A Guest Ranch in Winter

Vista Verde Guest Ranch is a luxury winter wonderland complete with adventure and breathtaking views
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Photos courtesy of Vista Verde Guest Ranch

What’s better than spending the morning in a private hot tub with a cup of steaming hot tea? Soaking and tea drinking while watching 100 horses frolic in a snowy field. That’s right, it can happen with a visit to Vista Verde Guest Ranch. This hot tub and the view are available with a stay in one of the cabins overlooking the horses’ winter field.

Photo by Benjamin Rasmussen

Located 40 minutes from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and one-hour from the airport, Vista Verde Guest Ranch is a luxury winter wonderland, and the experience may lead to repeat visits.

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A wintery visit is an entirely different, snow-covered experience than a summertime holiday. The grounds of the ranch are quiet, with the occasional whiney of a horse floating on the chilly breeze. Flames leap and dance in the fireplace in the main lodge. Curling up with a good book and glass of wine may seem utterly delightful.


However, if a guest is looking for a little winter adventure, there are many opportunities to enjoy the cold weather. There is snowmobiling and horseback riding and everything in between like archery, Nordic skiing, and ice fishing. Guests can take excursions into Steamboat Springs for shopping or book a day of downhill skiing at Steamboat Resort.

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Eating is an important part of the Vista Verde experience. Chef Cholly and his staff work tirelessly to create amazing memorable meals. Think Wagyu beef, scallops, trout, and some of the most beautiful and tasty desserts imaginable. Plus, freshly baked cookies are always available. 

Benjamin Rasmussen

Photo by Benjamin Rasmussen

Wine is also plentiful and can be enjoyed at the nightly happy hour in the lodge, which includes a light appetizer to ready the palate for the evening’s meal. Guests who want to taste and learn more can do a wine tasting led by Chef Chelly. He also holds a beer tasting in the winter only, and cooking classes year-round. 


A unique winter outing at the ranch is the “Feed Sleigh.” It’s an opportunity for the guest to take part in ranch operations. Daily, a flat wagon piled high with hay is pulled by Belgian draft horse brothers Sitka and Kenai through the winter field of hungry horses. Guests are invited to ride along and participate if they choose by tossing hay from the moving sleigh. 


While giving the big Belgians a wide berth, the horses follow the wagon, sometimes grabbing bites of baled hay before it even hits the ground. It’s a one-of-a-kind of experience that animal-lovers may want to do again and again.

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At Vista Verde Guest Ranch, there is always someone there to bait a guest’s hook, saddle a guest’s horse, hand a guest a glass of wine, make an amazing meal for a guest and clean up afterwards. It’s the kind of service fit for kings and queens and Vista Verde treats their guests like royalty.

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Whether coming for snowy adventures or laid-back days soaking in the hot tub with a mug of steaming tea, Vista Verde Guest Ranch offers a chance to escape real life. The horses here aren’t unicorns but watching them play as snowflakes gently fall is a magical experience that can only be had during a winter stay.

Categories: The Heidi Guide