Vista Verde Ranch, Luxury Guest Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch"
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch
Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch

Archive for the ‘Vista Verde in the News’ Category

Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – August 2014

Date: August 6th, 2014

Grownup getaways for fall

The kids are back in school after a fun-filled summer of family time. What better way to celebrate – ahem, I mean grieve – than to plan a little weekend getaway with the hubs.  Read more about fall vacations for grownups.

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – July 2014

Date: July 23rd, 2014

7 Awesome All-Inclusive Family Getaways

Please the whole brood with these beautiful, exciting, and luxurious pre-paid vacations.

By Laura Manske

A trip for the whole family

A multi-generational vacation at an all-inclusive resort not only frees you from pleasing all family members all the time, but also eliminates budget-busting surprises.  Read on...

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Home & Away – July 2014

Date: July 16th, 2014

Back at the Ranch  by Dan Armitage

Vista Verde AAA article

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – July 2014

Date: July 8th, 2014

Vista Verde Trout Fishing

By Bill Vanderford

Skip to page 18 to read the article.


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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – July 2014

Date: July 8th, 2014

Western Horsemanship and Riding Clinics

July 5, 2014

Looking to expand your western riding skills and natural horsemanship knowledge? Here’s a look at three educational opportunities for riders who want to try something new and improve their riding.

by Jocelyn Pierce

Riders of all levels can benefit from additional training and instruction to improve riding technique. Whether you’re a developed western rider determined to hone in on specialized skills, an English rider wanting to try to a new discipline, or a beginner, there are countless educational programs available. We look at Vista Verde Guest Ranch, The Home Ranch, and Horse Show by Appointment–all fun, comprehensive, and quality programs suitable for any rider.

Vista Verde Guest Ranch

Vista Verde Ranch Guest Ranch offers clinics and horseback riding daily and also hosts an annual Horsemanship Retreat. Located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Vista Verde’s riding program is a well-rounded educational experience that will leave guests with expanded horsemanship knowledge.   Read more….

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – June 2014

Date: June 23rd, 2014

American’s Most Family Friendly Resorts-, June 23, 2014

Planning a getaway that the whole family will love?

Young kids want to play, teens want to hang, and parents probably just want to relax. But these top U.S. destinations have something for everyone. From awesome pool to unique activities, kids and adults can keep busy on their own- and once in a while come together as a family.  Read on….

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Horse & Rider Magazine – June 2014

Date: June 3rd, 2014

By Steph

This is a fun story, although let’s be clear that I am not the ranch owner…. 

Horse & Rider Vista Verde Ranch

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Leadership – May 2014

Date: May 19th, 2014

Best Places to Visit Dude Ranches

Whether you’re a city slicker or a die-hard outdoor enthusiast, there’s a dude ranch out there for you. The trick is figuring out what kind of experience you’re looking for. Do you want hands-on experience on a working cattle ranch? Multi-generational activities for the entire family? Horseback riding followed by a gourmet meal?  Read more…


(Note- There are some incorrect facts in this article.  We do not limit our guest count to just 10 guests)

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – May 2014

Date: May 14th, 2014

America’s Best All-Inclusive Resorts for Families


Dude ranches virtually always offer all-inclusive pricing, and Vista Verde Guest Ranchin Steamboat Springs is one of the most family-friendly around. Rates include accommodations in private cabins or lodge rooms, all meals and beverages, and activities that range from horseback riding and mountain biking to fly-fishing and river rafting. In the evenings, there are just-for-fun rodeos that kids will love.   Read on

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Circle City Bride- April 2014

Date: April 28th, 2014

Dream Destination Honeymoon- 101

Published on April 3, 2014 by  DeFabis

Post a picture of your dream destination honeymoon location on your bathroom mirror or even in your work cubicle, and you may be less tempted to spend your pocket change on those little extras that provide instant gratification.

Any trip as newlyweds, but especially a Dream Destination Honeymoon, should be considered a short-term financial goal.  Here are some steps to take when saving for your blissful getaway: Read more

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – April 2014

Date: April 16th, 2014

Why every family needs a dude ranch vacation

By Susan Tucker

My family and I recently enjoyed an amazing few days away just outside of Steamboat Springs in Colorado at the Vista Verde Guest Ranch, and while there I discovered why a dude ranch vacation is the ultimate family vacation. You too can experience life like a cowboy this summer by taking a family vacation at a working, dude or luxury ranch, so you can disconnect, reconnect and connect with nature.

Here are my top reasons why a dude ranch family vacation is a must and what type could be best for yours.

Read on….

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – March 2014

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.

Read the full article….

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – March 2014

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…..

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Circle City Bride Magazine – February 2014

Date: February 19th, 2014

Vista-VerdeRanch-honeymoon-resort-ColoradoWhat’s Hot- Winter at Vista Verde Ranch That’s What

Published on February 18, 2014 by Terri

Winter is HOT at Vista Verde Ranch! Whether you are planning a romantic proposal, honeymoon, or the perfect anytime getaway you will find yourself knee deep in love with it all at this Luxury Colorado Dude Ranch.  Read more…..

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Snowshoe Magazine – February 2014

Date: February 8th, 2014

Romantic North American Getaways for Snowshoers

Written by Roger Lohr,
Published on 

Snowshoeing and cross-country (XC) skiing are some of the most romantic forms of recreation and Valentine’s Day is coming. So get away with your loved one(s) to a winter wonderland of memories for some outdoor recreation and pampering that you deserve.

The Top 10 features favorite romantic resorts across North America.

Read more to see Vista Verde’s inclusion in the story.

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – January 2014

Date: January 31st, 2014

A Dude Ranch Valentine

January 28, 2014

For many couples, February 14th is a special day set aside to rekindle the spark of romance that flames a relationship. Whether a new couple, or long time soul mates, a romantic get away at a dude ranch can without a doubt be a memorable experience whereby you ignite not only campfire flames, but a passion for the life you share together.

There are several things to consider when selecting which dude ranch would be your perfect, romantic winter destination. With an abundance of options for accommodation styles, activity levels and particular interests you may have as a couple, you will need to do some research when planning.  Read more….

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Make It Better – January 2014

Date: January 31st, 2014


5 Destinations for a Last-Minute Ski Getaway

The Polar Vortex may be gone, but we are still in the thick of winter. Why complain about the weather when you can enjoy it?

Take advantage of the cold and snow by making tracks for a ski resort. Here’s a look at a few favorites, near and far, to fit every budget.  Read more…..

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – January 2014

Date: January 27th, 2014

How to have more fun in the snow

When was the last time you made a snow angel?  When was the last time you took some time to have fun in the snow, not just shovel it or grumble about it ?

Don’t  do snow sports?  No problem. There are as many ways to have fun in the snow off the slopes as on.  We’ve compiled an entire list at Taking the Kids. Here are some ideas.

Ride, ‘Em Cowboy

The winter is particularly special time of the year to experience everything a dude ranch  has to offer.  And they’re located in some of the most spectacular areas of the country, from Colorado to Wyoming to the Southwest.  Think snow-covered sleigh rides, tubing, hot chocolate (and wine) by the fire.  Check out Vista Verde  Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colo. 

Read more….

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – February 2013

Date: January 27th, 2014

The Ten Best All Inclusive Honeymoon Resorts in the USA

Finding the perfect, most romantic, all inclusive honeymoon resort doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to rush out and get a passport in order to honeymoon abroad. In fact, there are many beautiful honeymoon resorts located right here in the United States. Below is a list of our top ten picks for the best, all inclusive honeymoon resorts in the USA.  Read on….

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XC Ski Resorts – January 2014

Date: January 23rd, 2014

Glide Your Way to Romance – Getaways for XC Skiers or Snowshoers!

Romance at Vista Verde Ranch

Romance at Vista Verde Ranch

By Roger Lohr

It has been said that cross country skiing and snowshoeing are some of the most romantic forms of recreation and Valentine’s Day is coming. So get away with your loved one to a winter wonderland of memories for some outdoor recreation and pampering that you deserve. The Top 10 features favorite romantic XC ski resorts across North America (in alphabetical order).  Read on….

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Equitrekking – January 2014

Date: January 17th, 2014

Top Dude Ranches for Corporate Retreats & Team Building

January 11, 2014

Dude ranches are a great setting for corporate retreats, meetings and team building, whether you’re a small business, group of executives or larger corporation. Different ranches focus on varied activities to help colleagues excel as leaders and gel as workmates, ranging from the equestrian–– team penning, horseback riding, horse communication sessions and cattle drives–– to non-horsey outdoor adventures–– ropes courses, fishing, yoga, and survival skills.  Read more at



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Equitrekking- December 2013

Date: December 9th, 2013

Four Great Vacations for Winter Horseback Riding in the Snow

December 6, 2013

It’s a dream for many… bounding through the snow on a horseback. While some ranches close during the winter, others are open for winter activities and guests can enjoy horseback riding through the snow. We’ve picked out four ranches in Montana and Colorado where you can horseback ride this winter.

Many dude ranches and guest ranches that offer horseback riding also offer other winter snow activities, including cross country skiing, ice skating, horse drawn sleigh rides and have downhill skiing nearby. Check out the below photos and get inspired to get outdoors in the crisp winter air for a horse ride.

#1 The Resort at Paws Up in Montana

resort at paws up horseback riding in the snow

The Resort at Paws Up is located just east of Missoula, Montana on a sprawling 37,000-acre working cattle ranch. This is a great destination for horseback riding in the snow for travelers who want to combine the great outdoors with gourmet food and luxury. This luxury guest ranch resort is complete with two restaurants, one of which was recently named “one of the 100 best wine restaurants” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Other winter fun activities include dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and nearby downhill skiing and snowboarding.
#2 Bar W Guest Ranch in Montana

Bar W Guest Ranch winter horse riding

Bar W Guest Ranch is a year-round ranch located in the resort area of Whitefish, home to the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort. Guests can saddle up to ride horses in the snow and also enjoy sleigh ride dinners,  snow shoeing, ice skating, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and ice fishing. The ranch also square dances for those still looking to move after being outside all day and a hot tub for those who would rather soak after a day on the trails.

#3 The Home Ranch in Colorado

home ranch horseback riding
The Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado is a good fit for riders looking to combine winter riding with a luxury ranch vacation. This Relais & Chateaux dude ranch offers fine cuisine by executive chef Clyde Nelson and individual cabins decorated with antiques, plush down comforters, and wood-burning stoves. The ranch also runs daily shuttles to the slopes at Steamboat Ski Area for ski enthusiasts– packed lunch included– and offers backcountry skiing in the nearby Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest.
#4 Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado

vista verde ranch horseback
Another Colorado option for those who want to be pampered, as well as play in the great outdoors is Vista Verde Ranch. This luxury ranch vacation destination in Steamboat Springs offers horseback riding for the whole family. Other winter activities include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, wine tasting and cooking classes, yoga, snow biking and sledding. For those who want to focus on horseback riding, but also want time indoors, Vista Verde Ranch has a full-size heated Indoor riding arena.
Learn more about more great ranches for winter vacations in the Equitrekking Vacation Guide, an online guidebook focused on dude ranches, guest ranches and horseback riding vacations.

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Houston Chronicle- November 2013

Date: November 11th, 2013

Peak Season: 8 ski hot ski spots this winter

Choose your own adventure at these snowy U.S. ski destinations
By Jody Schmal | November 7, 2013

Vista Verde Ranch, located outside Steamboat Springs, is offering several specials this winter. The Winter Carnival package Feb. 5-8 includes a three night stay at the ranch and one night stay at the Steamboat Sheraton, plus meals, beer and wine, activities, guides, equipment, instruction, pick up from the Steamboat airport and transport to the Sheraton.

As ski season kicks into high gear this month, powder fanatics will be snapping on their skis and boards and checking their pack lists.

Whether you’re looking for a first-time family vacation, a romantic getaway or a thriving après-ski scene, here are the latest happenings at some of the most Houstonian-savvy spots in the United States this season:


WHAT’S NEW: In family-friendly Snowmass, there are 230-plus new acres of ski-able terrain, along with the recently completed Elk Camp Lodge, a LEED-certified $13 million on-mountain restaurant and coffee shop.

Meanwhile, Aspen’s Highlands Mountain has 20 acres of new gladed terrain, and also is appealing to families with its Perfect Holiday package deal, where kids age 12 and under can ski, stay and eat free (with purchase of an adult lift ticket) over the Christmas holiday, Dec. 20-25. Must be booked by Nov. 15.

For the fancier sort, two of Aspen’s most beloved and iconic high-end hotels – the Little Nell and Hotel Jerome – have fresh upgrades. The ski-in/ski-out Little Nell has new VIP suites designed by Holly Hunt, and the resort’s Element 47 fine-dining restaurant opens this month on the base of Aspen Mountain.

The 93-room Jerome, with its historic J-Bar and rustic-chic décor, is offering several packages, such as the Peak Performance Ski Retreat (available Jan. 5-March 31, from $685 per night). With a three-night minimum stay, it includes ski equipment rental from Gorsuch, daily lift tickets for two and breakfast. Order up the private bath service from the Jerome’s new Auberge spa: a therapist visits your room to draw you a bath (with your choice of salts or argan oil) and leaves behind a fruit plate and wine.

DETAILS: Season opens Nov. 28;


WHAT’S NEW: It’s an exciting year for Breck. The resort is adding more than 543 acres to its famous landscape with Peak 6, one of the most notable Colorado ski area expansions in years.

Peak 6 includes 400 acres of lift-served terrain and 143 acres of hike-to terrain, representing a 23 percent increase in the resort’s skiable acreage. With that comes two new lifts, three new bowls – including the first above-treeline intermediate bowl – and 10 new cut trails.

To check out the fresh terrain in high style, book a condo at the luxe ski-in/ski-out One Ski Hill Place at the base of Peak 8, steps from the BreckConnect Gondola, which easily transports you to Peak 7, fairly easily to Peak 6, and into the charming town of Breckenridge. Added bonus of staying here: an on-site bowling alley.

DETAILS: Now open;

Copper Mountain

WHAT’S NEW: Families and high-alpine fans will love Copper this season. For starters, Camp Woodward, a nearly 20,000-square-foot ski, snowboard bike and skateboard park recently underwent a $500,000 renovation. All synthetic snow surfaces have been replaced with surfaces designed for wheels, and there’s a new beginner foam pit with 2- and 4-foot jumps, a pump track designed for the development of park skills and new programming to bridge the gap and yield results on snow. Fun for kids and adults, you may even rub elbows with a would-be Olympian in training through mid-December, prior to the U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix taking place at Cooper Dec. 16-21.

On the mountain, high-alpine enthusiasts will be happy to know there’s a new direct lift to the stellar skiing and riding in Spaulding Bowl, Upper Enchanted Forest and Copper Bowl.

There’s also a new on-mountain audio intelligence app call Sherpa, which tells you what you’re near, where to go and what to do when you get there. It’s locals-only, insider information, available for the first time to everyone on the mountain. Sherpa taps into the knowledge of lifelong employees, ski patrol and local experts and makes that wisdom available to anyone with a smartphone.

DETAILS: Now open;

Crested Butte

WHAT’S NEW: To improve the on-mountain trails for skiers and snowboarders, Crested Butte Mountain Resort has removed trees for tree skiing aficionados, between the current trails of Double Top and Black Eagle.

There also are three new kid-specific trails in the Painter Boy area, along with interactive play and learning activities and areas. During the holidays, families of four can get four nights’ lodging at the Grand Lodge and three nights skiing in Crested Butte for $999 if they book the Grandest Christmas Package.

Another resort option is the Nordic Inn, Gunnison County’s longest operating lodge, which is enjoying a total interior and exterior renovation. Steps from the Mount Crested Butte ski-area base, local owners bought property last year and have updated all 28 guest rooms, common spaces and the on-property mountain chalet in a Colorado-classic-meets-contemporary style. Stay four nights and get the fifth one free if you book before Nov. 20. High-roller with a large crew? Check out Scarp Ridge Lodge, a two-year-old, seven-bedroom property in downtown Crested Butte that comes with a personal chef and expert guides.

After dark, hit the newly redone historic saloon and gaming hall Kochevar’s, or grab a slice and some wings at the relocated but still hip Secret Stash, housed in an old county store building downtown.

DETAILS: Season opens Nov. 27;

Jackson Hole

WHAT’S NEW: With new nonstop flights on United Express this winter, it’s never been easier for Houstonians to visit Jackson Hole. Especially since upscale resorts in the area offering so many enticing reasons to stay.

The Four Seasons Resort and Residences has a new Michael Mina restaurant called the Handle Bar, beckoning with pub grub – think Wagyu burgers – and a selection of local beers, artisan cocktails and whiskey. There’s also the resort’s Haute Route Ski Experience deal ($1,399 per night for double occupancy, valid Jan. 30-Feb. 4): a five-night, four-day package that includes ski instruction – from experts who have inside knowledge on the best tracks and hidden stashes for novice to advanced skiers at Jackson Hole Mountain resort – along with plenty of other perks such as breakfast, a special wild game cooking session and cocktails at Handle Bar.

In Teton Village, Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa is known for its slope-side location and 12,000-square-foot, three-story Solitude Spa with indoor and outdoor swimming pools and an oversize rooftop hot tub. Well, the resort has a new restaurant, Spur Restaurant & Bar, with locavore-savvy executive chef Kevin Humphreys serving up home-style cuisine such as Snake River Farms pork tenderloin. Plus, ladies might be interested in taking advantage of the fit-for-all-levels Elevate Women’s Ski Camp Jan. 13-17, which includes four days of instruction from professional skiers Crystal Wright (Freeski World Tour Champion) and Jess McMillan, après ski meals and Pilates classes to stretch and strengthen worn ski legs.

DETAILS: Season opens Nov. 28;

Steamboat Springs

WHAT’S NEW: In addition to updating its snow-making capabilities and working on a $1 million night skiing project, December marks the debut of the multimillion-dollar Four Points Lodge, arguably Steamboat’s most significant on-mountain improvement in a decade.

Located in the Storm Peak/Four Points area of the mountain, the 13,000-square-foot, two-level structure includes a 200-seat dining room, a casual lunchroom with healthy options downstairs, a 35-seat bar, an outdoor barbecue grill, flat screen televisions and retail space. At 9,700 feet up, expect stunning panoramic views of the Yampa Valley, too. Go on a Friday or Saturday night and take a climate-controlled Snowcat Taxi up the mountain for a Northern Italian dinner.

Meanwhile, the ski-in/ski-out Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Villas unveils its roughly $9 million remodel this month, including the completion of 56 new luxury suites. Another nice lodging option is Vista Verde Ranch, which is offering its Winter Carnival package ($2,755 for two) Feb. 5-8. It includes three nights at ranch in a fancy cabin plus one night at the Sheraton, along with meals, booze, guides, equipment, activities and transfers.

And mark your calendars for the ever-popular 40th annual cowboy downhill event in Steamboat Jan. 20, during which – you guessed it – rodeo cowboys race down the mountain.

DETAILS: Season opens Nov. 27;

Vail/Beaver Creek

WHAT’S NEW: In addition to United nonstop flights from Houston to Eagle Airport, accessing Vail’s 5,289 acres of skiable terrain is even easier now with the introduction of two new chairlifts. There’s the new six-passenger lift replacing Vail’s highly-utilized and recognizable Mountaintop Express Lift (No. 4), thus increasing capacity and reducing lines. There also is the high-speed Gondola One with heated cabins and free WiFi for a comfortable and quick seven-and-a-half-minute trek up the mountain.

High-end properties also are debuting new looks and amenities. The Ritz-Carlton Residences (both ownership and rentals) is rolling out its new Lionshead Collection of designer abodes by Colorado designers such as Eddy Doumas. In nearby Beaver Creek, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch recently completed a $15 million remodel. Book a room for four nights in the posh Club Level through Dec. 31 and receive the fifth night free.

Also in Beaver Creek, the 17,000-square-foot, on-mountain restaurant named Talons has joined the scene. An upscale cafeteria setting with a barn-recalling facade, it has 500 indoor seats on two levels and 250 outdoor seats, with dishes such as a Colorado lamb burger, homemade soups, carved meats and thin pizza. Anticipate an indoor/ outdoor bar and an outdoor smokehouse, as well.

DETAILS: Season opens Nov. 22;

Winter Park

WHAT’S NEW: Winter Park’s talked-about, 48-passenger “Cirque Sled” is a snowcat ride that will provide adventurous skiers and snowboarders easier access to the Vasquez Cirque, where 1,332 acres of off-piste terrain awaits. Passes cost just $10 and are valid for unlimited rides all season long. Open last year, the Coca-Cola Tubing Hill is also getting buzz, with its four banked lanes, as is the hot-chocolate-serving Hill House cafe nearby.

Though many opt to simply commute from Denver (67 miles away) or from another resort, the Zephyr Mountain Lodge comprises 230 one- to three-bedroom condos a mere 110 feet from the Zephyr Express Lift. In addition to hot tubs and fireplaces, it’s close to a number of dining options. Deals through April 20 include 15-percent off one-night stays, and 3rd night free packages.

DETAILS: Season opens Nov. 13;

More Information


The Colorado Gems card costs only $20, and it allows skiers and boarders to get two-for-one full-day lift tickets at eight participating under-the-radar resorts across the state.

The Western-authentic Gem resorts are: Arapahoe Basin, Eldora Mountain Resort, Loveland Ski Area, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn Resort, Ski Cooper, Ski Granby Ranch and Sunlight Mountain Resort.

Each Gems Card – only 5,000 are available – is good for one use per resort, per season, and they expire at the end of April. Card holders also have access to special flash deals, or promotions offered by each spot throughout the season.

For more information and to purchase, visit


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Lakeside News – October 2013

Date: October 30th, 2013

Vanderford’s Travel Column

By Bill Vanderford

Vista Verde Ranch is the best of the west

The cow all the guests at the Vista Verde Ranch had named “Diabolical” had his vicious-looking eyes piercing into mine as he made an instant pirouette, but my anticipation was way ahead of him! Even before his athletic move, I had jerked my horse Gunnar’s head in the right direction and slapped him with the reins to cut off the bad cow. That turned him back toward one of the best cowboys in the West … Terry Wegener, where he would have no escape!

Terry and I had cut this bad boy out of a herd of Texas cows to teach him a lesson and make him behave. We ran him to the middle of a corral about the size of a football field with Terry and his prize horse, Gun Shy Gangster (better known as Gunny) on one side and me and Gunnar on the other. In order to wear the cow down, we cut him off at every angle to keep him between us until his tongue was hanging out. In retrospect, I labeled our efforts … Cow Soccer!

No doubt riding and learning about horses and cows is one of the main reasons that people visit dude ranches in Colorado, but Vista Verde Ranch offers so much more. They truly make an extra effort to let you experience everything that they offer, but will go out of their way to see that all of your other requests are satisfied. Much of the staff is comprised of seasonal young people from all over the country who are checked thoroughly … including a personal visit from General Manager, Ben Martin. Therefore, the youngsters and the permanent staff all have a zest for life, love to engage with guests in conversation or ranch experiences, and have the best attitudes I have ever seen in all my days of traveling the world!

Though I have ridden horses off and on since my childhood, I learned more about them during my week at Vista Verde than I could have imagined. Just being around Terry Wegener is an education in the mannerisms and psychology of horses. He and his wife are also involved in the training and riding of the Denver Broncos horse Thunder at the football games.

The horse program at Vista Verde Ranch is top of the line when compared to any other in the West … partly because of the very large heated indoor riding area. This venue allows Terry and other trainers like Annie Bolognino from Montana and Nicky Throgmartin    from Indiana to work with the younger horses and give special Horsemanship Clinics for guests regardless of the weather.

The Mare Barn also gives the breeding stock a quiet place away from the central ranch to deliver and raise the foals. Though Terry is in charge of the breeding and horse sales, Annie and Nicky primarily work with the younger horses and share this experience with guests of the ranch. Because Vista Verde Ranch is located in the National Forest and has access to the wild and beautiful Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area, horseback riding and hiking trails are numerous, adventuresome and breathtaking! You can even ride your horse to a hidden sanctuary among colorful Aspen trees to partake in Wild Yoga with expert instructor Kelli King.

I found the fly fishing and guides at the ranch to be knowledgeable, personable and quite talented in the numerous waters available to anglers visiting Vista Verde. The possibilities range from small creeks to rivers to still water lakes and from very simple fishing to extremely difficult. Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brook and Brown Trout are always possible catches as well as Mountain Whitefish and Grayling.

A true hero from the US Army’s Special Forces, Brandon Martin, is the Director of the Fly Fishing Program and a pleasure to be with anytime. His expert fly fishing partner in the program is Bubba Veteto from Colorado who loves to hang out with the chefs in the kitchen when he’s not guiding guests.

It would take a book to relate all there is to see and enjoy at Vista Verde Ranch near the famous ski resort village of Steamboat Springs, CO. One of the most important things to know is that any visit to this ranch is All-Inclusive … and they live by that even to the point of free pick up and delivery to the airport that is nearly an hours drive from the ranch.

The Lodge and Cabin rooms are authentic log structures with all the comforts seen in other fine resorts with one exception … no TVs in the rooms. The diverse cuisine created by top chefs can range from simple barbecue to intricate gourmet meals with many different wines. Summer activities include numerous horse-related opportunities, barn dancing, fly or spin fishing, mountain biking, hiking, yoga, cooking classes, wine tasting classes, rock climbing, rafting, local shopping tours, and photography just to name a few.

There’s probably not a bad time of year to visit Vista Verde Ranch, but I feel that I hit it at the most opportune moment for the best photography in the early fall. At the beginning of the week, the weather was like summer with midday temperatures reaching into the high 60s and falling to the 40s at night. Soon the mercury began to fall, and all the bright gold Aspen trees changed in two days. During the last part of the week, we were blessed with a blanket of more than a foot of powdery snow. It was the perfect time to experience the gorgeous metamorphosis that occurs annually in the mountains and valleys of Northwestern Colorado.

In my opinion and that of other guests, this is the best, most diverse, and client friendly working ranch in the Western USA. However, it is very busy throughout the year, so reservations in advance are necessary for couples or families. For more information or bookings, go to the Vista Verde website ( or call them toll-free at: 800-526-7433.

Just one week in the early fall was a revelation to me of this part of Colorado and gave me a taste of summer, fall and winter on a ranch. Now, my dream is to return one day to experience the winter ski season when the ranch is all decked out for a Cowboy Christmas.

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Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado Luxury Ranch – October 2013

Date: October 29th, 2013

New Year’s Dude Ranch and Horseback Riding Vacations

Looking to do something different to ring in the New Year? Get out of the city and experience the Western, the exotic and the fun traditions at ranches and horseback riding destinations that offer celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

From Mexico to Colorado and Israel to Arizona, we’ve compiled some interesting and enticing getaways for a memorable New Year’s celebration. These dude ranch and riding vacation owners have organized special experiences for New Year’s Eve, so you can enjoy the cultural traditions of each area and go horseback riding, too.

israel new years horsebackRiding at Mt. Tabor in Israel with Sirin Riders, who is offering a special trip over New Year’s.

#1 New Year’s Travel Pick–– Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado

Vista Verde Ranch, a luxury guest ranch in Clark, has a grand New Year’s celebration. It starts with a wine pairing dinner for the adults, during which the kids and teens go down to the indoor arena for a mini-carnival type party, including pizza, games and more. Then the families meet up after dinner for a Cowboy New Years. Ranch staff clear out the furniture in the great room, decorate the place like it’s going out of style and then host a barn dance with the families and staff. The ranch has fun activities going on over on the sidelines in between dancing and socializing.

In fine rancher style, early to bed and early to rise, Vista Verde Ranch rings in the New Year with the folks on the East Coast (so it’s only 10pm Colorado time) with the one and only Vista Verde Boot Drop and firework show. Ending the night a bit early makes it doable for the kids and allows everyone to get some rest as they hit it hard with the outdoor adventures the very next morning. This year the ranch will hold the Vista Verde Ranch Arena Bowl on New Year’s Day. Guests have been told to don grubby clothes for a game of touch football and some good times in the indoor arena. There are only two cabins remaining for New Years at the ranch!

vista verde ranch new years

#2 New Year’s Travel Pick–– Rancho Las Cascadas, Mexico

Add some Mexican flair to your New Year’s Eve at this boutique Mexico guest ranch, which has only one room left. At Rancho Las Cascadas, guests enjoy a traditional Mexican New Year, including fireworks, a family dinner, sparkling wine, music, ringing bells and more. You’ll experience unique traditions at this festive New Year ranch celebration. For example, lentils are spread around the door as a symbol of abundance, meant to drive anything bad from the previous year out of the home. The ranch also offers unlimited horseback riding–– not nose to tail–– on Mexico’s open range on 500,000 acres and through beautiful countryside.

mexico ranch vacation dude ranch new years

#3 New Year’s Travel Pick–– C Lazy U Ranch, Colorado 

At this Granby, Colorado guest ranch, which has been operating since 1919, guests ring in the New Year at a traditional western-swing dance or during a torch-lit ice skating or a moonlight cross-country ski tour. The midnight countdown includes a live band. The ranch also offers a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy the snow. C Lazy U has shuttles that will take you to Granby Ranch Ski Resort and Winter Park Ski Resorts. You can sled down the C Lazy U Luge or play hockey on the frozen pond. There is horseback riding in the morning and afternoon, and in the heated indoor arena, as well as a hot tub for soaking after time on the trails.

c lazy u ranch winter

#4 New Year’s Travel Pick–– Elkhorn Ranch, Arizona

Celebrating New Year’s Eve at Elkhorn Ranch, fifty miles southwest of Tucson in the Sonoran Desert, is a family affair. Kids are welcomed to the ranch’s special New Year’s Eve party, where the piñata is always a hit for the little ones. The ranch also has a midday feast on New Years Day. Guests can play outdoors in the Arizona sun, horseback riding in the picturesque Baboquivari Mountains and the open Sonoran desert country of the Altar Valley.

elkhorn ranch new years

#5 New Year’s Travel Pick–– Sundance Trail Guest Ranch, Colorado 

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch in North Central Colorado offers a quirky December 31st New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery Party. During the “all evening” affair, which starts with appetizers before dinner, guests untangle each others’ half-truths, evasions and hijinks. The murder mystery game is solved prior to midnight and includes Champagne toast as 2014 commences. The New Year’s extravaganza also includes a morning brunch and morning or early afternoon horseback ride.

sundance trail guest ranch colorado

#6 New Year’s Travel Pick–– Sirin Riders, Israel

Sirin Riders, which offers all-inclusive equestrian vacations on Quarter horses and Appaloosas in Israel, has a 9 day, 8 night horseback riding vacation departing December 28th, 2013. The Tour Israel horseback riding vacation starts at the north of Israel in Galilee and ends in the Judea Desert. It includes a special excursion to swim in the Dead Sea at the end of the ride. Guests stay in country lodges, get one night camping in the desert and one night in a hotel in Tel Aviv, making for a diverse New Years holiday vacation.

israel riding holiday dead sea

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