Granted, February was a lighter snowfall month for us this past winter, but based on his records we had 20 inches of snow in February and 24 inches of snow in April.  And that April snow?  It’s wet, wet, wet, so there is a lot of moisture in those 24 inches.

Hopefully what this means is that the grass will be brilliantly green, and the wildflowers will be exploding all over the valley and mountains this summer.  Until then, if any of you have an extra room in a warm, sunny climate, and maybe even a sandy beach, there is a good chance one of us might show up on your doorstep pretty soon.  Because with a big weekend storm to close out the month of April, it seems like April is going out like a lion!  To heck with March, we’re just hoping the lambs show up in May!

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5 Night Winter Steamboat experience http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/04/5-night-winter-steamboat-experience/ Fri, 29 Apr 2016 21:09:53 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24703 Here is an itinerary we put together for a 5-night stay that gives you a taste of Steamboat and the ranch experience.  There is a lot packed into this one!

Day 1 (Thursday)

  • Arrive to Steamboat Springs and check into the Steamboat Grand.
  • Go check out the ski area, get your rentals ready to go at Christy Sports, and then stop by the Truffle Pig for a happy hour cocktail.
  • Grab a shuttle to downtown Steamboat Springs and head over to Carl’s Tavern for a nice, but casual dinner. Stretch your legs a bit after a day of travel by walking over to Ciao Gelato before heading home to bed!

Day 2 (Friday)

  • Wake up and grab a quick, hearty breakfast at Paramount. Spend the day downhill skiing at Steamboat Spring’s famous Mt. Werner.  Enjoy long runs, fast chair lifts, and that Colorado champagne powder.  Lunch stop?  The Four Points Lodge has amazing food and a great view of the valley below.
  • After a day of skiing, what’s better than soaking your muscles in hot water? Take a shuttle up to Strawberry Hot Springs.  Enjoy multiples levels of pools with different temperatures, beautiful grounds, and all beneath the open Colorado Sky.  If you want to enjoy the views, head up there before dark and then treat yourself to dinner afterwards at Café Diva.  Make sure to make your reservations far in advance as they book up early!

 

Day 3 (Saturday)

  • Take your time checking out and stop by Creekside Café (a local’s and Vista Verde staff favorite) for the best breakfast in town.
  • After breakfast, take time to check out the town! Visit the shops and take a stroll down the Yampa River Core Trail.  You might even see some ski jumpers flying off the jumps over at Howelsen Hill from the trail!
  • After exploring town, it’s time to head to Vista Verde Ranch. Check in is at 4 o’clock, but if you get in earlier, you are more than welcome to explore the ranch or relax in our Great Room until your private cabin is available.
  • After settling into your cabin, unpacking, and getting the lay of the land, come on down to the Lodge for our Happy Half Hour (we’re too busy having fun outside to make it an hour!). Grab a glass of wine or craft beer and meet the other individuals staying on the ranch.  After Happy Half Hour, stroll into the dining room to enjoy an outstanding, elegant formal dinner (don’t worry – this doesn’t mean it requires formal attire – you can be as comfortable and casual as you’d like!) filled with fabulous appetizers, entrees, and a dessert that have been personally crafted by our chefs.
  • After dinner, wander back to your cabin under the light of the stars and enjoy your private hot tub or snuggle up by the wood burning stove to relax before your adventures the next day!

 

Day 4 (Sunday)

  • Wake up to the horses nickering and the snow plows working, and head down to the Lodge where the coffee is brewing and the bacon sizzling.
  • After breakfast, start your ranch vacation adventures off with and introduction to classic skiing. You will meet with our guides, go over all there is you need to know about skiing, and then head out onto any of our 20 km of private ski tracks to practice technique, or into the backcountry with a guide!
  • After an active morning and a delicious lunch joined by the Vista Verde staff, spend the afternoon riding a horse on a snow covered trail. Enjoy this beautiful loop around the ranch property and take in the exciting experience of riding a horse in the snow.  And a bonus – the horse you ride will be yours for the duration of your stay!
  • After the trail ride, hop onto the feed sleigh and help the wranglers feed our Vista Verde herd. The sleigh is pulled by our team, two Belgian brothers named Kenai and Sitka.  Enjoy the lap around our Winter Pasture and watch the horses as they interact while eating.
  • Following a full day of adventures, head back to your cozy cabin and hot tub as the sun sets or relax before another wonderful dinner paired with the perfect glass of wine.

 

Day 5 (Monday)

  • After a delicious breakfast, try out the horsemanship clinic with your horse you rode the day before. Learn the details and intricacies of working with a horse, both on the ground and in the saddle.  Lead by one of our talented horse trainers, the horsemanship clinic is a great way to learn all that it takes to find a connection with the horse you are riding
  • Come back after riding for a hearty lunch cooked to order and prepare for your afternoon! A quick post-lunch nap refreshed you to jump on the back of the snowmobile to head up to the tubing hill.  An hour of exhilarating rides up and down the hill is capped off with a private sleigh ride—the perfect way to wrap up an active day.
  • Finish the day off with a casual BBQ dinner where you enjoy the company of the staff and any children staying for the week. After a lively dinner, head up to our barn for the barn dance!  Learn to square dance, line dance, and partner dance with other guests and our staff.  It is a great way to get your country western moves on!

 

Day 6 (Tuesday)

  • Your last morning at the ranch has arrived, and you know that all of the Vista Verde crew are sad to see you go! But you have just had the most incredible winter vacation, experiencing much of what Steamboat Springs and a winter guest ranch vacation has to offer!  You will be missed at Vista Verde, and we will be counting down the days until we get to see you here again!  Because there is so much you didn’t get a chance to fit in during this stay!  Dogsledding, cooking classes, snowmobiling, ranch yoga, perfecting your technique on back country skis, tasting wines with the ranch chefs, and more!  Come back and enjoy this Western town and lifestyle soon!
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Dude Ranch Life: A horse shopping spree http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/04/dude-ranch-life-a-horse-shopping-spree/ Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:06:59 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24676 Each year, as we retire some horses and others are purchased, we need to replenish our herd to be ready for our dude ranch season in the summer.  Typically this takes the form of going to sales in the spring, and hoping that they horses we picked will be as good when they get back to the ranch.  This year, we decided to try a different approach.  All fall and winter, Sam and KP have been scouring the classifieds, Craigslist, special horse for sale pages on Facebook, and spreading the word through local horse connections.  They’ve put in a lot of miles on the road–going to see horses, try them out, get to know their history, and making purchases.  All in all, since last fall they have brought home 16 new horses!  It’s been a lot of work, but we’re all hopeful that the success rate for the horses working out for our needs will be much higher than past years due to this more in-depth purchasing process.

So, here’s who we have new to the team:

  • Betty- She’s a sweet and sassy Appaloosa mare with a hysterical Mohawk.  We’ve already used her this winter for both kids and adults, so she’s a perfect, versatile horse.
  • Turtle- This guy is one of those priceless horses.  His beautiful sorrel color is contrasted with four white socks and a big bold blaze.  He’ll be one of our go-to kid horses as he is steady and safe.
  • Dollar- A stocky, little buckskin with a white snip.  We’re looking forward to seeing who matches up best with him.
  • Chip- Sam describes him as “gritty.” He came from a feedlot where he’s worked hard dragging cows and keeping order.  This little sorrel was painfully thin when we bought him, so he’s been on the VVR weight gain program and is doing really well now.
  • Sadie- A beautiful gray mare, she came as a two-fer with her son last fall.  It’s going to take a little time for her to settle in, but she’s solid and gorgeous and we’re looking forward to putting some miles on her.
  • Bugs- This is Sadie’s son, and he is a spitting image of her.  Sam says he’s still figuring things out at the ranch, so he might be one we work with for the first couple weeks of our season before we start using him for guests.
  • Blondie- Of course this is a palomino paint mare with that name!  Her four white socks and petite frame make her a standout.  She’s an old pro at giving kids riding lessons, so she will be great for kids and her slight build will make her a match for small adults as well.
  • Belle- She’s black, she’s sweet, and she is ready to be a kind babysitter for the kiddos.
  • Brother- This guy must have some Warmblood in his breeding as he is a tall drink of water.  His solid build and kind temperament will make him a great steed for larger riders.
  • Peso- A big bay, this guy is going to take a little more time to work into the VVR lifestyle.  KP has been working with him, and will probably spend more time on him this summer– settling him and tuning him up until he’s ready to get out with our guests.
  • Montana- This big, gray gelding has a colorful history.  He was trained to do cowboy mounted shooting, but he just wasn’t fast enough to make the cut.  So, just know that nothing can phase this guy!
  • Willow- Another beauty, this sweet mare is a gruella, which is a beautiful coloring that isn’t very common. She had a good little injury on her hip that we’ve been nursing, and she’s healing up really well, so she’ll be ready for the summer season.
  • Polly- This gal got her name from her unique brand with a P in it.  A well-proportioned sorrel mare, she has given riding lessons to kids in the past, so there’s a good chance we’ll put some kiddos on her this summer.
  • Bear- He reminds us all of Nacho, so we’re hoping he’ll be a perfect replacement for that old guy as he heads towards retirement.  This half-draft is big, bay, stocky, and laid back.
  • Jasper- Another half-draft, this one is a black beauty.  His beautiful, long forelock makes me think of the kind of horse you’d see in a jousting match.  But this guy would rather meander on the trail than charge down a lane carrying an armored knight.
  • Millie- There will always be the one KP falls in love with, and this is the one.  She’s a super sweet bay mare who is ready to go….that is if you can get KP to share her!
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Planning a honeymoon? http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/04/planning-a-honeymoon/ Thu, 14 Apr 2016 15:59:31 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24650 So you’re happily engaged, busy planning a wedding, and then your fiance drops the bomb on you–it’s your job to plan the honeymoon!  We get so many honeymooners here at Vista Verde, and we love having them at the ranch celebrating their new life together.  But, we’ve also been on the phone with enough folks who are nervously trying to find the perfect honeymoon getaway that we sympathize with the pressure that goes along with planning this big getaway!

Of course, we think Vista Verde is a perfect honeymoon option for couples looking for adventure, ease of access, and simplified planning.  The opportunity for adventurous days are abundant here at the ranch!  With multiple direct flights coming into the Steamboat airport (in the winter) getting here is pretty straightforward, and our all-inclusive pricing makes planning and budgeting a no-brainer.  Top that all with a secluded setting, gorgeous views, a private and luxurious cabin–complete with a bubbling hot tub on the deck, and meals that range from ranchy to fancy.  Adventure, romance, and relaxation are all wrapped up into one ranch honeymoon.

We hope you end up choosing Vista Verde for your honeymoon, but even if not, please check out this great article titled Honeymoon Planning Tips for Grooms written by Susan Breslow Sardone.  Susan is an expert in honeymoons and romantic getaways, and she has some seriously fabulous tips here in this article.

Good luck with the planning, and have a great time on your honeymoon!

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Family Travel Network- April 2016 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/04/family-travel-network-april-2016/ Mon, 11 Apr 2016 14:59:46 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24643 All-inclusive vacations are all the rage it seems these days.  People used to think you had to travel out of the country to find an all-inclusive vacation option, but it is getting on their radar more and more that there are great options right here in the US.  Historically, dude ranches were the original all-inclusive vacation for domestic travelers.  In this article by the Family Travel Network, the Top US All-Inclusive Family Vacations are highlighted, and they included Vista Verde!  Read the article….

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Dude Ranch Life: Off-season shenanigans http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/04/dude-ranch-life-off-season-shenanigans-2/ Tue, 05 Apr 2016 19:58:38 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24639 While the snow is trying to melt away, despite concerted efforts by Mother Nature to remind us every few days that no, winter isn’t quite over, the ranch is down to a skeleton crew.  Where did everyone go?  Everywhere!  Some of our seasonal staff headed off to their next adventures in life, while others are playing in between the seasons.  There are road trippers, campers, world explorers, and those who went home to earn some extra income while the ranch is shut down for a bit.  Those of us who spend the full year at the ranch are also taking advantage of the chance to sneak away for a while.  Right now baby Althea has packed up her parents to spend some time on the beaches of Florida.  After a winter of snowsuits and mittens, she’s happy to dig her feet in the sand!  Chol is off living the life of a celebrity chef in Montana, cooking at a big fundraiser for the Back Country Hunters and Anglers.  Charlie will be heading out on a Western road trip later this month, and the ranch office gals ditched the office last week to embrace winter one last time on a hut trip near the Nokhu Crags.  There is a slight chance that I am writing this blog post looking out over the redwood covered foothills of Northern California following a long run in the woods…..but that may or may not be true.

While the phones still ring, the emails still come in, the horses must be fed, the mares watched for foals to arrive, construction crews need to be overseen, and off-season projects nag us all, it’s a much anticipated break in the action and a great time to regroup, prepare, and gear up for the summer season.

For all our great staff who are out on other adventures right now, please comment with updates of what you’re doing, the sights you’ve seen, and the exploring that is happening during this spring!

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Dude Ranch Life: Ranch Romance http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/03/dude-ranch-life-ranch-romance/ Thu, 31 Mar 2016 17:00:49 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24601 Based on the raging success we’ve had match-making our staff for an unprecedented number of marriages, this year marks the launch of a new division of the dude ranch operation.  We are proud to announce our new venture VVR-mony.com.  Rather than relying on sites like e-harmony.com to match up couples who later come to honeymoon at the ranch, or bring their growing broods for family vacations, we are going to claim that portion of the market so we develop a client base from the ground up.

Beka is already known for her top notch screening skills in picking the right staff and has an uncanny knack for assigning them to convenient housing arrangements where they may catch each other’s eye on the way down to clock in for work.  Now, she will put her laser sharp skills to work with willing applicants who sign up for the VVR-mony.com package.

With this new venture, we are excited to capitalize on the ranch’s history of recruiting quality people and putting them through a sweat-inducing interview process that weeds out those who aren’t able to sing, dance, serve, summit, wrangle, clean, iron, shovel, scoop, and cast all with a smile on their face.  We feel that this base will allow us to match the perfect clean cut, all-American, can-do, service oriented, and nature loving individuals that will ride off into the sunset holding hands and planning their future stays at VVR.

Sign up for a free trial today!  After April Fool’s Day, this offer is no longer valid.

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Only In Your State – March 2016 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/03/only-in-your-state-march-2016/ Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:27:21 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24598 As the winter season winds down, many of us are thinking about off-season adventures.  Just in time, this article from OnlyInYourState.com came out titled, “These 8 Glampgrounds In Colorado Will Give You An Unforgettable Experience.”  Along with showcasing Vista Verde as one of the options, there were some other great suggestions that are inspiring many of us to look at a “staycation” this spring!  Read the article….

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A history of fencing in the West http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2016/03/a-history-of-fencing-in-the-west/ Tue, 22 Mar 2016 20:51:21 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=24595 For you history buffs, please enjoy this guest post by Andrew Swenson of Gallagher Fence.

Fencing has come a long way over the years and has a fascinating history. Long gone are the days that farmers would collect sticks, strap them together and hope for the best.
How Did Barbed Wire Fencing Come To Be?
With advances in technology, better fencing was inevitable. Farmers needed a solution to issues surrounding containing and protecting their livestock. While sticks may contain small animals such as goats, sheep, and other smaller animals, large animals such as cows, horses, and the like require much sturdier fencing.
In the late 1800s, barbed wire was invented. It provided a solution to large animals knocking over fencing, predators simply walking through or under fencing. All of this in a readily available format that was both low maintenance and low cost.
Barbed Wire Made the Standard of Fencing
Once the barbed wire was introduced to the market, it offered farmers an option that they could not ignore. As the West was being colonized, it allowed the farmers to contain their livestock quickly and safely without wasting valuable space. Without barbed wire, many farmers would have been unable to protect their livestock and mark their lands.
This was particularly important with vast areas of government land being given away and free for anyone to use for their animals grazing. This led to an argument between farmers who kept their livestock on their land or had their fields fenced to keep out wildlife and other animals and the farmers who let their animals out to graze. This led to the Fence Cutting War in Texas.
The Fence Cutting War in Texas
Due to a widespread drought in 1883, farmers were finding it harder to find water and food for their cattle. This led to desperation and for some farmers to seek desperate measures. Migrating herds would be blocked by the fences that had been set up and wander around trying to find a way through. Ranchers began cutting down these fences to help their cattle get through to somewhere they could get water. The owners of the land would also try to increase their borders by cutting the fences to neighboring properties or government land and rebuild them past their original lines. This eventually got out of hand, fences started appearing across roads, some fields were burnt, and there was over $20 million worth of damage done in the summer and fall alone. While fence cutting still continued on and off over the years, it was not permitted to get as out of hand as it did in 1883.
Why to Look For Alternatives
Farmers have always cared for their livestock. After all, it is their livelihood and abused, or starved animals are of no use to anyone. This is why farmers wanted to find a viable solution that would keep their livestock safe and contained.
As other methods of containment merely hold the animals inside their paddocks but offer no protection from predators, barbed wire was a necessary evil and was therefore left as a standard.
Early Electric Fencing
The first electric fencing was not used for animals. Rather it was designed to keep people out of places. These wire fences could carry currents that ranged from a light zap to lethal force. It was heavily used in areas such as prisons, government buildings, and, with the war, concentration camps, dugouts, and other military zones. These electric fences caused thousands of fatalities throughout World War 1; the most deadly was known as the “Wire of Death”.
Today’s Standard of Fencing
Although barbed wire fencing had become an industry standard, farmers were always on the lookout for a better alternative. One that did not cause their animals to end up with tangles, lacerations, or other injuries. That led to farmers to start looking towards electric fencing in the 1930s although it was not widely used at first. Certain areas would ban or limit its usage as much of the first electric fencing was unpredictable when it came to the strength of the shock that one sustained after touching it.
Despite these roadblocks, farmers knew this was the viable option they had been hoping for. It would keep their animals safely contained and would keep predators on the right side. Not only was it safe and more efficient than traditional methods, but it was also cheaper in the long run too. The wires (particularly high tensile wire) required very little maintenance, were quick and easy to set up, and did not need a lot of materials. This saved farmers a lot of money, time, and effort and for these reasons electric fencing will continue to be the new industry standard for livestock fencing.

This post was written for Vista Verde Ranch courtesy of www.gallagherfence.net

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