August 2010

Vista Verde Superwomen

Each summer, we have to wonderful opportunity to host families from the University of Michigan Pediatric Cancer Center. It’s an amazing week for all of us, and we do our best to make it an amazing week for all the families in their journey to our Colorado ranch resort.

One of the joys of this relationship with UM is that we have gotten to know several of their staff very well over the years. These three gals come out each year to help organize the logistics and help with the families during their stay. They are all true superwomen and are amazing in all they give to the families during this week, as well as their roles in their lives back at home in Michigan.

We were laughing at the three musketeers as they lined up the other day watching us walk by. So we pulled Judy, Debra and Sheila in to sit below their ranch alter ego’s.

We couldn’t do this week without the tireless efforts of these three gals. I can easily speak for all the families here this year and past that these gals are so appreciated and their efforts have been life changing. We get a week to try to make a difference in the families lives, they do it day in and day out.

Go Blue!

Snowshoe Magazine – August 18, 2010

Snowshoe Magazine – The Top 10 Resorts for Love on Snowshoes

by Roger Lohr –

It is a perfect romantic setting. The day spent in the great outdoors, the fireplace flickering, meals eaten by candlelight, a snowy panorama stretching in the moonlight and a sleigh outside the restaurant. It’s romantic and perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day.

It is and can be found at winter destination resorts across North America, according to the experts who regularly update, the country’s most extensive cross country ski and snowshoe destination website. Add in the thrill of exploring together down snowy trails, and a snowshoe vacation becomes the perfect getaway with your sweetheart, Valentine’s Day or not.

These resorts offer the perfect combination of dreamlike atmosphere and picture-perfect views together with beautiful lodging, cozy dining, and picturesque trails where couples can enjoy the winter outdoors together.

The Top 10 features favorite romantic resorts across North America listed in alphabetical order.

Callaghan Country at Whistler, British Columbia, is a secluded lodge where up to eight couples can enjoy 8,000 acres of wilderness with 36 feet of guaranteed snow without high altitude problems. No roads, no signs, no power lines. Just pure high-alpine terrain.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, in Alberta, is a graceful timbered resort in a fairytale setting – surrounded by snowy peaks, nestled beside its own mountain lake, with a panorama of the Victoria Glacier. Hundreds of kilometers of trails lead right from the door of the Chateau.

Garland Resort in Lewiston, Michigan, is an AAA Four-Diamond resort oozing with rustic elegance in the heart of the Midwest, where 65 kilometers of trails combined with gourmet meals to create a winter wonderland sure to melt any snowshoer’s heart.

Lone Mountain Ranch at Big Sky, Montana, visit nearby magical Yellowstone National Park or check out 75 kilometers of prepared trails. Lovers can stay in their own private log cabin. The main lodge serves great cuisine, has massage services and an impeccable staff.

Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, is a Victorian castle set spectacularly on Lake Mohonk only a one-hour drive from the city. Fifty kilometers of trails, skis and snowshoes are included in the stay. An enticing couples massage and partner massage instruction will add to a couple’s pleasure long after the vacation.

Mt. Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods, in New Hampshire, is a step back in time to ornate elegance. The impeccable service, period rooms, dining accompanied by strings and unsurpassed views in New England makes this difficult to surpass for the perfect romantic weekend.

Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden, Vermont, is buried in the Green Mountains. Dream in rough hewn timber beds. Enjoy gourmet meals where your crystal glistens in the firelight. Snowshoe or ski on the 85-kilometer groomed trail network right from the door.

Royal Gorge in Soda Springs, California, has the largest trail network in the U.S. The majestic Sierra Nevadas surround the remote 1920s Rainbow Lodge. This is ideal for romance with a massive stone fireplace and fine French cuisine.

Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, Washington, has a 360-degree view of the Cascades. Choose a view room or lakeside cabin. Snowshoe or ski on 160 kilometers of trails. Enjoy the extensive wine cellar, gourmet meals and full-service spa (try the Double Decadence spa treatment).

Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
, is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. In their own words they are “kick-back-‘n-relax, taste-tantalizing, mouth-watering kind of place.” Couples can get away from the everyday grind and enjoy groomed trails, backcountry, plus horseback riding. is the most comprehensive website focused on winter destination resorts in North America.


Don’t panic, we haven’t added a new, crazy sport to our menu of activities. But maybe we should? Adventure Center director Steve King treated himself to a new toy for his….umm, 30th, birthday. After spending so many years guiding and riding 2 wheel mountain bikes, he thought he’d challenge himself to learn how to ride a unicycle. Since this birthday, he just hasn’t found the time to learn to ride it, but his daughter Maddie decided to play around with it this summer. We’ve watched her give it a try here and there, but she hadn’t quite mastered it until yesterday. It turns out one of our guests used to do a lot of unicycle riding so he saw Maddie goofing off and came over to give her a few tips. No more than a few minutes later, Maddie got it!

After watching Maddie grow up at the ranch over the years, it was so much fun to watch her take this new step, and even more fun to watch papa bear Steve look on with pride and excitement. Mom Kelli missed the moment, but I’m sure Maddie showed off to her later.

So, stay tuned…..who knows if in a couple years we might have a new program led by Maddie King herself. Mountain biking on unicyles. Wow, that might be a niche market.

Bring the Talent

Talents here at the ranch go far beyond their respective departments. This is evident in our team of housekeepers who have ingeniously remixed Wagon Wheel this summer by using a washboard and other musical instruments. One of the most interesting and talented quartets we have here at Vista Verde is our staff band who have coined themselves the “Farwell Mountain Boys.” This mountain boy band is made up of our two General Managers, Ben and Dace, along with Terry Wegener our resident horse trainer and one of our awesome wranglers, Reid Morgan. They became famous this summer with their rendition of The Gambler and Cowboy Logic, my personal favorite! Those of you who have visited the ranch this summer have seen the Morgan family talents. Leslie, Grace, and Reid definitely have the talent in their genes. You can see a video of one of their songs on our Facebook page. Grace, a musical theater major at University of Michigan added a Broadway number to our Saturday night Campfire, Dace and Grace (quite the duo), sing Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better. It’s gotten quite the response this summer! A long-time favorite for both guests and staff alike is their duet Stuff That Works that remains on the set list. For anyone looking to fulfill their dreams of working on a luxury guest ranch in Colorado, I hope you bring the talent!

By, Guest Blogger and Front Desk Manager Christi Cline