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10 Reasons To Take A Winter Ranch Vacation

By Nancy Schretter, Editor

There’s something magical about a snowy winter family vacation. It may be playing outside together in freshly fallen snow or enjoying exhilarating outdoor winter sports surrounded by spectacular mountain vistas. There’s a special place in Colorado where families come together to enjoy all the best the winter season has to offer. That place is Vista Verde Ranch.

Vista Verde Ranch is the kind of place that brings a warm feeling to your heart every time you think of it. If you’re looking for a great winter vacation for your family, here are ten great reasons to head to Vista Verde Ranch:

1.  Snowy Winter Wonderland.  Vista Verde Ranch is located on 540 acres amidst Colorado’s Routt National Forest, just a short drive from world–famous Steamboat Springs. Bedecked in freshly fallen snow, Vista Verde has a beautiful picture postcard–type setting. Vista Verde gets lots of snow, so there’s generally plenty of the white stuff. The region enjoys an average snowfall of about 350 inches yearly. Families enjoy reconnecting with nature, playing outdoors in the fresh mountain air and being surrounded by the peaceful stillness of Colorado’s mountains.

2.  All–Inclusive Luxury.  Vista Verde Ranch is an all–inclusive AAA Four Diamond Award–winning property. The ranch’s all–inclusive rates include luxurious accommodations, gourmet meals, snacks, beverages including beer and wine, a wide variety of winter activities such as guided cross–country skiing and snowshoeing tours, an exceptional children’s program for ages 6–12, winter sports equipment, horseback riding, excellent guides and instruction, fitness center, staff gratuities, airport transfers, free shuttles to Steamboat Springs for downhill skiing and more. Since so many activities are included, guests feel free to try out new experiences and learn a new sport. Left your dog behind? No worries – that’s included as well. Finn, the ranch’s beautiful golden retriever, accompanied us on our backcountry skiing adventures and reminded me of our own dog at home.

3.  Spacious Cabins.  Guests visiting Vista Verde Ranch can choose from accommodations in ten luxurious log–style private cabins with hot tubs on their decks and three deluxe rooms in Vista Verde’s Main Lodge. Cabins range from one–bedroom/one bathroom bungalows to large three bedroom/three bathroom cottages. Cabins feature Western d├ęcor with gorgeous log beds, cozy down comforters, wood–burning stoves, a refrigerator stocked with drinks, and a huge, constantly refilled snack basket. Families enjoy relaxing in front of crackling wood fires in their cabins and indulging in soothing soaks in the large outdoor hot tub on the deck. In the evenings, guests gather in Main Lodge’s Great Room with its towering windows and huge stone fireplace to swap stories of their day’s adventures.

4.  Wide Variety of Winter Activities.  Vista Verde offers an extensive array of outdoor and indoor activities for all ages and interests. There’s plenty of flexibility to choose what to do each day and families can have fun enjoying all kinds of outdoor adventures, both together and apart. The ranch features a superb Nordic ski program with guided backcountry touring and cross–country skiing for all experience levels. There’s also snowshoeing, tubing, sledding, snow biking, sleigh rides, star gazing, barn dances and more. The ranch’s staff also offers Skate Ski Clinics and Horsemanship Clinics for guests, along with culinary classes, yoga and photography classes. For an extra fee, guests can enjoy relaxing massages at the ranch and go snowmobiling and dog–sledding off–property. Vista Verde is also a great choice for families who enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding, with Steamboat Resort located nearby.

5.  Fantastic Children's Program.  With so many activities from which to choose, Vista Verde is a great vacation choice for families with kids of all ages. For families with school–age children, Vista Verde offers an outstanding free supervised children's program for kids ages 6–12. The children’s program operates in the mornings and afternoons, with a break for lunch. Kids head to the superbly equipped Kids Cabin to meet with their wranglers each morning and enjoy horseback riding, fat biking, tubing, snowshoeing, cross–country skiing and much more. There’s also a Dine and Dash dinner for kids on the ranch’s adults–only formal dinner nights, so kids can have a kid–friendly meal before enjoying their own evening activities while adults enjoy a superbly prepared gourmet feast.

6.  Exceptional Staff.  There’s one staff member for every guest at Vista Verde Ranch and the service is extraordinary. The ranch’s staff welcomes guests with genuine warmth and hospitality, routinely dining with families to get to know them better. Guides are knowledgeable and supportive, encouraging guests to learn more and try something new. Vista Verde quickly feels like a home away from home for its guests. After getting to know Vista Verde’s incredible staff, it’s no surprise that so many families immediately start planning to return to this Colorado dude ranch again.

7.  Fabulous Food.  Get ready to be spoiled at Vista Verde with delicious made–to–order gourmet meals prepared by the ranch’s highly talented executive chef. Breakfasts include a buffet with homemade granola and fresh fruit plus made to order items like omelets, corned beef hash, waffles, and pancakes accompanied by crispy bacon and steaming hot coffee. Lunches consist of salads, sandwiches, and a menu of hot entrees plus delicious desserts. Three–course dinners at Vista Verde include casual buffets and formal adults–only gourmet meals consisting of appetizers, entrees such as Colorado lamb and ahi tuna, and delectable desserts. Wine and beer is included. There’s also a Happy Half Hour social each evening in the Main Lodge. The ranch does an excellent job catering to guests with food allergies and preferences. Make sure to notify the ranch when you make your reservation.

8.  Great Ranch Experiences.  Families can still enjoy horseback riding during the winter months at Vista Verde Ranch. Horseback riding and free Horsemanship Clinics led by Vista Verde’s horse trainers are offered in the ranch’s large heated indoor riding arena. Guests can take hour–long outdoor rides across snow–packed trails as well. Snowy winter conditions make some uniquely memorable ranch experiences possible, too. Families love bundling up and enjoying a one–horse open sleigh ride across snow–covered lanes, complete with jingling bells and hot chocolate. Guests can also take sleigh rides out to help wranglers feed Vista Verde’s herd of about a hundred horses clustering in the fields.

9.  Like–Minded Guests.  Vista Verde has a friendly vibe, with a maximum of only 45 guests when families are present. The ranch enjoys an extremely high percentage of repeat guests from all across the country and abroad as well. The reason why they return is quite simple. Guests quickly discover that Vista Verde is a uniquely special place. Chalk it up to the extensive array of activities, exceptional staff, beautiful surroundings, laid–back luxury, and warm camaraderie among like–minded guests. Families and couples make long–lasting friendships here.

10.  World–Class Downhill Skiing Nearby.   Families can enjoy the best of all winter worlds at Vista Verde Ranch with all types of outdoor winter activities readily available. Vista Verde is located about 25 miles north of Steamboat Springs, home to renowned Steamboat Resort. It’s a quick drive to Steamboat and the ranch provides free shuttles to and from the slopes. Family–friendly Steamboat is known for its exceptional deep–powder skiing across six mountain peaks. The resort offers 165 trails across almost 3,000 acres, providing exciting runs for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, and four terrain parks for snowboarders as well.

To get a better feel for the Vista Verde winter vacation experience, take a look at this Pinterest board. Then start planning your family’s next winter vacation at Vista Verde Ranch. Once you go, you’ll want to come back to your Colorado home again to make lifelong winter vacation memories together.

If You Go:

For more information on taking a winter vacation at Vista Verde Ranch, visit their website at www.vistaverde.com.

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