December 2011

Snow Sisters

First off, I would bring my sister since I only see her every other year. Our stay would look more like an adventure vacation than relaxation. Plus, we love snow and how beautiful nature is out west. I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and my sister lives in the Charlotte suburbs. My area gets a little snow and her area doesn’t really get even a dusting. So, going to a winter wonderland trip would be a real treat and would create lasting memories.

Our mornings would start off with a hardy breakfast. Then, after putting on several layers of warm cloths, we would be ready for our first adventure. We would try backcountry skiing. I’d bring my camera along to capture shots of landscapes and wildlife. Another morning, we would try snowshoeing. I’m sure we would laugh at how silly we would look trying to do the “duck walk.” I hope a bear doesn’t find us on the trail, ha, ha. How would we duck walk away quickly?

If there is time before lunch, we would try snowbiking. I’ve actually never even heard of snowbiking until I saw the ranch’s photos. It looks like a lot of fun. After that, I bet we would be ready for a good lunch.

Our afternoons would be filled with horse riding. We love riding in the snow. My sister doesn’t currently own a horse, but I still do. Whenever it snows even just a little in my area, I can’t wait to take my Quarter Horse out on the trail. Of course, I take my camera too. My best landscapes and wildlife shots come from having a better view from horseback.

After a good ride, we would be ready for a beautiful and relaxing sleigh ride. Or, try the two hour snowmobiling trip which is something we have always wanted to do. Also, we would love to try dog sledding.

Then, we would be ready for dinner and a soak in the hot tub. There is nothing like sitting in a hot tub surrounded by beautiful nature covered in snow.

Overall, there is so much to do that it is difficult to decide. I bet a trip to Vista Verde Ranch would leave us wanting time come back time and time again with all of the activities offered. Also, my sister and I love visiting ranches. We absolutely love trying activities, exploring new places and learning from the ranch staff.

I have attached a photo from when I was riding my horse in the snow from a few years ago. That was a special year because there was about two feet of snow on the ground. My area doesn’t usually get nearly that amount. It gets about a few inches here and there.

Name: Cynthia Kunnas
Company: Rider University
City: Newtown
State: PA

Deja Vu

It seems like I have posted pictures of a “new team” several times in the past couple years. Yes, we have struggled a bit to find a good pair to replace 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.

Draft horse teams are a tricky thing. They need to work well together. 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 in from Montana 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. 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 the ranch!

Please pick me!

A winter vacation at Vista Verde would be to me,
Horses, and skiing, and people to see.
A romantic getaway or some family too.
It is a childhood dream, and a must do.
Each day a look forward and there will be three.
There are Horses, and skiing, and people to see.

Company: JWH Co. LLC
State: North Carolina

Leaving the Ranch

ImageI 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.

God’s Country

Winter’s peace…
Snow covered mountains…
Fresh cold,mountain breeze….
Walks in the woods…
Back to nature…
New friends…

Name: Pam Erwin
City: Anderson
State: IN

‘Tis the Season

Here we are, 5 days until we open for the season, and despite the wintery feel outside, the heat is definitely turned up at the Ranch these days. For those of you who follow this blog, you may notice a direct correlation with our orientation weeks and me falling off the blogging bandwagon. It’s a pretty intense time here at Vista Verde each season. 

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. 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. 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!