January 2009

Mountain Biking or ‘Biking in the Mountains’

Do you enjoy taking your bicycle down to the corner store for ice cream, or maybe you are a fitness fanatic and you get your blood pumping with a good cycling session…

Take a Steamboat Springs vacation and you can do both! Up in the beautiful mountains of Colorado there are endless trails and scenic routes to go biking. Vista Verde Guest Ranch has an amazing  program with top of the line bikes just waiting to be tested!

Steve and Kelli King head up Vista Verde’s Adventure Center, guiding hiking and biking trips all summer as well as cross country skiing and snowshoeing trips for guests coming to join us for a winter vacation in Colorado. Their goal is to give everyone the cycling experience that they are looking for, be it an adventurous mountain bike trail, or more laid back and scenic ‘biking in the mountains’. Although they appeal to both ends of the spectrum as far as fitness and adventure level, every rider will enjoy their new fleet of the Jamis bikes.

This year they invested in a new wheel which is a 650B, a 27 1/2 inch wheel. This new technology is a bigger wheel that allows more stability and rolls over rocks more easily. Guests this season are already raving about them, and a few have put in orders for their own Jamis, 650B bikes!

Steve and Kelli’s philosphy is that “if you want to introduce someone to a sport or activity, you have to give them the best equipment so they can succeed.” This is definitely true at Vista Verde. Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tag along with some guests on an easy going, scenic ride around Steamboat Lake and through the historic Hahn’s Peak Village. It was a nice relaxing afternoon, and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I was ready to step it up a bit. This past week I joined them for an intense mountain bike ride. It was such a blast! I learned how to ride over logs, and I was put to the test going up a monsterous hill, but the sense of accomplishment at the end, and the vast view of the Zirkel Wilderness at the top were worth all of the effort!

Also, some Vista Verde trivia for you…. I learned was that all of their bikes have names, so they can keep track of each one. Well three of them, named Breyer, Klondike and Cold Stone are designated for the casual ride to the Clark Store to get ice cream when guests are looking for a relaxing afternoon during their ranch holiday!

This year Steve is excited about 3 brand new snow bikes they have added to the fleet for the winter! So summer, or winter you will have to come out to our Colorado mountain resort and try out the trails on something other than four legs! Give the mountain bikes a try next time you’re enjoying a vacation at our luxury ranch in Steamboat Springs!

Snow is falling, falling on me

After 10 days of sunshine and blue skies, the clouds came back last night and we woke up to fresh snow this morning. Granted, it was pretty sloppy snow because the temperatures were pretty warm. But, throughout the day it’s turned into fluffier snowflakes and is piling up more each hour. Steve and Kelli left the rest of the guides in charge back at the ranch and headed out for an all-day ski today with Mickey, David, Sharon and Bruce. In a few minutes, I’m going to head out and do a little “quality control” on our groomed trails. And I see Rusty heading out on horseback with our honeymooners for a ride in the peacefully falling snow. I’ll see if I can get a picture of the pretty scene while I’m out scouting the trails!

Wild Mustangs Find a New Home at Vista Verde Guest Ranch

Think back to your favorite Western; the romantic mountain getaway, with the mustangs running wild and free across the plains of the west. Built for the rugged terrain of the Colorado Mountains, the cowboys tamed and trained some of these wild mustangs.  Many herds of these horses still running free today.  In an effort to manage the land and prevent their population from exceeding its carrying capacity, the Bureau of Land Management has begun adopting some of these wild mustangs into the Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP).

Since 1971, Colorado has protecting and ensuring the future of our beautiful wild mustangs with the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act passed by Congress. In 1986, the WHIP program was created. The Wild Horse Inmate Program was the first of its kind, bringing the horses to corrections facilities to be gentled and trained by inmates before being adopted. Besides an emotional and relationship building outlet with these horses, it has given the inmates the opportunity to learn equine skills to use when they are released.

These mustangs have a distinct feature that makes them stand out right away in a herd: their distinguishing code on the left side of their neck. This code gives three identifying pieces of information: the registering organization or state they came from, the estimated year of their birth, and the horse’s registration number within the BLM system.

Just this past spring, we adopted 3 new horses for our family dude ranch, giving them a new home and a bright future in the mountains of Colorado. Our horse program was introduced to Cuatro, Cheyenne, and Caddy, our new, once wild mustangs. They joined Crow, another mustang who has been here for years. Cuatro has already carried his share of guests as the 4 year old gelding is a joy to ride. Cheyenne, 6, and Caddy, 4, are still perfecting their skills with our wranglers this season. From their time with their wild herd, these horses understand all too well herd dynamics, so when they came to Vista Verde they adapted very quickly to our herd of over 100 horses. We are excited to have them with us and be able to give them a purpose and new life guiding guests who are on ranch holidays, while staying in the mountains of their home state.


If you would like to learn more about the WHIP program you can visit the BLM website at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/wild_horse_and_burro/Wild_Horse_Inmate_Program_Colorado.html .

Vista Verde on TV

Almost two years ago we had a film crew come out to the ranch and follow a family around on their vacation. It all sounded nice and benign when we got the call and put them in touch with a family who was willing to be filmed. It turned out to be a little more “stalking” than anyone expected, but Jill and Ken and their girls were so game and so gracious. After all this time, and many jokes about the whole experience, they are finally going to have their 15 minutes in the spotlight. On January 19 at 6pm EST, their winter adventure will air on the Fine Living Network. We haven’t seen it, so I may regret sharing this with all of you…and Jill may hate me for telling you too! Hopefully it will be a nice piece showing their beautiful family having fun at the ranch in the wintertime.

The New Lodge Update

Happy New Year! We rang in the New Year with our annual Progressive Dinner on skis and the sleigh and enjoyed the evening’s festivities with a wonderful group of guests. As we look forward to the New Year, we are excited about projects that will be completed this year. As you can see, the Lodge addition is rumbling along and starting to look like a real building. The crew is putting in the tongue and groove on the ceiling, building the stairs up to offices and meeting room and framing in the bathrooms and the front desk downstairs. The fireplace shell has been built, and the rock work will come in after the front is framed out. Down the driveway, the footers for the indoor arena are in place and the steel work will be starting very soon. We wish they could be done with a snap of the fingers, but we’ll try to be patient since the finished products will be such a great addition to the ranch! Keep tuned for more updates, and Happy New Year to all.