Vista Verde Ranch http://www.vistaverde.com Luxury Resort Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Wed, 19 Apr 2017 18:57:03 +0000 en hourly 1 7 tips for packing for your Summer dude ranch vacation http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/04/7-tips-for-packing-for-your-summer-dude-ranch-vacation/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 03:53:31 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25646 Packing for a dude ranch vacation can be tricky, especially when you’re heading to a ranch like Vista Verde that offers multi-sport opportunities. In preparation for the upcoming summer season, we put together some insider packing tips to complement the packing list we share with our guests.

1) If you’re planning on hiking it is handy to have hiking boots. They aren’t a must, as many of us hike in our running shoes. You just have to be prepared to get them wet (so wear your Darn Tough Socks or Smartwool socks). However, if you haven’t been out hiking in your boots ahead of time, make sure to get half a dozen hikes in them before you get out to the ranch. Nobody wants blisters on their vacation! Even if you can’t go for a hike on the dirt, just walk around your neighborhood for an hour once or twice a week for a few weeks. Go up and down stairs, climb whatever hill you can find. Your feet will thank you.

2) Don’t forget your bathing suit! Because although no one will know if you’re skinny dipping in the dark, those post-ride afternoon soaks in the hot tub might be a little awkward, even if the horses are trying to avoid eye contact.

3) Bring your social security number if you want to fish. Any US resident over the age of 15 will need an SSN in order to get a fishing license, which you’ll need if you want to go out on the river or to a high alpine lake.

4) Pack your longest jeans. Yes, the ones that kind of drag on the ground when you are wearing normal shoes. Jeans hike up when you get in the saddle, and if yours aren’t long, they’ll ride up over your boots, and that’s just annoying! Don’t have jeans you’re willing to get dirty? You can find jeans such as Wranglers at Rod’s Western Palace or Sheplers.

5) Add to your suitcase some hiking sandals or shoes that you’re ok getting wet so you can use them to cross streams. There are some amazing hikes as well as the option for hiking to fishing spots–but you will be crossing creeks along the way to get views like this. Our favorites are sandals like Teva or Chacos.

6) This one might be more for the ladies, but guys you can still take note. You don’t need to dress up for any of the evenings at the ranch. But, having said that, wouldn’t it be fun to pair a cute dress with your cowgirl boots for the barn dance? When at a ranch, why not cowgirl up and have a little fun?

7) Padded shorts! You might already know that this just makes the world a happier place when you go mountain biking, but did you also know it might help with horseback riding? Just think about it. And, know that we have some available in the Adventure center if you don’t have a chance to buy them ahead of time. Just slip them on under your jeans and you’re smile will be a bit brighter after several days of riding.

We know those suitcases can get a bit full with all these suggestions, so feel free to ship a box out to the ranch prior to your vacation. We’ll store it for you until you arrive, and then can help get it shipped back home after your week at the ranch. Or, we’ll even store it for you until your return for your next visit!

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Discounted dude ranch week http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/04/discounted-dude-ranch-week/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 03:50:32 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25653 The start of our summer dude ranch season is always an exciting time. The staff show up in the latter part of May for an intense, two week orientation. During that time we pour information into them so they will understand the culture of the ranch, wrap their heads around their roles for the summer, and prepare to give our guests an amazing vacation experience. By the end of the orientation time, they are bursting at the seams with knowledge and are ready for our guests. So ready that they are practically lining up to meet our first guests as they arrive at the ranch for opening week. The enthusiasm of opening week is contagious and is much of what makes that week such a special time for our staff and guests. What makes it even more special is that it is discounted! Did you know that you can save up to $600 per person if you come for our opening week? So, if your kids are out of school by then, or heck, if you don’t have kids and want to save on a summer dude ranch vacation, come visit us June 4-11, 2017!

If you are interested in learning more about our upoming opening week, please give us a call at 800-526-7433 or fill out a reservation request form. We look forward to seeing you when the valley is bursting with wildflowers, the foals still teeny tiny, the meadows dotted with calves, the Elk River roaring, and the mountains still capped with snow.

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Dude Ranch Life: Off-season at Vista Verde http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/04/dude-ranch-life-off-season-at-vista-verde/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 03:48:02 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25658 Spring is a busy time for Art, our UPS driver. Each day a slew of boxes of new gear arrives, and lately those boxes have been really, really big as our new bikes arrive. Beka and the guides spent a week building bikes to update our Salsa fleet. This year they are playing around with the newest trend in cycling, which is a fatter tire bike that can function in both summer and winter conditions. These bikes will allow novice bikers to feel more comfortable riding over obstacles on the trail, so we’re excited to get you out on them this summer!

Mandy and Addie have been revamping the kids and teen programs to make room for the new tween program. They’ve come up with some fun new events in addition to the all-time favorites of our past guest kids. Ahhh, to be a kid at VVR is to live the good life.

KP traveled to several horse sales this spring and has a great batch of new riding horses to start working into our string. They are big, beautiful, kind, and willing, so we can’t wait to get some mileage on them so you all can try them out! In addition to that, we’ve tweaked the clinic schedule just a bit to accommodate some new options for our guests. It’s time to get in shape for riding!

A big load of fence rails arrived the other day, just in time for Javin to lead a crew to rebuild and repair fences all over the ranch. With 600+ acres to fence, this is a job that never is finished!

Chef Chol is picking out some new wines for the list while also working with Jason on the summer menus. Bill is busy with his list of cabin fixes and improvements. And that is just the start of it. If you haven’t planned your summer vacation yet, don’t fret. We have cabins here and there throughout the summer still available, so give us a call or fill out a reservation request form so we can find a spot for you to spend a week at the ranch with us!

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Dude Ranch Life: Exciting Changes for this Summer! http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/04/dude-ranch-life-exciting-changes-for-this-summer/ Sat, 01 Apr 2017 15:28:01 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25619 Every now and then someone at the ranch moves on and opens up the door for shifting around within our management structure. As Steve and Kelli moved on this spring to their grand adventure (more on this in the last blog post), we saw some opportunities to move people to areas of the ranch where they are better suited.

With that we are so excited to announce the new management structure of the ranch, which we believe will create the best dude ranch vacation experience possible for our guests. Ben (formerly the GM) has stepped into the Executive Chef role to sling burgers and cook up bacon. He is leaning towards a meat only menu, as that is his area of expertise. That shift has allowed Chef Chol to become a full-time hiking guide. With his sleep patterns affected by a newborn baby and years of early morning shifts in the kitchen, we will be offering a whole new option of 4am guided hikes in the Zirkel Wilderness area. Following that change, Charlie has taken over the yoga and Pilates classes, and is looking forward to finding his down dog with our guests out in the aspen trees. Now that Charlie isn’t managing the finances and all the back end logistics of the staff and guests, stepping into that role will be KP, who has been counting the days until he can finally claim an upstairs office and a desk job. Now, we did find it a little tricky to figure out the right replacement for overseeing the horse program, but it became an obvious fit with Devyn when she took a lesson from KP and realized that she, too, can be a horse whisperer. Brandon, who has been eye-balling the Director of Marketing role for years, has finally gotten his wish and will be relieving Steph of her marketing duties. Keep an eye on the social media accounts, as they are about to get exciting. Of course, with him picking up those duties, Steph suggested that it would just make sense that he take on all the rest of her role as we all agreed that she would be the perfect fit for the newly created guest advocate role. Actually, since this position logically would take two people to fill, Steph and Nate have agreed to carry the burden of trying out all the guest activities, staying in guest cabins, and essentially being un-secret shopper guests at the ranch. They have a vital role in making sure folks coming for a ranch vacation are getting the best experience possible. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention that Bill will be taking over the kids program! He has some great craft projects planned with power saws and other sharp tools. Whew, so many great people finally finding their perfect role at the ranch.

So, as you start to think about your summer vacation (if you haven’t already) keep in mind that the winds of change are blowing at the VVR. While we are gearing up to give folks the best family dude ranch vacation they have ever dreamed of, you can sit back and wonder if this is just a big, fat April Fool’s day joke.

 

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District Weddings – March 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/03/district-weddings-march-2017/ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 16:52:14 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25623 There have been a lot of great articles written about Vista Verde, and they all remind us of how special the ranch is to our guests. This article in District Weddings just about had me packing my bags and calling Devyn to schedule my vacation right here. Oh, the magic of winter and the camaraderie of a dude ranch vacation…..Read the article...

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Taking the Kids – March 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/03/taking-the-kids-march-2017/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 17:01:56 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25614 Taking the Kids is a great website geared for families looking for unique travel adventures. Given that dude ranches are a great family vacation options, they frequently share information about ranch vacation options. Here is an article recently published about The Great American Family Vacation — On a Dude Ranch. Read the article…..

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Go World Travel Magazine – March 2017 http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/03/go-world-travel-magazine-march-2017/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:42:05 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25612 It’s time to start planning your summer vacation, if you haven’t already. And we sure hope a Colorado dude ranch is on your list of options! If not, here is a great article from Go World Magazine with some great ranches listed as options. Oh, look, Vista Verde is one of them! Read the article….

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Dude Ranch Life: The season ends and an era ends http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/03/dude-ranch-life-the-season-ends-and-an-era-ends/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:41:01 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25607 This week marks the end of the reign of the Kings. Literally–Steve and Kelli King are moving on from the ranch after almost two decades of leading the Adventure Center at the ranch. Steve joined us back in 1999 as a ski guide, fresh into town and looking to start a new life with his wife Kelli and their infant daughter Madi. Over the years, Steve became the guardian of the ski program in the winter and the biking and hiking programs in the summer. What started out as a job sharing role between Steve and Kelli, so one of them could stay home with baby Madi, turned into both of them working at the ranch full-time. In Madi’s younger years, Kelli ran the kids program with Madi tagging along all summer long, and then guiding when there were not kids at the ranch. Once Madi hit her teen years, Kelli moved out of the kids program and into the guide world full-time. Steve and Kelli have been the momentum behind growing the mountain bike program to what it is today, bringing yoga to the ranch, adding paddle boarding and fat biking, and much more. Their emotional investment in the ranch has been their biggest contribution–from pouring into the guests to contributing to the big picture ideas, advocating for never letting go of the quest for excellence, and preaching the gospel of safety, self-care, work-life balance, and healthy living.

With Madi graduating from high school last year, and moving on in her life, the door opened for Steve and Kelli to move onto their next adventure. Vista Verde was never the destination, but rather a stop on an life long adventure. They are selling their house (anyone want a sweet vacation home in North Routt?), packing up their things, and heading out on the road for a while. None of us know for sure where exactly they will land, but they have their sights on some pretty great options after first taking the time to explore, spend time with family, and visit friends.

But who steps into those big boots? We have a whole team lined up and ready to go. Beka has been waiting to move into this role for a while now, and her time has arrived. She’s about the most fit person I know–come on, anyone who gets up and runs to Steamboat just for fun before work (that’s a marathon, you realize) has the stamina to keep our guests going day after day. Beka is a backcountry and fitness addict, and is so excited to be taking over for Steve and Kelli to head up the Adventure Center. And right in there supporting and teaming up with Beka will be Ben Simms, Isaac Ness and Nate Margason. Bikers, fishermen, skiers, avid outdoors men–these guys all know this area like the back of their hands, have extensive training and experience playing in the outdoors as well as serious emergency and safety training. The team is lined up and ready. What about yoga? Devyn, who currently teaches Pilates at the ranch, is ready to jump into the role of leading Wild Yoga and looks forward to introducing folks to yoga as well as practicing with those who are yogis already. In fact, much to my envy, Devyn is heading to Hawaii this off-season for some additional teacher training to prime the pump with new ideas and flows. And, our gift shops will still be stocked with great items in Kelli’s absence due to the hard work of Laura (she owns the place, if you haven’t met her yet) and Melissa (she adds inches to your waistline with pastries but has also embraced our retail operation in anticipation of Kelli’s departure). So, not to worry, although the Kings leave big boots to fill, we have a lot of people with big feet ready to step into them!

When you work with people for as long as many of us have worked with Steve and Kelli, you become like family. You love each other, drive each other nuts, know each other’s quirks and pet peeves, and share in life’s wins and losses. So, their departure is bittersweet. We all thank them for their years of service and dedication to the ranch, the mission, and our guests. We know their presence will be missed at the ranch, but we are also so excited for their upcoming journey. Please help us send off the Kings with fanfare worthy of, well, kings! If you would like us to share a note of thanks or bon voyage with them, please send it to us and we’ll pass it along.

As we never say goodbye here, we just assume we’ll see each other down the trail. Here’s to many happy trails for Steve, Kelli, and Madi!

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Dude Ranch Life: Hunting for Easter Eggs http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/03/dude-ranch-life-hunting-for-easter-eggs/ Wed, 15 Mar 2017 22:07:36 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25601 Just after the official closing day of our winter guest ranch season, we mark the coming of Spring with the annual Easter Egg Hunt Fundraiser at Vista Verde.

Local vendors have donated all the ingredients for a huge pancake breakfast that the ranch chefs prepare for upwards of 300 locals coming to support the North Routt Pre-School. Following a big breakfast, the kiddos will head outside to hunt for Easter Eggs, and, rumor has it, a helicopter might be flying in to add to the excitement.

It’s a fun day of camaraderie among the local community coming up to dine together, let the kids romp, ski and snowshoe all over the ranch, and just enjoy the beautiful setting while we raise money for the school. We hope you will come join us this year! Here are the details:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Breakfast- 9am to noon

Egg Hunt- 11am

Skiing and Snowshoeing all day on the ranch trails

Snowman building contest, raffle, and more!

Cost- $10/adult, $5/child or $35/family – no advance tickets, pay as you arrive

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The Spotlight is on Ben and Addie Simms http://www.vistaverde.com/ranch-blog/2017/03/the-spotlight-is-on-ben-and-addie-simms/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 21:40:34 +0000 http://www.vistaverde.com/?p=25591 Guest blogger: Maggie Aceto

Last August, Vista Verde got a wonderful addition to our adventure guide crew – Ben Simms, a Georgia native who moved here with his wife Addie and his dog Chief. Addie is a special education teacher at the North Routt Community Charter School and has teamed up with Mandy Anzalone to run the kids program when she isn’t teaching. Ben spends his days bringing Vista Verde guests out to hike or mountain bike our beautiful trails in the summer months and snowshoe or ski through the fluffy snow in the winter. Their passion for the outdoors and service to others is one of the many reasons why we’ve loved the addition of the Simms family to the ranch. Earlier this month, I sat down with them for an interview and got to know a little more about their story:

  1. Ben, what was your childhood like?

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia in a very outdoorsy family with three older sisters. Me and my dad would do something outside like camping or fishing at least once a month in the areas around North and South Carolina.

  1. What brought you to move to Colorado?

When I was in college at the University of Georgia, I spent a summer as a mountain biking and hiking guide at Estes Park. After I graduated, I came out to Colorado for one more summer after college and never went back. I got a job with landscaping for the National Park Service, then moved to Boulder and did some work there, which is where I met Addie.

  1. How did you finally make the transition from landscape architecture to guiding?

Addie won a photography contest and a weekend trip to a ranch (not Vista Verde). While skiing at the ranch, we met Steve and Kellie (who were also there just for the weekend), and within ten minutes had shared our life goals and dreams. I saw two people who were living the life I’d dreamed of, guiding in the mountains, and they were still happy doing it all these years later. That night, Addie and I sat down and she asked me “If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?” and I knew the answer was to be a guide.

  1. What do you love most about being a guide?

The fact that I can do something meaningful with my passion for the outdoors. I think we’re all given passions for a reason, and I love seeing that appreciation for the outdoors blooming in other people when we’re out on trips. Vista Verde is such a special place where people can connect, get inspired and take that inspiration back home to their jobs and lives.

  1. Addie, I heard you’ve traveled a bit?

Yes! I studied abroad and spent a semester at sea.

At sea?

It was on a cruise ship, and we’d have classes on the ship. We visited 12 different countries and got to explore and experience all of the cultures. It was in Africa that I realized I wanted to be a teacher. I met this man and he was telling me about how, depending on what day of the week it was, that was how you would name your child. For instance, if your son was born on Saturday, you would name him Kwámè. I asked the man to write down all of the names, and he kind of hesitated before going over to his brother’s shop. When he came back, everything had been written down. I realized he didn’t know how to read or write. In that moment, it dawned on me how important it is to have an education. Giving someone an education is giving them a key to the world that will open so many different doors. So when I went back to the States, I went back to school and got my degree in education.

  1. So what do you both love about the Vista Verde and Clark area?

At Vista Verde, there’s amazing leadership. Clark is a unique part of the country that hasn’t lost the deep sense of community. Everyone wants to help everyone out, because we’re all friends and neighbors. Addie’s car slid in a ditch once, and a minute later someone had stopped to help her. Another person came along and towed her out, and she was back on the road within 5 or 10 minutes. You just can’t find that kind of genuine help in many places. Our time here has been an absolute blessing.

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