Posts Tagged ‘dude ranch’
Date: June 22nd, 2011
Most people enter the dude ranching business because they love people, horses, the outdoors, or just the Western way of life. Most don’t know that entering the business will have a profound impact on their lives.
It starts with finding out that the people you serve daily are really amazing folks. Wait a sec, suddenly you are becoming friends with those very people you take in as guests. And the staff you hire to make the dude ranch operation a success? Hey, you kind of like them too!
Here’s where the warning comes for those who consider the dude ranch business. Now that your friends with these folks, life becomes more meaningful. You find your self engaged in their lives. I think of the folks who I’ve cried for, wished for, and had heart ache for- Don, Guy, and Carol come to mind immediately. But I also think about those who joys I’ve been able to share. The new grand babies, new careers, new family ventures, marriages, beating the odds, and all those success that come in life. Long after guests leave from their dude ranch vacation, we get to hear those updates and rejoice with our friends. The multiple invites to amazing places that all of us receive from grateful guests are overwhelming. I’ve whooped it up in Bermuda, Chelsea and Amanda just had a memorable dinner in London, Ben is looking forward to front row seats at a big game, Steve and Kelli had a heartwarming visit in Montana, and Dace has sat at too many dining room tables reconnecting with guests to mention. Mary, we will make it to Florida one day!
And then there’s the staff. Those pesky young people who you have to put up with in order to get the job done, right? Not at this Colorado dude ranch. I just reluctantly sent an RSVP to Gabriella to decline attending her wedding. We’ve been able to watch these great people go into the world and do powerful things, fall in love, start families, and continue to grow. The notes of thanks from past staff in all of our desk drawers keep each of us going on the tough days.
Yes, it’s a rough job to work at a guest ranch, but we’ll take it a little longer. We hope to have many more of you cross our cattle guard as guests the first time, and drive across it on your way home as friends and family.
Date: June 22nd, 2011
In June of 2011, my family of 5 needed to head to Washington, DC for my husbands job. My youngest son was born in Littleton, Colorado and my other 2 sons spent the last 10 years of their lives in Highlands Ranch. When we moved, it literally ripped our hearts out. We enjoyed Colorado for 10 years and we love to ski and hike and camp. Washington, DC is far from Colorado and expensive for us to visit. My youngest son has not seen where he was born and I would love to show him. We have also never been able to stay at a dude ranch and Steam Boat Springs would be awesome! It would be fabulous to go back and visit the most beautiful state in the good old USA! Thank you for your consideration!
Name: suzanne arrison
Date: May 12th, 2011
First… I’d like to begin by stating that I am truly, truly blessed. Please do not let the following statements indicate otherwise. I am a super-busy Wife and Mommy of 3 human children and one 4-legg’ed furry child (Golden Retriever). I’d begin my stay by waking up "late"… Maybe by 6:30 AM or so. I’d enjoy an uninterrupted cup of coffee. …Maybe two cups. I would enjoy a day without the sounds of Spongebob, video games, children fussing or dogs barking. I would avoid stories of the "Down Economy" or the "Fiscal Cliff". I would be able to complete my sentences. I might EVEN be able to complete a single THOUGHT! My husband and I could relive a time when we were just "Us". …If only for a few days.
Name: Victoria LeBlanc
City: Baton Rouge
Date: May 12th, 2011
With many of us squeezing in vacation time the past couple weeks (yes, you may have noticed an absence of blog posts…that would be me sneaking away for a bit), it’s been pretty quiet around the ranch. This week the long term crew begins to roll back in. Ben is the last one to arrive back, hot off the beaches of Mexico where he and Holly snuck away for a little R&R. Our pre-season kick-off meeting with all the managers will be this Thursday, and then we’ll all go running with our to-do lists. As we race around getting ready for the staff to arrive, and the ensuing orientation weeks, we’re anxiously watching the sun melt the snow. It turns out we have had a blockbuster, off the charts winter. The news is saying that the Steamboat area has set an all-time record for the state of Colorado. In April, we got 27 days of snow. Too bad the Steamboat Ski Area didn’t extend it’s winter vacation season! So, the hiking guides may be doing their training on snowshoes as we wait for the snow pack around our dude ranch to melt away prior to opening day. We’re going to have some fun adventures with snow still up in the high country. It will be like no summer I’ve ever seen. I bet we’ll be able to find snow up at the highest peaks in August…so get ready for snowball fights on your all-day hike!
With the sun shining and the birds singing, we are also enjoying other new life….BABIES! The Elk River Valley is dotted with baby cows, running and frolicking with their friends. And we have had our first foal of the year. Rachel gave us a Cinco de Mayo filly, a little bay with a white star. She is so adorable and so sweet. I believe Charlie won the bet on when that first foal would come. No surprise there.
For those of you coming this summer, we look forward to a full house of interesting and lively guests at our dude ranch. For those still thinking about coming, we are down to the wire with one cabin open in early June, and then a couple spots later in September during our adult only weeks.
Come on sunshine, melt it away!
Date: April 27th, 2011
I haven’t been, but I so want to be,
in Colorado on a vacation spree!
To Colorado, Although I haven’t been there,
it looks to have all the flare.
Vista Verde is the name, and it is rare,
to find such a ranch with all it’s flare.
There are so many things to do,
like riding horses or gazing at the view.
There will be plenty of beautiful snow,
and the warmness of fires that are aglow.
This isn’t the beach, there is no hot sun,
or greasy sunscreen we know is no fun!
Take the time to enjoy crackers and tea,
in the comfort of complete luxury.
There is a chance it can be all yours,
away from work and all the chores!
Oh what dancing there would be,
if the lovely staff decided on me!
So if you win, enjoy this special place,
which is certain to put a smile on your face.
For little kids, older kids, and grown ups too,
This is, no doubt, the perfect place for you!
Name: Lisa Owens
State: South Carolina
Date: April 27th, 2011
When it’s not quite still winter, and not quite yet summer here in Steamboat Springs, we don’t refer to it as Spring but call it by another name. Mud Season.
Most years, it’s just an affectionate term that we all use as we slop through the melting snow and ensuing mud underneath, trying to be diligent about wiping off our boots before coming inside. Because most years the sun is shining, the birds are singing and you can almost feel the grass pushing with all it’s might to explode up out of it’s dormancy. You just know summer, and our dude ranch season, is about to begin.
However, this year, it doesn’t seem to be such a laughing matter. The birds are still singing, those little optimists. But the sun has hardly been shining. Rain, snow, sleet and various other forms of precipitation keep lingering. And it’s becoming all that anyone talks about these days.
Yesterday, I had to drive over for my final board meeting (we take the summer off as everyone is too busy to meet) of the Colorado Dude Ranch Association. What is normally a picturesque drive, with majestic mountains peaks still covered in snow, but green meadows busting with young grass and baby calves was replaces by a slow slog through a blizzard in four wheel drive.
Those poor little calves out there don’t know any different. But, as soon as spring finally decides to join us, and stay, the valleys are going to explode with vegetation and those little birds are going to have something to sing about for sure. Heck, you might just hear me singing at that point!
Date: March 4th, 2011
Our time at Vista Verde would be a time of romance for us. We’d spend time renewing our love for each other. We;d do some outdoor activaties such as learning to snow ski.
Name: Robert Bridges
Date: March 4th, 2011
As I was searching around for a healthy treat to send into school for a kiddo’s birthday, Chef Matt handed me this recipe. Our winter guest ranch guests enjoy these fresh from the over, sitting in front of the fireplace. Our summer guest ranch guests find these out on the breakfast ride most of the time. Enjoy!
Banana crunch muffins
Makes: 2 dozen
10 oz. – All Purpose Flour (roughly 2 cups)
1 tbsp. -baking powder
½ tsp. – salt
1 cup – sugar
2 oz. – butter melted
1 ¼ cups – sour cream
1 ½ cups – chopped bananas
¼ cup- granola
¼ – cup- toasted pecan pieces
1/8 cup- coarse sugar
1. Arrange 2 dozen muffin papers in a muffin tin and spray with baking spray
2. Mix together the melted butter, 1 tsp. – vanilla, sour cream, and eggs until homogeneous in a stand mixer. Add in the sugar mixing until all ingredients are blended
3. Sift together the dry ingredients, and add into the mix on low speed, then add in the bananas, granola, and pecans.
4. Scoop into greased muffin papers, sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake at 350 F until golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen
Depending on the size of the muffin tins and the oven muffins may take a little longer than it does for us so there really is not a specific time. How many you get will vary slightly also. I use a 2 0z. Cookie scoop for the size tins we have here at the dude ranch. I start out setting the timer for about 7 minutes, checking with a tooth pick when the tops brown up, and then baking longer if necessary.
If you want to tweak the recipe and make it your own you can use different kinds of extract, fruit or nut. Sometimes I will do the same recipe with fresh apricots and pistachios. The possibilities are endless.
Date: February 18th, 2011
A cross between True Grit and the Sound of Music.
Name: Mark Young
Date: February 18th, 2011
When you spend a lot of time with people, there are always funny stories. People are just funny, whether it’s intentional or not. I always think we should write a book about the life and times of a dude ranch. But, I can’t usually remember them long enough. With that in mind, I made a few notes from this winter as events unfolded and funny things happened.
If you’re expecting some earth shattering expose of a well known guest, it’s not happening here. But here are some of the things that have made me laugh as I’ve walked through the dude ranch world this winter:
Note from a guest to the housekeepers: We couldn’t find the moose. Would you please not hide it so well tonight?
Compliment to the chef: Laura walked up to me after breakfast one morning and told me she needed to show me something to share with Chef Matt. What was it that she wanted to show me? She lifted up her shirt a little and pointed to her pant button, that wouldn’t close.
VFB- One of our long time loyal guests Danny blew out his knee just weeks before his scheduled time at the ranch. Being the die-hard that he is, he decided that he might as well recuperate at the ranch rather than sitting around his house. So they came anyway. During his stay, he needed a stool in his cabin so he could elevate his knee. Bill Backer, our quiet and behind the scenes jack of all trades whipped one up really quickly and brought it by. I got an email from Danny later telling me he just had one of the best experiences of his 10 plus years at the ranch: A VFB. What? He explained that meant a Visit From Bill. In fact, he said he thought he might try to break something so Bill would have to come back. First of all, it’s funny that at a dude ranch I’m getting an email from a guest in one of our cabins. But even better is that Danny gave us a new acronym and reminded all of us that even the elusive Bill can make a Vista Verde Ranch stay better. We need to get him out more!
Money back guarantees: Another first this winter..I had a potential guest who was interested in speaking with some folks who had been to the ranch before. So I put him in touch with a few families. Joe, one of the guests he spoke with sent me an email to let me know they had talked. At that time he also told me that he had given the potential guest a money back guarantee on his stay. He didn’t say the ranch would give him his money back, he said he would! Seriously!
So, there are some of my more funny moments from this winter at our dude ranch. There have been plenty more as I laugh out loud on a daily basis. Some of you make me laugh when you call and book and are so excited that you’re screaming (Kathleen and Christine, I’m talking about you) and most of you just make me laugh with your stories and antics while you’re here. It’s so fun to be around wonderful people every day here at Vista Verde. I hope you can come out and create some funny memories sometime too!
Date: November 16th, 2010
I would be able to enjoy a honeymoon with my husband that we still are waiting to take since our September 4, 2009 wedding.God has blessed us with a 3 year old boy and a 6 month old girl that keep us on our toes and go with mommy everywhere while daddy drills at work. We received money for a honeymoon in lieu of gifts but my husband lost his job during the recession in 2009 and we were forced to spend our honeymoon money to provide and put our honeymoon on hold … we sold our house & moved into an apartment and my husband also sold his brand new truck and has been driving a car ever since. It would be a dream come true to win some alone time to spend together as we rarely our without our blessings. My husbands birthday is Jan. 19th and I would love to spend a few evenings relaxing, skiing, riding ,wining,& dining with my hard working love @ your breathtaking Vista Verde resort. Thank you and God bless.
Name: Emilee Ann Lee
Date: November 16th, 2010
I tend to break to news to people that I am attending a dude ranch convention with a little bit of a chuckle. It’s not that it’s a joke- we really have these 2 times a year! But it’s watching people’s reaction that makes me laugh. A what? Like, a bunch of dude ranchers sitting around talking about horses? Well, um, yes, that’s kind of what it is. But we also talk about marketing, labor laws, operational issues, insurance and other scintillating topics related to running a dude ranch operation. And we have some fun too. I have been heavily involved in the Colorado Dude Ranch Association, sitting on the board for the past 7 years or so. It’s an amazing group of people with whom I get to share a passion for dude ranching in Colorado. I’ve been looking forward to this meeting because after years of heading up the marketing committee and then serving as President of the Association, I am stepping down. There is still one more year on my term, but I just get to attend board meetings as Past President and carry very little responsibility. Time to spend more time focusing on Vista Verde Ranch instead of all the Colorado dude ranches!
Even better, I had to drive over Rabbit Ears Pass to get to the meeting on Sunday. With snow swirling all around, I left a little early and stopped and skied for the first time of the season on the pass. For me, getting out and playing in the snow is what it takes for me to fully embrace winter. Snow is great when you get to have fun in it! And I’m hoping that we wrap up early enough today that I can do the same as I head back to Steamboat. It’s turning into winter wonderland here. I know many of you enjoyed that gorgeous picture from the Vista Verde pond that I put on Facebook the other day, so here are a few more.
Date: September 22nd, 2010
We have been to Colorado for a wedding and went ski at Vail 5 yrs ago.. Loved it, Now that we got hit w the Sandy Storm here at the Jersey Shore, we really need a vacation, No power for 2 wks was rough… Its gonna be our 8th Anniversary mar 2, and a dude Ranch seems just the spot. Your pics looks wonderful…. thanks , Jan & Aaron K~ Bayville, NJ
Date: September 22nd, 2010
The aspens are changing, the sky is blue, the scrub oak red, and it’s just breathtaking here at Vista Verde right now. That comes from someone who looks at this view every day, and right now I’m nearly driving off the road at times because I’m too busy rubbernecking a stand of glowing aspens. Something about the sunlight this time of year only amplifies the beauty of the whole valley, the mountains, and the trees.
Last week was our first cattle gather week, and we had some really successful days and some more challenging days. Those little cows are good at hiding, and who wouldn’t be on 16,000 acres? But with persistent guests and hard riding, we did find a good number of them and brought them back to the ranch. This week we have a big group of guests gathering, so we’re hoping that by splitting up and being a little more savvy on the timing of our searches, we’ll get the rest before Sunday. Otherwise, it’s going to be up to us to get the rest as we close this weekend. Yowzer, I can’t believe it’s the end of the dude ranch season already here at Vista Verde!!
Sallie took some great photos when she went running the other day. Yep, for those of you who recognize the area, she was actually running up and around Hinman lake. Go Sallie, Go!
Well, the sun is beginning to rise on another gorgeous day. We’re looking forward to celebrating two birthdays today at the ranch (what are the odds of that? Happy Birthday Jinnie and Anne Marie) and this whole week we are enjoying having Bruce and Sandy here for their 10th stay. For those not in the know, that means their dude ranch stay is FREE!
Date: October 29th, 2009
Every season it seems like we live in a vortex of time. The pre-season preparations as we try to be one of the best dude ranches are frantic and exciting. Then we get going with the guests and the days just zoom by. Here we are in the second week of August already. The grass is just starting to turn a bit more golden and the kids head back to school in just a couple weeks. Now we are looking at preparing for our adult only weeks. Where does it all go?
A good friend in the Colorado lodge and resort industry said something the other day that really rang true for me. He said, “I got a letter from someone who was here in June. It seemed like a year ago that they were here. But, here it is Thursday and it feels like the folks who came in on Sunday have only been here for a day.” How does time work that way? In the moment, it flies. But then looking back it feels like forever ago.
At our staff meeting on Sunday, Dace was having the staff think back to our orientation weeks. How long ago that seems that we were shoveling snow off the patio in preparation of our first cookouts of the summer. Getting to know each other and getting geared up and ready for the guests to arrive is a distant memory.
Now, some of our staff are starting to head back to school while the second wave of summer staff rolls in to fill their spots. The memories we’ve shared with all of you who have been here this summer are priceless. You have helped shape the lives of our crew and given each person a better understanding of human nature and how to serve others with all their heart.
And, as fast as the days fly by for all of us, we still have more to look forward to. Personally, I’m getting so excited for the fall. September is my favorite time of year. We’ll have some great friends from Michigan coming out in a couple weeks, then the adults come in with the freedom that goes along with traveling without children. Some will be here for a romantic mountain getaway, while others are here with friends to try all our activities. We’ll chase some cows, ride rugged mountain bike trails, sing around the fire and continue to create memories…all the while trying to hold onto each day as it flies by.
Enjoy the last little bit of summer. Hug your kids a bit tighter as they get ready to go back to school. And give yourself some time to enjoy an evening on a deck, soaking up those longer daylight hours while they last! We’ll be holding onto every little bit of summer that we can, treasuring each day to its fullest. Because, oh so soon winter will be here and we’ll be flying through our Colorado ski lodge season!
Date: October 29th, 2009
We’ve been enjoying the company of some new guests this fall. A herd of 2 bull elk and about 30 cows and calves has been spending their late afternoons and evenings enjoying their own dude ranch vacation in our winter pasture. Although they make for a beautiful sight at dusk, they are doing a dandy job of tearing up our fences when they come and go. That’s just the price we pay for living out here with these critters. Pretty soon they will be moving to their winter grounds, although we still tend to see a few throughout the winter months. Jenn took this picture last week from her front porch. What a nice way to finish the day!
Date: May 8th, 2009
Looking for a new romantic vacation idea? Get over lace, chintz and potpourri. A great romantic resort getaway features lots of shared activity outdoors that sparks lots of shared activity indoors.
That’s the experience of couples who visit Vista Verde Ranch, near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. After a day spent skiing, riding, sledding, snowshoeing or dog sledding, there’s nothing as tantalizing as returning to your private deluxe cabin and slipping into a steaming, secluded hot tub with your significant other. A gourmet, candlelit dinner and an impossibly star-filled sky add a dreamy finish to the day.
The small guest capacity at our ranch allows us to provide top notch service and an intimate setting. You can choose to enjoy a plethora of activities, or just relax and take in the peaceful setting. With over 600 acres, and surrounded by millions of acres in the Routt National Forest, you wont see any crowds here, and the only traffic jam is that of the horses lining up to be fed each day.
Our staff go out of their way to accommodate your wishes, the Chefs prepare delightful options at each meal, and the snow is pristine outside, just ready for you to put on your jacket and come out to play.
Just fly into the Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) airport in the winter, and we’ll pick you up and whisk you away to the ranch.
We have seen more and more guests at our luxury dude ranch looking for a unique way to reconnect and enjoy a romantic resort getaway that leaves lasting memories. Grab your sweetheart, and come join us at Vista Verde Ranch for a winter stay!
Date: May 8th, 2009
There are a broad range of dude ranches in Colorado as well as a broad range of Colorado resorts. The meaning of dude ranch, guest ranch or resort depends on who you ask. Some think a dude ranch is more rustic and a guest ranch is more upscale. Some thing a dude ranch is more of a working ranch while a guest ranch has other activities. Some think a resort should have nothing to do with dirt and animals and be more like Disney, while others think of a resort as a rustic non-hotel-like experience. At Vista Verde, we could be called a dude ranch, a guest ranch or even a ranch resort. We’re a working ranch in the sense that we have a herd of 80 horses who we keep year ’round, feeding them by irrigated hay meadows in the summer and by throwing stored hay off a sleigh pulled by a team of draft horses in the winter. We have acreage to maintain, fences to build and land to preserve. We’re a resort ranch in the sense that we have a diverse offering of activities besides just riding, and not all our staff wear cowboy hats for their specialties. We could also be called a luxury ranch by the upscale accommodations and high quality food. Whatever you like to call us, we hope those who are looking for a classy yet casual, adventurous yet safe, and remote yet accessible vacation experience will find their way to Vista Verde Ranch. It’s a place where relationships are built and renewed, memories are made and time slows down. Call us whatever you want, but when you’re here we hope you call it home.