December 2009

Sleigh riding in Colorado

 colorado resort sleigh rideIt seems like I have posted pictures of a “new team” several times over the past couple years.  We have struggled to find a good pair to replace our old faithfuls, Zig and Zag.  If I am counting correctly, I think we have tried 4 times.  And, we are really hoping that the 4th time is a charm with this new pair.  Every Colorado winter resort needs a good draft horse team.  

Draft horse teams are a tricky thing.  They need to work well together to pull sleighs around the dude ranch.  They need to have the right temperament.  It’s nice if they are attractive.  And they need to be able to pull a lot more at our ranch than what many teams pull in other settings.  A fully loaded sled in a foot of fresh powder isn’t an easy thing to drag along behind you.  It may sound easy, but those are hard horseshoes to fill.

In come  Tim and Tom.  Maybe not the fanciest looking team, but still healthy and strong. Reid and Terry had this team shipped from Montana to Steamboat Springs the other night, and so far they are proving to be exactly what we have needed all along.  Their first big test will be Saturday night with the caroling sleigh ride for all our families here for their winter holiday vacation.  If they can handle a sleigh loaded with singing people in the dark, then they will have passed the ultimate test.  Between now and then, they are getting a lot of practice runs!  Hopefully this will be the last time you see a post about a new team for a long time!

Enjoy the holidays.  When it all gets to be too much, just imagine yourself gliding through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh, and the jingle bells ringing.  We’re living it out here at our Colorado dude ranch!

Christmas recap

We had a great Christmas week. From decorating trees, to caroling on the sleigh out to Homestead where roasting chestnuts awaited (picture 1), and even a yule log hunt (pic 2), the guests were busy and jolly.

Now that crew has headed home and we have a new bunch in to ring in the New Year with us. Just 2 days into the week, it’s been a phenomenal group of people and we are thrilled to be spending this holiday at the ranch with all of them!

Today’s weather- cold and sunny. Forecast- snow, snow and more snow!

Leaving a Dude Ranch is sad

sad to leave the dude ranchI love, love, love this post that we just had on our Facebook page from Ann:

This picture is my daughter who was so sad to leave Vista Verde yesterday. Last Sunday my kiddos headed out for an awesome trail ride while I back-country skied across frozen Hahn’s Peak Lake with one of your amazing guides. Today, I’m in Salt Lake City’s inversion and have yet to see the sun. Thank you Vista Verde!

Followed by a comment from Ann:

Today I unpacked and found that Willy the Moose was kidnapped again. Please advise as to your mailing address and Willy will be returning to this surreal winter wonderland.

Ann- Willy is yours to keep!  You just have to keep hiding him each night or the magic might go away.

Deck the Hall

With the new Great room, we decided to start a new ranch holiday tradition. Instead of going out and picking a single tree for the Lodge, we brought in a live spruce tree for each family. The other night, everyone gathered in the Great Room after dinner to make decorations and decorate their own tree. It got a little bit competitive, and we’re struggling to pick a winner. The trees are all lined up in the hall that leads from the Dining room to the Great room. Our halls have truly been decked!

Today we have the Yule log hunt. Tomorrow we’ll take the sleigh to Homestead for some caroling and roasted chestnuts. Then it’s the big feast on Christmas day and some major sledding.

Ho, ho, ho….Happy Holidays!

September at a Colorado Ranch

fly fishing coloradoI was asked to write a quick blog post for Forbes travel guide today.  Although we’re looking at a lot of snow and winter vacation visitors right now, I was able to remind myself of the wonderful month of September, and those great adult only dude ranch vacation times.  

The cattle round up at Vista Verde gives guests a chance to luxuriate at night, and rough it by day.  During the week-long stay, guests at our all inclusive ranch immerse themselves in clinics early in the week, and then move out on the trail to search out the cows on a 16,000 acre allotment in the National Forest.  The riding is challenging, and the task is real.  Some days the cows outsmart the riders, which leads to a lot of terrain covered in the beautiful fall weather.  Other days, we find a group of them within minutes of leaving the trail, round them up, and are back in time for lunch. 

September is also a great time for fly fishing at Vista Verde Ranch.  With the weather a bit cooler, and the water a bit slower, the fish are eager and hungry.   Fisherman can enjoy casting in small streams, high alpine lakes and large rivers right around this Colorado getaway. 

With the beautiful weather in September, the aspens changing colors and the month being dedicated to adult only vacations, September is a great time for couples to sneak away for a romantic mountain vacation, friends to gather, and singles to retreat to Vista Verde Ranch.  

Local’s Day Fundraiser

To warm ourselves up for opening day, we decided to open our doors today to the locals. They were invited to come up and ski at the ranch for free and we had a nice group zipping around the trails all day. We did offer that they could leave a donation for the North Routt Charter school where Jack, Annie, Maddie, Lila and Cody all go to school. Kelli is heading down the road to pick up Maddie and hand off an envelope with almost $500 for the school right now! What a nice way to start the season. Tomorrow’s the big day…..I told you I would blog daily until then and I think I only missed 1 or 2 days. I’ll try to keep up with frequent posts during the holidays at the ranch.

The Winter Resort season is coming!

Christmas at a Colorado LodgeWith only 5 days until we open our doors for family snow vacations.  Despite the wintery feel outside, the heat is definitely turned up at our dude ranch these days. 

There really aren’t that many new staff this winter, but most of the return staff are from last summer so that still need to get the full orientation so they know what to expect from a winter season at our Steamboat Springs resort.  As much as we are still the same good old Vista Verde, the two seasons are really quite different.  With folks coming and going every day, rather than a set check-in and check-out day, there isn’t as much of a rhythm to the winter season.  And, an entirely different set of activities as well as the job of moving snow daily means new roles for most of the staff. 

Sarah is heading up the dining room again this winter, with Jessica returning to help her but a new crew otherwise.  Melissa is leading the charge in housekeeping with Lindsey returning to take off her hiking boots and dig in on any dirt inside the cabins.  Also changing hats is Kristin, who swapped her dining room role for a more behind the scenes one in housekeeping.  You wont miss her ability to strike up a conversation with anyone as she’ll still make her presence known!  Steve and Kelli have a whole new crew in the guide department, but all faces you may recognize from this past summer.  Kathy (dining room), Jess (wrangler) and Zack (ranch hand) have all felt the pull of the outdoors and are busy learning the ins and outs of the Nordic Center.  They will surely lead some amazing cross country skiing trips in our beautiful Colorado mountains. Matt has a largely returning crew in the kitchen with Lewis, Lisa and Vinny all sticking around.  Evan is going to help over the holidays as well.  In the office, Krista (KC) has come back for another dose of keeping me organized, as well as the entire ranch.  And Charlie has Jason and Tom back as well as Anna jumping in from the barn to help with everything outside.  John saved us in a pinch by jumping in to help for the short term when Dace had the coveted dishwasher position open up last minute.  And Terry and Reid (who has taken the head wrangler role) are lucky enough to have Nathan and John sticking around to help in the barn.  So, as you can see, there are many familiar faces in addition to Ben, Dace, me, Charlie, Steve, Kelli, Terry, Reid, Nicky, Beka, Matt and Bill.  We hope you enjoy seeing them this winter, as well as meeting those who are here for their first season!

You can enjoy reading about the crew on our Staff page.  Photos of the new folks will be coming soon as Carla just took them late last week.

I’m excited that I have two writers in the Front office, so expect to see some guest blogging this winter.  Requests for topics are always welcomed!

Luxury all-inclusive resort stalls

luxury accommodationsWe’ve added some new accommodations to the ranch.  No, we haven’t expanded our capacity for people.  We’ve expanded it for horses!  After several years learning how the beautiful indoor arena fits into our winter program at the resort, we are finding that we need the ability to house more horses indoors.  So, this fall, we took on a project inside the indoor arena, adding 9 more stalls.  This will allow us to keep more training horses in the arena, so we can be working on improving our herd more consistently. This will improve the guest experience at the ranch, both for winter vacations and summer dude ranch stays.

While the stalls have been built, we also re-did the insulation in the arena.  Lesson learned the hard way, traditional insulation does not work in a humid environment like an indoor arena.  So, that insulation was pulled out and we applied spray insulation.  This should help reduce the energy required to heat the arena in the future, and takes away any potential mold issues.

Terry and the wranglers are anxiously waiting for the project to be finished so they may start riding the horses inside again.  The snow covered outdoor arena doesn’t quite do the trick this time of year!  The snow is piling up, and we are gearing up for the start of our winter season at our all-inclusive Colorado resort.

Decorating the Lodge

Well, we thought the new Great room was just about the greatest thing since sliced bread….until we started looking at what it will take to decorate it! A simple wreath, some garland and jingle bells playing in the background just wont cut it with this fabulous space. So, Bekah and the housekeeping crew are taking on the task today. They got started on Monday and today is the day to wrap it all up, pardon the pun. So far, so good. And it will hopefully be done in time for our staff party tonight. Pictures to follow! 3 days to go…….

Win a 3 night winter vacation for 2 people!

Vista Verde has donated a stay at our luxury winter resort to help raise funds for a local Steamboat couple.  Gary Crawford is a coach who works with Steph’s husband Todd at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.  A former Olympian, now training young athletes to follow in his footsteps, Gary has helped so many young athletes from the likes of four time silver medalist Johnny Spillane to the littlest kids on their way to Olympic dreams.  Gary’s wife, Kim, has suffered from major medical issues the past several years.  In this struggle, they have racked up an overwhelming amount of medical bills.  To help get them back on their feet, the local community is sponsoring an event November 18.  One of the items to be auctioned off is an all-inclusive 3 night winter stay at Vista Verde Ranch Resort for 2 people.

To help increase the amount of bidding, we are opening up the auction via our Facebook page, for any of you to bid on that stay.  You can just post your bid on our wall.   If you are not on Facebook, or don’t want to have your name published with your bid amount, you may email Steph your highest bid and she will bid for you.  Email Steph at  The bidding will close at 8:45pm Mtn time on Friday, November 18.

The all-inclusive 3 night stay for 2 people is offered anytime during the winter (January 2, 2011-March 18, 2012), based on availability.  The stay may not be used for an existing reservation.  The value of the 3 night stay is $2,200.  Included in the stay is airport transfers from the Steamboat resort airport, meals, beer and wine, activities, guides, equipment and instruction.

To increase the value of the package, Olympic medalist Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick have offered to include a ski lesson with one of them, again dependent on their availability due to their winter competition schedule.  A lesson from an Olympic medalist?  That makes the package priceless.

Let the bidding begin!

4 Days to Go!

Mock breakfast, mock lunch and mock dinner today. The servers and the Chefs are getting a workout today! The Ranch hands were out setting the ski trails today. The ski guides are fitting in a few more training skis. Tomorrow they take out the staff for a test run. We’ll have our staff Christmas party tomorrow night. Everything is getting packed into these last few days! I had to send some photos of the ranch to Eddie Bauer today as they are looking into the possibility of doing a small photo shoot here in late February. So, here’s an update of the transition into deep winter at the ranch.

Shuffling Horses

Ground driving the new teamNovember at our Colorado ski lodge means many different things, but in the horse department, it means preparing our herd for the rigors of a Steamboat Springs winter. We’ve been moving horses around from pasture to pasture, building new stalls in the indoor arena for some “5 star” horse living quarters, and also buying, selling, and donating horses.

We have been on a mission to send some of our older horses to good homes this fall as it can be a challenge for the older guys to stay fat and happy through the cold winter. Many of our older horses (Red and Casey) have been going to therapeutic riding centers, where they’ll live happily in a warm stall and continue to give joy to the children who ride and learn from them. Some of our horses (Gaeton, Wyatt, and Sugar) are finding homes with kind individuals who are looking for a friend. One of our ponies (Arapaho) even traveled all the way to North Carolina for retirement! We get very excited to pass these horses, who have given us so much, on to new owners who will enjoy them in their later years.


StormyDo not think, friends, that we are only giving away horses though! Indeed, we are adding to the herd as well. Just this past weekend a few of us headed down the road to an estate auction to check out a herd in Steamboat.  The owner of this ranch passed away almost 4 years ago, leaving 26 horses to pasture for almost 4 years! These horses had been used for sleigh rides, hunting and camping trips, and even some trail rides and cattle work. It was very exciting to see the Steamboat Springs resort community rally around this family to help them find good homes for these horses. Though there are good arguments for and against the horse-meat market, no one wanted to see these horses have to suffer a trip all the way down to Mexico, so we all showed up to see what we could do! Vista Verde was able to provide a home for 3 of these horses, 2 beautiful white Percherons (full brothers) and one sweet black half-draft named “Stormy.” We are so excited to see how these big white boys do pulling our feed sleigh and we just now are getting the snow to make that possible! Also, we’re looking for good names for these two, any suggestions?


It’s always great to be amongst people who care as much for these beautiful animals as we at Vista Verde do, and the community of Steamboat Springs in one such group of people. Our horses give us such joy and companionship over the years, and teach us so much about ourselves! It’s all we can do to give back to them for their kindness and loyalty.  Maybe you’ll get to enjoy a sleigh ride with your sweetheart during one of your romantic winter vacations?

Heading into the big City

Every now and then, we put on our fancy boots and make the trip into the big city of Steamboat. Ok, well maybe it’s actually pretty often. Sallie took the dining room crew for a little adventure into town to take a break from the intensity of training. They were on a mission to find new vests for their uniform, but had a little fun and some coffee along the way. Mission accomplished, the are now back at the ranch getting ready for our mock meals tomorrow. The mock meals are when they do a run through of breakfast, lunch and dinner and the staff are the guinea pigs. Someone the other day said they think it’s actually harder and more nerve wracking to serve the staff than it is to serve the guests. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow!

Bringing Home Cows on a Cattle Drive

Bringing Home Cows On a Cattle Drive Isn’t Like the "City Slickers" Movie – by Dick Friedland
Cattle drive at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado

Herding cattle back to Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado

© 2011 Dick Friedland

When I tell my friends I just came back from a roundup and cattle drive the inevitable response includes jokes about playing Billy Crystal in the movie City Slickers. In actuality the similarity ends with horses and cows.

I was at Vista Verde Guest Ranch, northwest of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the last week in September for the final week of a month-long cattle drive. I live in Colorado and chose this particular week for three reasons. First, the weather is usually good, with colder nights that quickly turn into warm days. Second, the aspen tree leaves have turned golden and it’s just beautiful. Third, the majority of the 1,000-head herd has been brought in, so we were heading up into the high country to help roundup strays, that didn’t want to be found. We needed to bring cows down from the open range before the deep snow falls and they eventually starve.

While all levels of riders can participate in the drive, my group’s experience made City Slickers seem like a walk in the park.

Thanks to Dick for this great article on his stay at our luxury ranch resort!

Link to full article

Horses and Snow

It’s always fun to watch the horses run into the barn from their pastures. It’s especially cool in the winter on snowy days. Jenn took some cool pictures from the run in. I particularly love Charlies look of panic as they came blazing towards him!

Happy weekend. We’re all playing this weekend. Next week is the last week of training with a little fun mixed in before we open the gates for the season!

Lodging in Rustic Luxury at a Colorado dude ranch

Lodging in Rustic Luxury at a Colorado Dude Ranch – by Lois Friedland
Cabins at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado

The cabins at Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Colorado are surprisingly luxurious

(c) Lois Friedland

I’ve always thought the words "rustic luxury" were overused, but the cabins at Vista Verde Guest Ranch and Resort actually fit this term. Inside, guests curl up on a comfy couch or other hand-made wood furniture in front of a wood-burning stove, and retire to very comfortable beds. The all-inclusive weeks include refrigerators stocked with drinks and snacks, and a few bottles of wine. The number of bedrooms varies in the nine cabins but all have hot tubs. There are also three guest rooms in the lodge. When full, the guest ranch tops out at about 40 guests.

The guest to staff ratio is 1:1 and the staff – from the wranglers to the chef – are superb. The food is labeled "Cowboy Cuisine" but you can expect plenty of gourmet touches in the entrees, with suggested wines to match. From the custom furnishings to the soaps to the saddles and the organic beef and lamb, the ranch stays local whenever possible.

Vista Verde Guest Ranch All-Inclusive Week-Long Packages

In the summertime, everything, from the horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing is included. In the winter it’s snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and backcountry skiing. Steamboat Resort is about 25 miles away for guests who want downhill skiing or snowboarding. The Ranch Manager, Ben Martin, accurately outlines the ranch’s philosophy: "There’s everything to do but you don’t have to do anything."

The ranch has a 40 percent return rate in the summer, and the guests include many families because the ranch has special programs for the children. In the fall, there are some adult-only weeks.

VVR note- Thanks to Lois for a series of wonderful articles on luxury dude ranch vacations at Vista Verde on Adventure Travel

The Team

Some of you may know that we lost Zig, one of our wonderful Percheron draft horses, last year. Since then we’ve been trying to figure out how to replace him. Usually when you work with a team, you buy them as a team. It’s very difficult to replace 1 member of a team as they definitely have a relationship and a work dynamic. We borrowed Whopper from some friends to see if we could pair him up with Zag, and we also bought Ben and Jerry who are a younger team. So far we haven’t found the right fit for our sleigh pulling needs. Today Terry, Jo and Nicky hooked up Ben and Zag together and it looks like they might be a good match. Zag is bigger than Ben, but his maturity is helping Ben learn to be a good little draft horse. It was a beautiful day and I got chills up and down my spine when I looked out and saw them making laps around the Sunday pasture. That is just such a magnificent sight…no matter how many times I’ve seen it. Just like running the horses in from pasture, it’s something I never tire of watching.

The Mountain Bike Park at Colorado’s Vista Verde Dude Ranch

The Mountain Bike Park at Colorado’s Vista Verde Dude Ranch- as seen on by Lois Friedland
Bike Terrain Park at Vista Verde Ranch near Steamboat, Colorado

Bike Terrain Park at Vista Verde Ranch near Steamboat, Colorado

© 2011 Lois Friedland

A tricky bike terrain park is set up a short bicycle ride from Vista Verde Guest Ranch’s main lodge. In the park, there are obstacles, rails and mini-courses where new mountain bike riders can learn skills, and skilled bicyclists can have a lot of fun.

The terrain park has been set up by Steven King, the biking guide whose skills let him easily balance his bike on a teeter-totter, and weave his way through a narrow rock-lined course then ride a rail at the end. He works with the groups of bicyclists who come to the park to improve their skills.

The course was designed, in part, to occupy the teenagers and other children who visit the ranch and aren’t interested in spending all week on a horse. (The day I was there, a duo of laughing, determined adults were learning to navigate challenges in the park.)

The bike terrain park is also a place to start and learn the skills needed to go on the single-track trails in the surround mountains. Some guests prefer easier routes, like the road that leads to a store where they can get ice-cream cones before riding back to the ranch.

Rosie gets her skis on

The ski guides headed up north today to check out the trails around Hahn’s Peak. Little Rosie is in training to be the new Jake, so she wouldn’t be left behind. The guides had to turn around and head in a bit early because there was just too much snow. It was over their knees in some places! We’ve gone from famine to feast in just a couple weeks.

Horseback Riding and Cattle Drives at Vista Verde Dude Ranch in Colorado

A great article by Lois Friedland on Adventure Travel

Vista Verde Ranch offers much more than horseback riding. Some guests come just for the fly fishing, while others spend part of the time riding and the rest hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing or just relaxing. I opted to hike one day because it was prime fall foliage season in Colorado, when the aspen leaves look like liquid gold. Viewing the patches of gold among the deep green of the ponderosa and lodgepole pines, I decided Mother Nature stitched a patchwork quilt. Add in the occasional red patch of low-lying scrub oak, and it was almost impossible to take a bad picture.

The region has hundreds of miles of trails, but that day we hiked part of the Zirkel Circle in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. The trail meandered through forests and past streams, where rusty equipment left by 19th-century miners seeking gold littered the ground. We stopped to photograph wildflowers in the ruins of what was reputed to be a bordello.

Each day you had choices beyond riding, so another morning, a group of us walked among towering aspens with a professional photographer. She spent time with each of us to help us improve our photography skills.

Go Green. Give an experience rather than a Gift

So I can be a little bit of a tree hugger which is why I get an e-newsletter that focuses on health, wellness, environment, etc.. As with many of these types of things, often times I just hit the delete button due to lack of time. But today, one of the headlines caught my eye. It was a blog about being environmentally friendly this year for the holidays by not giving a physical gift. For some reason it peaked my interest so I read it. And darn it, he didn’t mention a trip to Vista Verde, but he should have!! Rather than a toy or a tie, give your loved ones a ranch vacation where you can share an experience together and build memories that will last much longer than the AA batteries in the toys in our house.

I know, I write this with a sense of humor- how dare I suggest giving a big trip like this in lieu of a $20 toy? But what the heck, it’s a great idea AND environmentally friendly! Ho, ho, ho…..

It’s still snowing and the staff are still hard at it getting their fill of how-to’s and why’s. 10 days to go…..

Off season – getting ready for the Colorado ski lodge season

I got a laugh out of the staff room board yesterday morning (you may have to click on it to see it better). In many ways it represented to me what off season means to many of us here. During the guest season, we are happily totally immersed in taking care of all of our wonderful guests, and focused on what needs to be done each day to make Vista Verde one of the best dude ranches. Come off season, the pace slows down a bit for most around the ranch, and it becomes a time of projects and checking items off the to-do list. Some of the projects are expected, some unexpected, like a water leak that interrupted Bill’s vacation plans (hence, the cussing).

The past couple weeks have been filled with beautiful weather, for the most part. Every once in a while we would get a cruddy, rainy, snowy, sleety day. But, other than that it was blue skies, mild temperatures and sunshine. All of us have been soaking it up as much as we can, as we know it wont last. Over the weekend, which most of us take off (except for a few who have to feed the horses still), and get to enjoy what it’s like for a weekend to be a weekend. Naps were taken on the lawn in front of the bunkhouse, leaves were raked at my house, some of us squeezed in the last bike ride or hike of the season, and we all just enjoyed the beautiful days. Now it’s gently snowing, and it’s time for a fire in the fireplace.

Speaking of fires in the fireplace, in a couple weeks, we’ll be hosting Jo and Javin’s wedding in front of the fire in the Great Room. Whether it’s snowing or sunny, we’re excited for a wonderful day for the two of them. Yes, photos will follow.

Dace has been busy working on finishing his hiring for the winter season. Between all of his interviews, reference calls and my reservation calls and inquiries, yesterday the phone rang off the hook. Both of us stopped and looked at each other at one point and laughed…..we thought off season was supposed to be relaxing! But, it’s exciting to be putting together another great team for the winter season, and I’m excited to have so many great folks interested in joining us- whether that be this coming winter season for a Colorado winter resort experience, or next summer for a dude ranch vacation. Both of them are filling up, so come on and join us if you haven’t made plans already!

Off to put another log on the fire. It might be time for a hot chocolate break for the ones working outside in the snow today…..I can always be coerced into joining them for a little afternoon pick me up.


Let it snow

Today has been a whirlwind of introductions, orientations and training. We spent a little time in the Great Room this morning getting to know everyone on the crew. Random facts….only 2 of the staff are from South of the Mason-Dixon line, and a whopping 8 of them are from Indiana. And it’s not like we’re trying to recruit from Indiana. No offense to any Indy residents, but a couple of the crew mentioned that if we lived in Indiana, we would want to leave too. Then it was off for a ranch tour with Steve and then Dace’s mission statement talk. Ask for it next time you’re here….you’ve never seen anyone break down one sentence like Dace does.

Now the crews are off in their various departments learning the ropes and getting geared up. During all this, it’s been snowing like crazy. We’ve shoveled twice today already, and it’s still coming down! I took this picture from right outside the front door today…..isn’t it beautiful with the snow on the trees? You might barely be able to see Bill’s plow truck driving down the road. It was the second time he plowed today!

Fun Winter Activities at a Dude Ranch

Ranchseeker posted this story on their blog in October, 2011.

As the temperature starts to drop many of RanchSeeker’s dude ranches are gearing up for their winter season. Gone are long, hot sunny days paving the way for winter fun. There are many activities that you can still enjoy at a dude ranch during the cooler winter months. Different dude ranches offer different winter activities depending on location, ranch amenities and the size of the dude ranch. Below are just some of the fun activities that you can find on your next dude ranch vacation.

1)      Skiing & Snowboarding. Some dude ranches like, Vista Verde Guest Ranch, are located near world famous romantic ski resorts. You can enjoy all the amenities of staying at a dude ranch and spend a few days hitting the slopes. Check with your ranch of choice, in advance, to see whether they can provide you with ski equipment and transportation to the mountain base.

Vista Verde Guest Ranch


2)      Cross Country Skiing & Snow Shoeing Vacations. At many dude ranches like, Ranch 4 Saisons, you can strap on a pair of snow shoes or cross country skis and head out to explore the snowy woods or meadows. A great way to spend the day outdoors and work up an appetite for a hearty dinner.

Ranch 4 Saisons


3)      Sleigh Rides. Various guest ranches, like Bar W, offer sleigh rides accompanied by hot chocolate and cozy blankets. It’s a special way to spend time with family and friends.


4)      Snowmobiling. Explore the back-country wilderness by snowmobile on your next winter dude ranch vacation. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is just one guest ranch that offers a snowmobile package.


5)      Horseback riding. Winter horseback riding at a dude ranch is an unforgettable experience; one of the highlights of a winter ranch vacation when weather conditions permit.


6)      Dog-Sledding. Dog sledding is now being offered at some of the dude ranches and is a great opportunity to experience what can only be described as a truly one-of-a-kind adventure.


Bar W Guest Ranch

7)      Spa. For a truly relaxing winter-getaway many dude ranches offer spa treatments that you can enjoy in a winter setting.


Whatever you decide to do on your next dude ranch vacation RanchSeeker’s Dude Ranch Finder can help you find the ideal guest ranch.

Thanks Ashlie at Ranchseeker!  We love these winter vacation ideas!  Whether you are planning a family snow vacation or a romantic resort getaway, hopefully one of these ranches will fit your needs.