A white Christmas in Colorado

By Steph, inspired by Hill

As the day comes to an end, the sun has broken out from behind the ever-producing snow clouds. We woke up this morning to 5 inches or so of fresh, fluffy powder, and the snow kept lightly falling for much of the day. It was a truly white Christmas!

Neil and "Santa" Matthew prepare to take guests up tubing on Christmas day.

Neil and “Santa” Matthew prepare to take guests up tubing on Christmas day.

When Christmas morning dawned on Vista Verde this year, a quiet hush fell over the valley. Snow falling out of the sky muffled the noises around the ranch, the hum of the Bombardier as it glided over the meadows laying fresh corduroy for skiers, the snow plow and the tractor working efficiently to clear out the new layer of snow for all of us to make our way from cabin to cabin. The chefs came in long before dark, gave their Christmas greetings before all jumping into their lists and working without words to prepare the annual feast. A lone horse back rider heads down the driveway, ready to gather up the herd and run them into the corral. The horses, sensing that rider coming, begin to whinny at each other and stir. Their footsteps make crunching sounds in the snow, and as they gather up and gallop out of the pasture, snow is flying in all directions. The VVR staff roll into the dining room to prepare and deliver breakfast to the guests in their cabins, like a bunch of Santa’s elves. Although all are a bit groggy, the sense of teaming up together to create a special Christmas day for our guests prevails and the teams come together to collaborate and deliver.

The snow falls all day as we prepare for the big noon day meal. Giggles from the tubing hill float down to the Lodge, and laughter from skiers and horseback riders drift across the meadows. Once again, I am inspired and amazed as I watch the staff team up to set up the Great Room, get the cabins cleaned in record time, and prepare for a special noon event. As Zach rings the dinner bell with zest, Ben prepares to give thanks and bring everyone together for the meal. The Great room is buzzing with energy and good cheer. Christmas sweaters abound, and kids excitedly find their own boot that was left by the fireplace and magically filled with goodies overnight.

We dine like kings, and all get a chance to celebrate the day together. If everyone were so lucky.

Colorado-Christmas-Day-300x168As the guests roll out of the Lodge and off to their adventures for the afternoon (some opt to skip their plans of active outings and relax in their cabin with a good book, or take a nap following a dip in their hot tub), the crew teams up to clean up the mess we have made. Laughter and camaraderie take over to ease the hard work, and the Great room and dining room are put back into shape in no time at all. I step out to head to the barn with my family for a Christmas day trail ride. As the girls chat with their horses, and feed them the special carrots Santa delivered for them, Todd and I revel in the bond between a child and a horse. The ride is beautiful, the temperature just perfect, the snow is still falling, and as we head back to the barn, the sleigh passes us with jingling bells.

It isn’t until late in the afternoon that the sun breaks out. The light is angelic, as if someone planned on making a statement with it. The day comes to an end with families relaxing together, staff making their calls home to give holiday greetings, and the horses munching on their extra Christmas hay. We are so lucky to be able to share this amazing spot called Vista Verde (which is actually Vista Blanco now) with the world. We, as a crew feel blessed to be here, even when it’s hard to be away from family for the holidays. The guests know that not everyone gets to celebrate the holidays like this, and revel in the winter wonderland. I still hear the sleigh bells in my mind, and I almost wonder if they are coming out of the sky? Is it in my head, or is it real? Well, with that, I must say, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night”!