Vista Verde Ranch Luxury Resort Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:41:15 +0000 en hourly 1 Vista Verde’s First Annual Holiday Gift Guide Thu, 07 Dec 2017 19:27:46 +0000 Ok, take this post as a little tongue in cheek, and just know that it’s the little things that make me laugh. Since everyone has a gift guide these days, I thought we needed to jump on the bandwagon. But it might actually be something I try to do each year a little earlier in the holiday season in earnest because there are actually some fun suggestions I think we could share with all of you each year! And, of course, only a little of it is completely self-serving.

With that humble intro, here are some suggestions on great gift ideas from many of the vendors we work with at the ranch.

Tender Belly Bacon!

Ok, we’re serious. I know I mention our bacon a lot, but it is really that good, and guests even comment about it when they aren’t here. So, if you can’t gift your loved one a vacation to Vista Verde Ranch, why not at least get them bacon? Tender Belly, our purveyor for that awesome bacon, offers a Bacon of the Month Club, among other options for gift purchases.

Experiences, not stuff

We all have too much stuff, don’t we? And, wouldn’t it feel better to save some packaging from the landfills? So, why not buy a winter vacation package or a week at the ranch this summer for your loved ones? You’ll create memories instead of more items to store!

Wild Rags

This is a great gift to give to someone who enjoys the Western look. We all live in them, and there are so many great designs and colors out there! Check out the variety at Wyoming Wild Rags.

Ranch Organics

Not only do we love the name, and love the gal who started this great company, but we love the products! If you want the same scent as what we have with our amenities, look for Sweet Grass. Ranch Organics is a great small Steamboat company that has gone nationwide in the past decade because of their great products.

A Horse!

Yes, we know you all need a new horse, right? So why not buy a Vista Verde Ranch bred and raised young horse? Come on now, the obstacles are merely simple ones to overcome–we’ll help you find a way to ship this critter to your home and even put a red bow around its neck.

Steaming Bean Coffee and our favorite mug

We love, love, love our blue coffee mugs. So much that we shell out the high price for them to replace the broken ones each season. They are just so beautiful, and a great size to snuggle up with on a cold morning, or a warm one, or whenever…they are that great. And the Black Magic blend from Colorado’s Steaming Bean coffee is a guest favorite, so why not pair a bag of that with a gorgeous mug from Mountain Arts Pottery?

When in doubt, gift wine!

Well, it’s always a good fall back, and why not represent the brand and buy someone a bottle of the Williams Selyem 2014 Vista Verde Vineyard Pinot Noir? No relation to the ranch, but what a cool name, right?

There you go. The inaugural holiday gift guide from Vista Verde. Here’s to a happy holiday season! Oh, and if you’re looking for something to get me, I’ll always take another wild rag. Who knows, maybe my husband might read this…..

Spotlight on Sara Brinkley Tue, 05 Dec 2017 14:00:11 +0000 Our longtime massage therapist Trish left us this past fall to move closer to her family. We were left wondering, “How will we ever fill her shoes?” Well, after searching high and low in the Steamboat and Clark community, we found Sara Brinkley. So we wanted to introduce her to all of you this week. Sara is getting settled in at the ranch, giving massages to staff so they know her work, and getting the massage room set up to her liking. I was the lucky recipients of a massage from her recently, and am still enjoying the newly stretched muscles and relaxed back! I asked her some questions to help you all get to know her, so if you’re showing up this winter for a vacation at the ranch, you’ll already know a bit about Sara!

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Maplewood, MN.

2. When you were a kid, what did you think you wanted to do when you grew up?

As I kid I really wanted to be a professional tennis player.

3. What drew you to massage therapy for a profession?

Also as a child, I was the one giving family and friend backrubs. At friend sleepovers, everyone always wanted to be in front of me in the backrub chain. So, the idea of making people feel better was probably what initially drew me to massage therapy.

4. How do you spend your free time?

I love hiking and snowshoeing with my dog. My husband and I love to backpack. We have a boat and love spending time on Steamboat Lake. We also really enjoy working on our land and doing house projects. And I still do enjoy playing tennis, even if it’s not on the circuit!

5. Beside relaxation, are there benefits to guests getting a massage while at VVR?

I believe any minor body pain can be something that changes your day, your activity, or experience. So, by relieving muscle tension, lengthening muscle tissue, and creating better circulation; massage can reduce stress, aid in better sleep, relieve injury pain, and aid in your body functioning at its best.

If you’re coming out to the ranch for a winter vacation, we hope you’ll get a chance to meet Sara and enjoy her work. She offers either 60 or 90 minute Swedish or relaxing massages typically on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. 60 minute massages are $130 and 90 minute massages are $170. Feel free to call us at 800-526-7433 to schedule your massage ahead of time, as those muscles do get sore with all the outdoor adventures going on here at the ranch!

US News and World Report – November 2017 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:23:31 +0000 We were included in another great article about all-inclusive resorts! Much thanks to Holly Johnson from  for including Vista Verde in her article about the 9 Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Outdoor Recreation. Vista Verde definitely fits the bill as a great place for outdoor recreation, and we’re excited about all the snow sports this coming winter! Read the article…..

Smarter Travel – November 2017 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:52:36 +0000 All-inclusive vacations seem to be all the rage these days. Possibly it is people’s busy lives that make the ease of an all-inclusive trip so appealing to travelers. It does make vacation planning more simple, the vacation experience more seamless, and budgeting is a breeze as you know what it’s going to cost and you can budget for that cost. And, with more and more US travelers choosing to stay in the US for their vacations, finding an all-inclusive in the US is rising high up on traveler’s lists. So, this article about the 12 Best All-Inclusives in the United States by Smarter Travel Magazine is pretty appropriate. We’re happy to be included in this round-up of great all-inclusive vacation destinations! Read the article….

Dude Ranch Life: Gratitude for the little things Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:02:01 +0000 It’s amazing how quiet it is around the ranch right now with us being closed for the off-season. And what got on my radar this past week was realizing how much that quiet space allows us to appreciate the little things. Sure, we recognize that compared to the busy world many people live in, being at the ranch is still a more quiet place to be for many. But, when we’re open and we have a house full of guests to organize, an equally large group of staff to shepherd, and activities going every which way, there are definitely a lot of balls up in the air to keep juggling! We’re all pretty mindful of noticing the special moments, but sometimes don’t get the space to really soak them up. This past week I found myself relishing those special moments.

The bald eagle flying over head as I was driving up Seedhouse Road yesterday morning. Those are the times when I remind myself, “This life isn’t normal–most folks don’t get to see bald eagles soaring around on their commute to work!?”

The alpenglow on fresh snow in the Zirkels as the sun goes down earlier and earlier each evening.

Getting together at my house for dinner the other night with the few people who are at the ranch right now. Great times, lots of laughter, and total joy when I pulled out the dessert I had slaved over all day–a selection of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Because we have amazing baked goods at the ranch all the time, but when we get to binge on Ben & Jerry’s?

Seeing the elk move across the hillside above the cabin early in the morning, and then later on gather in the valley floor underneath an epic sunset.

Sharing a huge pot of venison stew that Chef Jason made last week just because he’s going a little stir crazy not working much these days. What a surprise, and I can assure you all the brown bag lunches from home were quickly put back into the fridge when we smelled the stew!

Pushing the door when the handle says “Pull”! Yes, I am telling you it’s the simple pleasures I’m talking about here! Those kitchen doors are such a source of controversy with the staff, and it’s just kind of fun to walk through them the wrong way when no one is around.

What doesn’t change during the off-season? The camaraderie of the passionate people here at the ranch, who all care so much about making this dude ranch the best vacation experience ever for our guests, and who work their tails off during the off-season to gear up for the coming season. It’s a smaller crew right now, so we’re all enjoying the quiet together, getting things done, reflecting on what we can do better, implementing new ideas, and putting the wheels into motion so they are ready for when the staff arrive in early December.


Ranchseeker – November 2017 Mon, 13 Nov 2017 18:09:33 +0000 Our friends over at Ranchseeker are always trying to help spread the word about dude ranch vacations, and at this time of year they are shouting out about winter ranch vacations. In this article, they make the case for coming to Vista Verde for a winter ranch vacation. With the winter season starting in 30 days, the timing is perfect to be planning a winter vacation in Colorado! Read the article…..

Supercall – November 2017 Tue, 07 Nov 2017 23:24:01 +0000 The folks over at Supercall magazine know all about good drinks. In this fun article, they highlight their 4 best all-inclusive ski resorts with great drinks. We can’t deny that coming in from a long ski to the Vista Verde Ranch Great room where there is a crackling fire and a nice glass of wine awaiting you is pretty appealing! Read the article…. and get excited about winter vacations!

Combining your winter ranch vacation with a Steamboat Ski Resort vacation Tue, 07 Nov 2017 21:55:57 +0000 Sometimes we feel like nervous parents when we hand our guests off to other service providers in Steamboat. Because of that we’ve been picky for our guests heading to the Steamboat Ski Resort, and are proud of the great partnership with Black Tie Ski Rentals. Black Tie gives our guests top notch equipment with the same level of service we want our guests to experience even when they are away from the ranch for the day.

If you are coming out to visit us this winter and plan to spend some time at the Steamboat Ski Resort, check out this special offer on ski and snowboard rentals for those who book before November 30. Now, please note that if you’re not yet ready to commit to a day on the mountain, we can always help make a last-minute reservation with Black Tie for your ski or snowboard rentals.

Also, for those of you considering spending some of your winter vacation time at the Steamboat Ski Resort, you can also check out their lesson packages as well as lift ticket options. It is always the best deal to purchase your tickets ahead of time online.

The Steamboat Ski Resort shuttle leaves at 7:30, so you can grab a quick breakfast, pick up your to-go lunch, and then head to the mountain. We’ll pick you up at the end of the day and bring you back in time for a quick dip in the hot tub before dinner.

Chef’s Corner: Ginger Lace Cookies Tue, 07 Nov 2017 05:35:19 +0000 If you’ve ever wondered why our pastry chef Melissa is so good, you need only dig into her family history to realize that she comes from a long line of talented bakers. This recipe from her great grandmother Formanek dates from the WWI era, hence no butter!

Melissa’s Grandma’s Ginger Lace Cookies

1 ½ cup shortening
2 cups sugar
½ cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cup flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Cream the first three ingredients together until uniform, about 30 seconds in a stand mixer. Don’t over beat. (Over beating makes very flat cookies) Add eggs, mix 30 seconds. Whisk the rest of the dry ingredients together. Add to the sugar mixture and mix just until combined. Mixture will be stiff. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar, do not flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, until cookies crackle on top. That’s the “lace” design. Don’t overbake! They should not have dark edges. Let cool on the cookie sheet a few minutes, then transfer to a rack or paper towels to cool completely. These freeze well.

New Powder Riding options for your winter ranch vacation Tue, 07 Nov 2017 05:33:10 +0000 Many of you who visited the ranch last winter tried out our snowmobiling program, and we received some great feedback over the course of the winter. We’re excited to be expanding the program this year with some new riding options.

Our programs at the ranch allow our guests to grow their skills and learn during their stay, and we wanted to mirror this in the snowmobile program. So, there will still be the option of 2-hour trail rides on the snowmobiles, but we have also added another step in the program for those who have already taken a 2-hour trail ride and want to learn more technique, skills, and play a bit more on the machines.

During the 2-hour powder rides the guides will take guests into the powder to teach them how to maneuver and manage the machines in the fresh snow. In addition, there will be the option of all-day rides that give riders time on the trail as well as powder riding instruction and play time. So, there are many options for our guests who catch the bug of riding a snowmobile. And, for all of you who want to avoid the sound of machines, please remember that we have the newer machines that are quieter, and we leave from the barn area and head off ranch right away on our tours, so the ranch remains a quiet and peaceful place. So, the phrase ‘come ride with us’ has multiple meanings—horses, fat bikes, and snowmobiles!