steamboat guest ranch Tag

Touring Colorado

I have had the pleasure of serving on the board of the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association for the past 7 years. One of the parts of that job that is really fun is inspecting other ranches. Each member ranch is inspected every 3 years and then any ranches that want to join get a fairly in-depth inspection.

I’ve done one member ranch inspection already this summer and took Bill along with me as he had never been to any other ranches. It was fun to have him along for that visit and we enjoyed sharing our thoughts on that Colorado ranch on our drive home. This week I had to go visit two ranches who are applying for membership in the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association. It was a whirlwind tour through several counties to get to these two ranches and spend some time getting to know them. The biggest treat for me was I got to spend the night at one of them and enjoyed a nice dinner with their guests and manager. It reminded me how fun it is to be a guest! I love the Steamboat area and our landscape here, but it is refreshing to be reminded of the diversity in Colorado. I went from the most extreme mountain passes with craggy rocks and snowcapped peaks to the farmland of Colorado, home of fresh peaches and cherries, then back over another pass with a lush forest and multiple lakes off of every turn in the road, then into the rocky, dry high desert with sagebrush and amazing rock formations, and finally back home to beautiful Steamboat Springs and my favorite ranch, Vista Verde. Hey, there’s a reason I’m still here after all these years. It was great to catch up with our guests again this morning and find out what adventures they’ve had the past couple days. There’s never a dull moment and it sounds like there have been memories made for everyone, and still more to come!

Listen… it’s that sweet silence

Can you hear it?
It is the sweet silence of the mountains.

That is the first thing we will hear waking up in our cabin at Vista Verde. Oh, then there’s the occasional neigh of a horse and that gentle pitter patter of snowflakes hitting the porch roof. It is the first of our three days back at beautiful Vista Verde. We had to come back. What better way to celebrate our 15 year Anniversary. We had to taste the Chef’s delicious meals and laugh with Stephanie in the lodge. We really needed to sit down at another gourmet breakfast and have the rosy faces of Steve & Kelli come in to find out what everyone wants to do that day… oh the decisions! I think we will start with our favorite -a horseback ride together through the quiet trails and in the afternoon definitely time to warm up some skis. We were so excited and anxious our first visit as neither one of us had skied before- but with such great instructors showing us how, we didn’t even fall once and cannot wait to finally try again. As a Floridian, it was sheer joy to also attempt my first sled ride. That certainly needs to be in our plans for the perfect visit. I am sure I will laugh again many times going down that sled hill along with my gratitude to the snowmobile ready to bring me back to the top again. Yes, that will be the start of day 2 followed by some indoor arena horse riding. Certainly we want to plan in feeding the horses on the hayride- so much fun with the other guests! Perhaps a wine tasting that evening and a sing along in the lodge. Day three, well that will be the brand new effort where we will finally try some local dog sledding and definitely put in for the night snowshoe walk. That was an incredible highlight last time too! Of course each evening we will soothe into our cabin hot tub on the porch and listen for those coyotes in the distance. Yes, this is the way our ideal trip would be, sheer relaxation and happiness. Notice I didn’t mention being online for even a second this time while on vacation. That is one of the fantastic treats of vacationing at this ranch-logging off and never looking back. Facebook and the blogs will have to wait till we get home to hear all about our glorious anniversary and how Vista Verde was be THE perfect place to return to the snow together to toast to our love.

Yes, that mountain silence is certainly calling out to us… don’t you hear it calling out to you too? Listen….

Name: Cathy Billoni
Company: Atlantic Dental
City: Tampa
State: Florida

New guests at the ranch

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!

Time flies when you are at a Colorado Dude Ranch

Golden days of August- by Bill D.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!