Vista Verde Ranch Luxury Resort Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado Mon, 16 Oct 2017 22:55:45 +0000 en hourly 1 Dude Ranch Gear Mon, 16 Oct 2017 22:55:45 +0000 The season is wrapping up at Vista Verde Ranch, and we have some great new and used gear available for sale! If you’re in the area, stop by Sunday, October 22 from 1-4pm to shop and score a deal!

Bikes: Salsa
Bucksaws (S-XL) $2,500
Spearfish (S-XL) $1,200
XL Carbon Spearfish $1,900
Blackborows (XS-L) $900-$1,000

Winter Gear:
Snowshoes: Atlas, Crescent Moon $20-$40
Solomon SNS Ski Boots and Bindings: Various Sizes $20-$40
Backcountry Touring, Classic, and Skate Skis: Limited Selection $100
Kids Skis: $40

Hala Inflatable Boards-Nass, Straight-up, Hoss
Comes with carry kit and patch kit $850-$950

Discounted NEW Clothing and Technical Gear

Fly rods: (Prices will be posted soon)
Sage accel sizes ranging from 376-4 up to 596-4
Sage circa sizes 386-4 and 486-4
Sage LL 379-3
Sage txl-f 00710-4

Redington willow river women’s boots sizes 5-9
Redington palix river men’s boots sizes 8-13
Simms freestone men’s boots sizes 7-14

Redington crosswater women’s waders sizes small and medium
Redington crosswater men’s waders sizes S-XL
Redington sonic pro men’s waders sizes S-XL


Dude Ranch Life: Wrapping up and Saying Goodbye Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:54:37 +0000 Looking back on photos from this summer it seems so long ago that we opened the doors for the season in early June. But, then again, the time just flew by too fast. Here we are in our final week of the season, and with that we prepare for sad goodbyes as some of our great staff head off for new adventures in life. Notably, we have two folks heading off who we’d like to recognize as they have been instrumental in the VVR family for a long time.

Brandon was being recruited to come work at the ranch long before he even realized we had our sights set on him. As Ben’s nephew and based in Colorado Springs for his military service he came up to visit often. After completing his tours in Afghanistan, we finally were able to get Brandon and Rachelle to come join us at the ranch in 2012. With high expectations for his competence and performance, the poor guy was getting signed up for responsibilities before he even arrived. Well, he rose to the challenge, and even took on more. Over the past 5 years Brandon has been a critical player in helping us fulfill the mission of the ranch. He took on running the fly fishing program, led the charge for the ranch hand crew, launched the snowmobiling program as well as was the lead rock star of the Farwell Mountain Boys. The number of man-crushes that have been had for Brandon are countless, but nonetheless we can all agree that we wish we we could be like Brandon.

After starting their family while here at the ranch, Brandon and Rachelle fulfilled their promise to move back home to Pennsylvania to be closer to their families. Wyatt (Wy-Guy), Scotlyn, and Coulton will never know how lucky they were to start their lives in the mountains of Colorado, but we’re rooting for them to be applying to work here sometime around 2027. Until then, we’re pretty sure we’ll still get the chance to see this great family from time to time, as the pull of VVR is pretty strong. Thanks to Brandon for being such a great part of our team, and thanks to Rachelle for supporting him being gone on those late nights playing bass guitar and those early morning grooming ski trails. We have loved having them and their sweet family here, and will miss all of them dearly!

Right on Brandon’s heels is another great person, but one who had a more quiet role in the operation. Trish first came to the ranch to cover some massage work for our therapist at the time. It only took us a short while to know she belonged here as part of our team. Over the years, she grew the massage therapy program, and then, because every massage therapist is a perfect fit for accounting, she added bookkeeper to her role at the ranch. We all knew when Trish was here in the office, as there was always a zen vibe that arrived as soon as she walked in the door. She heads out this fall to move closer to her folks in Rhode Island, unfortunately further away than her arms can reach to continue to provide our guests relief through massage therapy!

As Brandon and Trish, and the many younger staff head down the drive for the last time this week we give our most sincere thanks for their contributions to making the ranch a better place. Happy trails, until we meet again!!

Dude Ranch Life: Cattle Ranching with the Beltons Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:42:05 +0000 October came upon us quickly, but it didn’t come quietly this year. Although we always have the chance of snow here in the fall, this month kicked off with a full-fledged winter style snow storm. Stunning? Yes. Welcomed? Well, we’d actually rather default to our preferred October weather of sunny skies to show off the golden aspens. But, that’s life in the mountains and today we’re already back to those sunny skies, albeit a wee bit chilly with the snow still hanging around on the ground.

The snow did help us out as it did encourage the remaining cow-calf pairs out in the forest that coming home is indeed a good idea. You see, we’ve spent the last month convincing the cow-calf pairs to stay out by moving them around to find where the grass was still thick and lush so they could spend as much time out in the forest before we brought them home. So, by the end of September we were pretty sure they would come home willingly. Apparently they missed that memo, and although we brought a lot of them home that last week, there are still some stragglers out in the forest. Following the storm early this week, their attitude seems to have shifted and this time they were a lot more willing to head back to the ranch.

One of the highlights of this fall round-up season for me has been getting our partners Christy and Matt Belton more involved with our guests during the round-up weeks. We had them join us for dinner each week to meet the guests and then gather around the fireplace after dinner so everyone could learn a little more about their cattle operation. It was fascinating. Every week the conversation went a little different direction from water rights to testing bulls productivity (yep, that one got a little silly), but each week gave our guests a chance to understand a little more about the cattle industry and our partnership with Belton Livestock. This is one of those amazing relationships where everyone wins–our guests get to be a part of a real cattle operation and Christy and Matt get some help with managing a roughly 14,000 acre USFS grazing permit along with over 200 cow-calf pairs. What was apparent was that having this conversation with Christy and Matt helped the guests realize this is the real deal, and recognize that they have a vital role in helping with the Belton’s business success.

Now we just have to get the stragglers in and call it a year. Fat happy cows and spunky, well fed calves are heading back to the Belton Livestock headquarters as I write this blog post. Good job to all who came out to have some fun riding the land and rounding up cows!

Planning your trip to Steamboat Springs & VVR Tue, 03 Oct 2017 15:15:30 +0000 With the first snow teasing us about the upcoming winter we are getting a lot of calls and reservations for the winter season these days. One of the main questions that comes up after people get an idea of how the ranch works is “How do we get to you?” So I thought I’d take a few minutes to answer that question for folks checking in on our blog.

When coming to Vista Verde Ranch for a winter vacation, we strongly encourage our guests to fly directly into the Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) airport. With the potential of winter driving conditions it’s just a lot easier to avoid driving up from Denver, and with all the direct flights available during the winter months it is a lot easier to to Steamboat Springs quickly. One of our great staff will pick you up at the airport in a ranch vehicle and take care of the driving for you, so it makes life easy for you on your vacation!

The Steamboat Ski Resort puts together some handy info on the direct flight options into the Steamboat/Hayden airport, and you can even book your airfare through their travel service.

Our winter season runs December 14-April 1, so we hope you can come visit us and play in the snow!

Dude Ranch Life: When we say guest blogger, we really mean a guest blogging! Tue, 26 Sep 2017 15:19:59 +0000 To start I should tell you how it came about that a guest is writing the VVR blog! I was talking to my friend Stephanie and saying how much we enjoyed her blogs, and when could we expect the next one? As we know, Stephanie’s blogs are informative, amusing and beautifully written and must take time and inspiration to get out, but this time, like all writers, Stephanie was suffering writers block. She asked me for some ideas, and while other guests nearby came up with several suggestions I suggested “why not get a guest to do a blog?” Stephanie grabbed hold of this idea and said “When do you think you can do it?”……well I was “strung up like a kipper” as we say in England, (Stephanie does have a slightly devious side to her,) so here goes.

My wife and I traveled 5500 miles to get here, suffering jet lag and aeroplane food and driving past many other dude ranches. So, we make a big effort to get here! This is our third time coming to VVR… and it is so worth it. Just for the record, in the past we have never been back to any holiday destination before, so why does VVR draw us back? Not just us but many other guests. I decided I would attempt to find out what draws us all back.

Over lunch today I asked several people how many times they had been to VVR and why they keep coming back? Some, I asked, have been here over 10 times and many 8 or 9 times (good time to say that those on 9 get the 10th one free) so we are still “newbies ”

When asked why they keep coming back there were lots of different responses. Some say the horses, and indeed there is a horse for every standard of horsemanship from beginners to experienced riders.

But many people never ride a horse, and spend their time fishing, so for them its the fishing and the tales you hear over dinner each night tell of great fish caught and great fish lost all in stunning surroundings. I keep promising myself to go fishing but there is so much else going on. The hard thing at VVR is to make your choices each day.

And the hikers and bikers all talk enthusiastically about the excitement of their days, when we gather together for meals.

Which brings me onto another reason people keep coming back… the food. It is always superb, whether its breakfast out in a field or a gourmet dinner in the lodge you never hear any complaints. And, if you are gluten free, vegetarian or have any other dietary requirement they will always be able to provide for you.

With great activities and great food in beautiful surroundings you could not want for anything more. But, hold on a minute…the fun doesn’t stop there! Every evening there is some event taking place to continue the enjoyment. Line dancing, wine pairing, music night, horse shoe throwing etc with VVR personnel all on hand to make sure it all goes well. My particular favourite is line dancing, which is surprising as I cannot dance! but at VVR I can, as the song says when you get the chance to dance, dance.

When it all boils down to it its not just the horses, the setting, the fishing, climbing, hiking and bike riding, food, evening activities that make it extra special, great as they are, but it is the people. Not just the fine people who look after us, but the friendships that develop over the week keep many guests returning. Ben says in his introduction that it should be like coming back to your family. and, I think, that is why guests return to the ranch year after year, its coming home.

Happy holidays everyone!

Michael Kelleher

The Fly: Enjoying a family fishing vacation Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:02:55 +0000 This week we welcome guest blogger Jon Sutton from Outdoor Empire, which is a great website for fishing and hunting enthusiasts.

Most people associate dude ranches in Colorado with riding horses, campfires, and beautiful vistas. But that’s only the start of the story at Vista Verde Ranch: Summers at Vista Verde offer a litany of outdoor recreational opportunities, including paddle boarding, yoga, mountain biking and hiking.

And while these activities are all great ways to enjoy the great outdoors alongside your family, if you ask our fly fishing guides they’ll say fishing may very well be the most fun. Fishing allows you to teach your child a variety of life lessons, and you’ll have a blast while doing so. Most kids love to learn how to fish, even if they normally prefer sitting inside playing video games and watching TV.

However, to make the most of your day on the water, you’ll have to follow a few key tips to maximize your fun and success on the water. Five of the most important things to remember include the following:
1. Select a good location. There are a number of lakes within a few minutes of Vista Verde, many of which offer great opportunities for your kids to learn how to fish. Hahn’s Peak Lake, Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake are three of the most popular local fishing holes, and they are full of various trout species and grayling. There are also a number of local mountain streams and rivers in our area, but it will be easier for your kids to fish in still, rather than moving, water.
2. Teach your kids to use simple fishing equipment at the outset. Most adults who venture to Vista Verde love to get out with our fly fishing guides and see if they can tempt a trout with a delicate fly. However, fly fishing on a river is a bit too difficult for very young kids (most kids will struggle to wield a fly rod until they reach 10 to 12 years of age). Instead, the ranch guides will take families to a lake and help simplify the activity as much as needed—typically with favorable results.
3. Prepare for the weather. You want to keep your kids comfortable to ensure they have the best possible time while fishing, and this means making sure they are dressed for the weather. Summer temperatures high in the Rocky Mountains never reach unbearable levels, but you’ll want to wear lightweight clothing to stay comfortable. Additionally, the sun’s rays can be rather strong this high above sea level, so make sure you bring hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for everyone.
4. Allow your kids to take plenty of breaks. Kids often become bored after fishing for a half-hour or so – particularly if they aren’t catching anything. So, you’ll want to allow them to take little breaks to keep their interest level high. After allowing your youngsters to explore the shoreline, go for a brief nature walk or simply run and play with their siblings, you’ll likely notice they regain their interest and want to start fishing again.
5. Always pass off your rod if you hook a fish. Let’s face it: You are more likely to hook a fish than your kids are, and reeling in the catch is the most enjoyable part of fishing. So, you’ll want to pass off your rod to one of your youngsters once you hook something (be sure you have a good hookset first), and allow him or her to reel in the fish. And always allow your kid to take full credit for the catch – even if you did the hard part.
If you’d like to learn more about introducing your children to fish, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive review of the subject. There, you will learn more about the equipment and techniques that will give your youngsters the best chance to enjoy a day of fishing with you!

Equitrekking – August 2017 Thu, 24 Aug 2017 03:55:25 +0000 Our friends over at Equitrekking are the experts in planning horse back riding holidays. This month, they put together a list of adult-only dude ranch vacations. Although we are not adult-only at Vista Verde all the time, there are select times of the year when most people aren’t taking family vacations and during those times we do switch over to being adult-only. What fun those weeks are here at the ranch! In the article they mention our fall short stay times which are a great option for those looking for a quick getaway to Colorado. Read the article……

Dude Ranch Life: What’s happening at the Ranch Wed, 23 Aug 2017 12:54:07 +0000 It’s been a while since I’ve blogged as I seem to just keep finding myself running here and there, and not planted down in front of my computer. Go figure, it’s a ranch! With the kids back in school and a few less guests because of that, it seems to feel a little more quiet this week. If you haven’t been following where we are in the season, this week is the first of our adult-only weeks. It really tends to feel like a big switch from one season to another. The college-age staff are leaving and returning to their studies which includes most of the kid wrangler crew. The “late-season” hires have or are arriving and getting dialed into their jobs for the fall season. The schedule shifts a bit with no kids and shorter daylight hours. For example, the breakfast ride turns into a brunch ride because while getting up early for a morning ride is lovely, no one really wants to ride in the dark and sit out at Homestead eating a breakfast while shivering at the same time.

Although we have lots of great staff who come and go here, every once in a while there is a departure that needs to be recognized. This week seems a little more quiet with the absence of Troy Corless. Troy has been a guest favorite for years, but we always tell our staff there comes a time when they’ve learned what they needed to learn here at the ranch and it’s time to fly. Troy realized it was that time and he found an amazing opportunity that made it a no-brainer to stretch out those wings and head out. He will be joining a very talented farrier in the east for an apprenticeship. This is such a great opportunity for Troy, and we are so happy to see him go off to take the next step in his profession. No doubt there were tears shed, but we’re also just so happy to see him looking to continue to grow and move up in the world.

I’m sure many of you watched the eclipse on Monday. We had a fun time checking it out, even though we weren’t on the path of totality. It was about 95% here, so we sent our morning ride out a bit early to make sure everyone could get back in time to put on their glasses and enjoy the show.

With the start of the adult-only season we’re kicking off the wine pairing dinners again. Friday nights will be a bit more noisy here I suspect, but they are always a great time with so many interesting dishes paired with tasty wines. Also in a couple weeks we’ll start heading out with our guests to round-up the cows. These weeks always lead to great stories of adventures on the trail–it’s such a splendid way to take in the fall colors and ride some beautiful country!

The office crew is shifting their attention over to winter with Zach getting the winter staff finalized and Devyn and the gals taking calls daily for winter reservations. It’s funny to be talking about the ranch covered in snow when we’re still outside in our short sleeves soaking up the summer rays, but it won’t be long before the snow starts falling and our winter wonderland returns. Until then, we’ll take every moment of time out on the dirt, crisp mornings and warm days, and the rustling of aspen leaves in the breeze.

Newly added October ranch stay Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:36:19 +0000 Due to the popularity of our October short stay, we have added another option for guests looking to come out to the ranch without the full week commitment. The October 8-12 stay is already fully booked, but now we also have the option of another short stay October 15-19, 2017. The 4-night, 3-day stay will be an adult-only stay, and we will offer the same program as we do the previous week with horseback riding, horsemanship clinics, guided hiking, mountain biking and fly fishing as well as yoga, cooking class, wine tasting, and a photography workshop. That’s a lot of adventure to pack into a few days, so gear up and be ready for some fun! Activities are weather dependent, but there is always something to do indoors if the weather isn’t cooperating with us. Rates start at $1,795/person for the 4-night stay.

Learn more about our fall dude ranch stays or give Devyn or Melissa a call at 800-526-7433 to book your stay, and start packing your bags!

Chef’s Corner: Chilled Corn Soup Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:29:53 +0000 Summer time is the perfect time of the year for chilled soups. This summer, Chef Chol shares his recipe for Chilled Corn Soup, just in time for the Olathe corn to be coming into season. Do you know the story about Olathe corn? Corn isn’t a major crop in most of Colorado, but there is a small area in the state where it has been produced with renowned success. Check out this article about Olathe corn from Food Republic, and then enjoy the recipe!

Chilled Corn Soup (8 servings)

• 6 ears corn, shucked
• 3 cups buttermilk
• ½ cup basil leaves, more for garnish
• 6 green onions, roughly chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, more to taste
• 2 fat garlic cloves, roughly chopped
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Radish slices, for garnish
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
• Chives, thinly sliced, for garnish

1. Slice kernels off corncobs (you should have 6 to 7 cups of kernels). Discard cobs and place kernels in a blender.
2. Add buttermilk, basil, scallions, lime juice, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup ice cubes to the blender and purée until very smooth.
3. Strain mixture through a sieve, pressing down hard on the solids. Discard the leftover solids.
4. Chill the soup 2 hours until ready to serve.
5. Serve soup garnished with radish slices, chives, and a drizzle of olive oil.