*Thank you for having us
There is something special about Vista Verde Ranch that makes it unlike any other experience I have had traveling. It was hard to pinpoint at first, but I think the reason became clear when at the end of our stay, we realized were leaving with rested and relaxed minds. Unlike many vacations, even all-inclusive ones, the Vista Verde Ranch staff so perfectly took care of every detail you may need to think about. With our minds at ease, we were able to thoroughly enjoy our activities, meals and everything in between, creating a one-of-a-kind experience. We hope to make it back soon, maybe in the summer or fall next time just to try something new.
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Preparing For Your Trip To Vista Verde Ranch
As mentioned above, Vista Verde Ranch has thought of everything to make your trip go smoothly. Before our stay, we were sent a link to everything we would need to know. Included was a schedule of activities to review, instructions on how to get to the ranch, and most importantly for trip preparation, a packing list.
Being from Texas, we needed guidance on what to buy for a trip in the snowy mountains, and the packing list was on point. There were a few items on the list I was unsure about and send an email to the staff, who quickly provided direction on making the correct choice.
We shopped for trip supplies on Amazon and highly recommend it. We were able to purchase affordable snow pants, neck gaiters, snow gaiters and snow boots easily. We didn’t end up using the snow gaiters, which we were able to return after the trip, thanks to Amazon’s great return policy. We didn’t need to purchase the recommended ski goggle, jackets, beanies or gloves, since we already had those. Our tip: make sure you bring plenty of clothes you can wear in layers, and thick comfortable socks.
Getting to Vista Verde Ranch
The ranch is in Colorado, located about 45 minutes from Steamboat Springs and the nearby Hayden airport. Someone from the ranch will gladly pick you up from either.
We started our trip in Denver and rented a car to take to Steamboat Springs, where we stayed a couple of days before going to the ranch.
It ended up snowing quite a bit while we were there and I worried if the car would make it through the snow-covered streets. Zach at Vista Verde was very helpful and gave me a few options to make sure I made it there safe.
By the afternoon the roads cleared a lot, so I followed an SUV they sent to pick up another passenger. The added assurance of following someone else who could help if we ran into trouble made me comfortable driving on the 4+ inches of snow on the roads to get to the ranch. I share all of this to say, once again, the staff is amazing and they are going to do what they can to get you to the ranch safe and sound.
Arriving at the Ranch, we were greeted by the staff and our bags were unloaded from the car and taken to our cabin. Even just with our check-in experience and tour of the lodge I already noticed a difference at Vista Verde. It really felt like family was helping us settle into their home to stay for a bit.
Our cabin looked so cozy from the outside as we made our way in. It had a wood burning stove with wood stacked nearby. A basket of snacks waited for us and a stocked fridge that was refilled throughout our stay.
The master bedroom was downstairs, but we opted to sleep upstairs since it had a better view. The bathrooms are stocked with locally-made soaps that make the entire room smell like a spa.
After settling into our cabin, we made our way back to the lodge to check our email quickly and, of course, share our first impressions on Instagram. Vista Verde really gives you the opportunity to unwind with no TV, minimal cell service and limited Wifi. Take advantage of it and put your devices away as much as you can.
Dining at Vista Verde
Each night starts with a happy hour in the main lodge. This is a perfect time to grab a drink and an appetizer, and get to know your fellow guests. At 6:30, dinner was served.
Dinner varies each night. It could be a 3-course “formal” meal, a buffet followed by music or dancing, or a 5-course meal with wine pairing. You can trust it will be delicious and prepared by skilled hands.
On our second night, following the buffet, there was live music and dancing. A few nights previous there were line dancing lessons to prepare guests for this night. Michelle is an experienced dancer and picked up the steps without a problem. One of the staff who was from Elgin, TX (not too far from where we live in Austin) saw she liked dancing and grabbed her to learn a few fast dances that would take me a full class to pick up.
Lunch each day was a buffet with the staff. Breakfast consisted of a continental breakfast and a hot menu to order all your breakfast staples like eggs, bacon, and pancakes as well as a few specials.
One of the highlights was going to the main lodge during the day to grab a freshly baked cookie and some hot chocolate, which was kept at the perfect drinking temperature to warm ourselves up by the fire.
Activities at Vista Verde Ranch
During happy hour each night, it was time to choose what we wanted to do the next day. The staff would find us, review our options and schedule our activities. At breakfast, they would check with us again to confirm our choices, giving us any additional guidance we needed to prepare for our activities.
We stayed for 3 nights at the ranch are were able to go horseback riding twice, feed the horses, go backcountry skiing and snow tubing. Other activities available were ice fishing,
For horseback riding, you are assigned a horse that you will ride during your entire stay. We started in the riding arena to learn horsemanship and the next day went for a trail ride through the snow.
Feeding the horses was a fun activity all in itself. We would go out to the field on a platform pulled by horses with hay on it. As we entered the field the horses followed behind grabbing their meal as we pushed it off the flatbed.
Backcountry skiing was a real adventure. It snowed about a foot the day before our first time skiing. We showed up and got all the gear we needed. They have the boots, skis, water bottles, and a backpack if you need it. If you are wondering if you need to bring anything else just give them a call and they will let you know.
We followed our guide into the powder and were very grateful she broke through ahead of us, creating a trail. You can tell the guides are very attentive to your experience level and enthusiasm. It was our first time skiing but we were willing to try anything. She offered the challenged to try skiing up a hill. She led the way and we followed behind her. Skiing was difficult but we had great fun skiing up until it was time for lunch.
After three nights of staying at Vista Verde, there is only one thing I can complain about, which is that we had to go home. As always, the staff went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed. They loaded up our luggage, warmed the car up for us, cleared the windshield and sent us away. Our step was lighter, our bodies were relaxed and our minds were clear as we made our way back to Denver on our way home to Austin.
The cost of your stay at Vista Verde ranch varies based on the time of year you go. We recommend staying at least 4 nights which would cost $2,125/person in the winter. I think that is a great value when you look at all that is included. With 11 Meals, unlimited snacks and