Archive for March, 2014
Date: March 31st, 2014
As Cholly heads out with Alaya and Eamon to visit family for their spring break, he left us with a couple great recommendations for spring time sips. Not to alienate the beer or wine drinkers, he is sharing one of each. Cheers!
Light copper-colored with a tall, white head, the Spring Blonde has a nose of lemon peel, fresh baked bread (my favorite aroma), black pepper, cloves and a hint of apple and pear. The taste of this medium-bodied ale starts with a bit of malty sweetness that transitions into a dry, lightly bitter finish. It is a light and refreshing, but still slightly malty brew perfect for the changing season that is spring.
2013 Arnot-Roberts, Touriga Nacional Rosé, Luchsinger Vineyard, CA
Named Winemaker of the Year for 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle, Arnot-Roberts (pronounced AR-NOT; it’s Scottish, not French) has made a delicious rosé from the Touriga Nacional grape, indigenous to Portugal’s Douro Valley. With a nose of strawberry, watermelon and rose water that immediately captivates you and a taste that matches with bright, under-ripe berry tartness, herbal spiciness, and a long finish, this medium-bodied wine is not a sweet rosé – the Arnot-Roberts shines more like a Provencal-style wine with intense complexity and vivid acidity for a mouth-watering, refreshing and thirst quenching quaff that one could enjoy on a warm day on the patio or porch.
The best part is that both of these selections pair well with the same foods enabling you to serve them both at the same cookout or dinner party. They are lovely with steamed mussels, grilled lobster tail, salmon and even some lightly gamy meats such as venison and wild boar, even slightly spicy dishes match well with these refreshing choices.
Date: March 26th, 2014
Spring has arrived at Vista Verde Ranch, and we’re all enjoying a little break between our winter season and the start of summer. Although there is still a lot of snow on the ground, there is also a lot of mud starting to creep up around the ranch. Our version of spring break in Colorado means early morning crust skate skiing and snowbiking, long walks down the driveway (it’s the only place that isn’t muddy or slushy right now), riding the young horses as much as we can in the arena, but also introducing them to strolls down the driveway, and road biking. Or, if you ask Ben, it might just mean turning on the big screen to March Madness. Either way, we’re enjoying the sunshine, the birds singing the the sound of slushy snow.
After having so many people request for us to stay open a bit later for spring break vacations, we decided to add another week next winter. So, for those of you who’s spring break schedules allow, we’ll be open until March 21 in 2015. Spring break getaways at Vista Verde are a little different than the rest of the winter. Typically the weather is warmer, the snow is melting and mud boots are handy during the warm afternoons on the walkways and driveway. But, with that warm weather there are some fun opportunities. Slush skiing in the afternoon. Crust skate skiing in the morning. Snow biking on the crust is the best (I’m sneaking out soon for a quick ride) and there is something super fun about being on a ski with short sleeve shirts. Give us a call if you’re interested in making a spring break trip to Colorado next year!
Oh, is that a chickadee I hear? Must mean the sun is coming up and it’s time for me to hop on that bike.
Date: March 25th, 2014
Weekend Life….Vista Verde Ranch, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Over the next few days we throw ourselves into ranch activities. Cross-country skiing on groomed trails, tobogganing (I start off nervously – wearing my yaktrax for extra grip – and by the end am taking a flying leap before hurtling down the slope, face covered in snow and laughing wildly), a horsemanship clinic, backcountry skiing, and a snowy horse ride. My favorite? Backcountry skiing. Before we head out into the wilderness, Steve and Kelli, our wonderful guides, kit us out with skis, boots and poles and ask about our expectations, experience, likes and dislikes. I sense that skiing in a remote forest in deep, untracked powder is as much about the spiritual as the physical. With Steve’s words of wisdom spurring us on “Nobody grooms as good as mother nature” and “We are human beings, not human doings”, we set off with Steve andKelli’s adorable lab, Rosie, leading the way. As Rosie bounds ahead of us – four legs are better than two skis it seems - her black face sprinkled with snow, we are soon deep in a pine forest where the only sounds are the swoosh of our skis (and the rustle of my pants!) and Steve and Kelli’s enthusiastic encouragement. It is magical. And although I fall, feel frustrated(mostly trying to master uphill!) and am exhausted by the end, we both agree that it is the highlight of our stay at Vista Verde Ranch.
Date: March 20th, 2014
After breakfast this morning, our last guests of the season will check out and head home. We closed out the winter season with a fabulous final day yesterday. The 12 guests attending the horsemanship clinic rode hard, laughed a lot and finished strong. The energy in the indoor arena was wonderful when I went down to watch them ride yesterday. There were four wranglers in there teaching, each sharing their own perspective on horsemanship and helping give tips to the guests as they tried out complicated maneuvers with their horses. Nate, Mandy, John and Terry were instructing and helping our guests understand the nuances of how they were using their bodies to send cues to their horses. It was fun to watch Terry and John relish in their last time teaching at the ranch before they both head off for their next adventures in life. And it was great to see Mandy and Nate step up to the plate and establish themselves as talented teachers with their own style, preparing to step into their new roles as trainer and head wrangler at Vista Verde.
In the afternoon, Melissa and I walked over to the other side of the river to celebrate the graduation of our first “class” of guest guides. In our inaugural Guide Training for Guests we had 3 guests try out the course. It was everything I could have imagined and better. Steve, Kelli and Brandon put together an amazing, information packed course for these guests to learn how to head out into the backcountry safely. Anyone who likes to hike, fish, bike, ski, snowshoe, you name it…..should take this course. Our guests learned about the dangers, reading the land, navigating, first aid and safety, proper dress, shelter building, and the list goes on. I enjoyed hearing them share their new knowledge and realization that they can’t believe they used to go out without all this information before. Congrats to the class of 2014, and happy trails.
Today brings a flurry of cleaning, closing down cabins, deep cleaning the kitchen, putting away the skis, and wrapping up the winter season. Tomorrow we’ll get the key players to sit down and hash out all the ins and outs of this past winter, what worked, what didn’t, what changes do we want to make next year. Friday night the staff will come over to my house for dinner before heading off to watch KP and Bubba dance in tights (ok, that’s just our joke….they’ll be in their cowboy boots and jeans we hope) at the annual Steamboat Dance Showcase. Then many of the staff will be loading up their cars or hopping on planes to head off to vacation or their next step in life. A small group of us stick around in the off-season and start hitting our to-do lists. Mine’s a mile long, and I’m looking forward to some quiet days of catching up, but also sneaking out to play a bit. I’ve got my eye on a little mare down in the barn and there’s still some snow out there to enjoy before it melts away completely.
Thank you to all the wonderful people who made this past winter season at Vista Verde so fun. We loved watching families try out a snow vacation for the first time. The honeymooners here on a snowy honeymoon were sweet and fun. The couples rekindling the romance, the singles coming to share their experience with friends, the girlfriend getaways, and all the other ways people found to experience Vista Verde in the winter made this a memorable and action packed season. Thanks for playing with all of us at the ranch this past winter.
Date: March 14th, 2014
Vista Verde Guest Ranch: Rustic Luxury Defined
Living in Colorado makes it easy to spend a lot of time outdoors; you can often find my family on the slopes, by the soccer field or camping by a lively stream. Being “outdoorsy” is just our way of life. However, I never realized that doing the things I love outside and having a “luxury” vacation could intersect… boy, was I in for a glorious surprise! Read more…..
Date: March 10th, 2014
At the end of every season, we say goodbye to a number of our wonderful staff who came to the ranch for a season (or more) and are now moving on to their next adventure in life. It’s always a mix of sadness to see them go, but excitement for their next steps in life and continued growth. And then we start looking forward to the new arrivals to come in time to prepare for our next season. That is the life cycle of a seasonal business. There are a few of us who stick around to become what we call “lifers”, but that is only a select few who are in a place in life to be here for the long term.
This spring we say goodbye to some really outstanding members of the Vista Verde team, who have made a commitment of leading one or more of the departments at the ranch. Closest to my heart is Melissa, who has been my life saver in the office the past 2 years. She has run the office with grace and ease, overseeing all the reservations, communications with our guests and the many logistics that need to be managed to keep the ranch running smoothly. She moves on to explore new career options in Austin, TX. Another one near and dear is Jess, our amazing red-headed, wine-serving, white table cloth slinging dining room manager. After several years with us at the ranch, Jess will be heading off to further her education with a dual masters degree in teaching and fine arts & creative writing in Spokane, WA.
The kids will be crying when they learn that Carson has finally decided to move onto his next venture. He started as our ace dishwasher, then became a ranch hand, then managed our kids program before finishing out his time at Vista Verde managing the ranch hand department. But, the kids always remember and know Carson as “the funny guy” and the one who they vied for his attention. Carson will be jumping on a motorcycle with John I., and heading to Kodiak Island, AK to hop aboard a fishing boat for the summer. They were looking for a new experience, and they definitely found one! That leads us to sending off John I., our ace wrangler with the big smile. He’s trained our horses, been the farrier for our horses, led the wrangling crew the past 2 seasons, and played a role in the Farwell Mountain Boys band, always with that great big smile on his face.
After spending 4 years in the kitchen, most recently as our Sous Chef, Vinny is packing his bags and getting behind the steering wheel for an epic road trip around the Western US. Having grown up in Steamboat Springs, he’s excited to be touring and exploring, looking for a new place to call home and further his culinary experience.
Lastly, we send off the ever charismatic and entertaining Terry. He’s headed to the warmer weather of Texas to dip his toe back into the waters of the show horse world. Terry’s been an integral part of our team for the past 6 years helping us grow our breeding program, and he has taught so many people the finer points of horsemanship. And, he’s never been at a loss for words, jokes or stories. We will miss his laughter and love of horses, but know he’ll be bringing a lot of joy to folks in Texas.
Along with these great folks who have contributed to the “betterness” of Vista Verde in so many ways, we say goodbye to some of the great people who made Vista Verde their home recently. Maureen, Heidi, Annie, Maddie, BMac, and Steve J. It’s always a blast sharing this place with new people, watching them grow over the course of the seasons and then sending them off with our best wishes for new adventures.
Although sad to say goodbye, all of us here embrace the excitement and enthusiasm the new managers bring to the place. Malori has been training all winter to step into Melissa’s role in the front office. Bubba will be handling the fine china and taking over managing the dining room crew. Brandon will be picking up the reigns to lead the ranch hand crew (don’t worry, he’ll still be guiding fishing trips this summer!), and Nathan and Mandy will be teaming up to oversee the horse program. These folks have all put in their time learning the ropes, understanding our business and are now ready to step up in their responsibilities. We’re revamping our clinics, adding new ones, making plans for the next breeding season and lining up the young horses to get a great base of training this summer so they can start moving into the riding herd soon. Pretty soon some of these young horses who our guests enjoyed as foals will be steady trail steeds, ready to take you out into the mountains of Colorado.
With our heartfelt thanks for their contributions to the ranch we send off these folks to leave their mark in other places, and can’t wait to hear the tales of their new lives in the real world. And we look forward to the excitement, new ideas and energy that our incoming managers bring to their roles for the upcoming summer dude ranch season. Let’s Ride!
Date: March 10th, 2014
As I grudgingly dragged myself out of bed this morning and stumbled to the coffee pot at 6:00 am – that extra hour of sleep I lost felt like an eternity. However, once I gulped one cup of coffee down, the world seemed a little less harsh and I thought about the excitement the words “spring forward” denote.
We’re just a few months away from paddle boarding on the lake, hiking through wild flowers, and riding on trails no longer blanketed by snow. Our spring breakers are here this week, the temperatures are starting to warm up, and there’s a new anticipation in the air. An extra hour of daylight means one more hour to play outside – just enough time after work for a run on the tubing hill, a snowshoe to Hinman Lake, or maybe a skate ski. I guess an hour lost is a fair exchange for one more hour in the sun – now get outside and soak up that sun!
Date: March 3rd, 2014
A co-op blog by Steph and Malori
Every now and then we’ll brainstorm some fun story ideas to send along to our media partners. It’s not that we expect them to pick up that exact story, but it can sometimes get a writer’s creative juices flowing. Malori has been working on some fun ones this winter, and for grins I figured I’d share them with those of you who follow the Vista Verde story.
I love this first one. It is a true story (Doug, you know we’re writing about you!) and it happens over an over each winter!
The Unlikely Winter Fan -
So you think you hate winter? Are you sure?
It happened again. Another one of our guests confessed to being a lover of snow, cold and everything winter. He told us: when my wife suggested a winter vacation at a ranch – I told her that sounded like a miserable excuse for a vacation. But after the first morning of back-country skiing, followed by an afternoon horse clinic, he told us, “That was the best day of my life!” By day three he was planning his family’s return trip. Why? Because he was unexpectedly introduced to a whole new world of experiences, adventure, challenges, and rewards he never even knew existed. So, how many people have been pleasantly surprised by their vacations? Perhaps a story about unlikely vacation fans could be a fun twist for readers.
Disconnect to Reconnect-
Remembering the joy of a simple life
Ever have the desire to ditch the city, technology and the fast-paced life? How do you disconnect, but also reconnect with the stuff that really matters? Vista Verde guests end up disconnecting and reconnecting at the same time, thanks to a unique blend of personalized luxury and beautiful simplicity. For the luxury, envision deluxe mountain cabins, fluffy down comforters, a 1:1 staff to guest ratio, private hot tubs and an endless flow of wine. As for simplicity, there’s plenty of space each day to simply be present. Decisions are wonderfully rewarding: Horseback riding or cooking class? Homemade butternut squash ravioli or bison short ribs with sweet potato gnocchi? Engage in meaningful conversation with your spouse or read a book in while looking out over the pristine meadows? Guests slow down and enjoy the moment.
As someone who spends her life squeezing in fitness and multi-tasking my life away, this one made me laugh:
The All-Inclusive Vacation Workout-
Be adventurous and get in shape – on a Vista Verde Ranch vacation
Vista Verde Ranch, located just outside of Steamboat Springs, CO, is an all-inclusive luxury resort. The vacation package includes lodging in a cozy log cabin, numerous activities, three gourmet meals a day, wine and micro brews, and an opportunity for the best full-body workout you can get while on vacation.
|Day 1: Horseback Riding||Day 1: Horseback Riding|
|Targeted Muscles: abs and legs||Targeted Muscles: abs and legs|
|Day 2: Rock Climbing||Day 2: Snowshoeing|
|Targeted Muscles: arms, chest, back, legs, abs||Targeted Muscles: legs, glutes, abs|
|Day 3: Hiking||Day 3: Back Country Skiing|
|Targeted Muscles: legs, glutes||Targeted Muscles: legs, glutes, abs, arms|
|Day 4: Yoga||Day 4: Yoga|
|Targeted Muscles: Full body, core focus||Targeted Muscles: Full body, core focus|
|Day 5: Mountain Biking||Day 5: Snow Biking|
|Targeted Muscles: legs, glutes, abs, upper body||Targeted Muscles: legs, glutes, abs, upper body|
|Day 6: Paddle Boarding||Day 6: Skate Skiing|
|Targeted Muscles: Full body, core focus||Targeted Muscles: Full body, core focus|
|Day 7: Kayaking||Day 7: Massage & Hot Tub|
|Targeted Muscles: chest, arms, shoulders, back||Targeted Muscles: Rest and rejuvenate all your muscles!|
Each day, refuel your body breakfast, lunch and dinner with Chef Cholly’s healthy gourmet options like an arugula, tomato and feta cheese omelet, lemon and almond kale salad, or fresh grilled salmon. You come back from vacation recharged, refreshed, fitter and healthier – what a concept!
This one was an spin-off from a kids program blog post I did last summer about my kids being filthy, sobbing messes at the end of each day here at the ranch..
A Playground without Fences-
Running wild and free in the Rocky Mountains
A filthy, sobbing child is the kind of child we can all hope for at the end of a good day. Why? You may have seen it before: dirty tear streaks that leave tracks like war paint – evidence of a rewarding day spent playing, running, and jumping in the great outdoors. After a full day of horseback riding, panning for gold, and a low ropes course at Vista Verde, you will end up with a kid who is so exhausted she can barely make it through dinner. But, what a great replacement for fenced yards, sanitized playrooms and recirculated air. The kid’s program at Vista Verde will leave your child begging to be left behind with the kid’s supervisors, horses, and mountains they have come to love. Hey, you may be begging to be left behind too after breath-taking hikes, adventurous horseback rides, and a daily timeout from the kids.