Ski Safe 2021 — Vista Verde Ranch, Colorado

by Marika Flatt on January 7, 2021 in Travel,

Colorado Skiing in a Pandemic: Know Before you Go in the 2020-2021 Ski Season

Just like our Escape — To Nowhere series, we want to help you create the ideal Colorado ski trip during a pandemic. We’re including where you can stay in your own cabin/condo and cook for yourself if you choose plus activities you can do outdoors. There’s a lot to tell, so look forward to a multi-part series.

Here’s the next stop on our Colorado tour…

Vista Verde Ranch

Looking for a luxurious getaway? Vista Verde Ranch offers an adventure center full of high end snow bikes, skis, snowshoes and more! The mountain view from the adventure center is one you do not want to miss. Photo Jad Davenport

Vista Verde  means green view, and it’s one of the things that keeps guests coming back to the dude ranch over and over again. In the winter, the beautiful pine trees are frosted with snowy decoration which makes for a picture-perfect view.

This luxe guest ranch in Northern Colorado typically hosts approximately 50 guests at a time. At the time of this writing, they are limited to a smaller capacity and are having to make slight modifications due to the pandemic. Yet, they are still going strong welcoming guests into this fantastic winter wonderland. [Editor’s note: Read about pre-pandemic Vista Verde Ranch in this article that ran in our Special Travel Issue 2019.]

Offering luxury Colorado cabins with up to four bedrooms, Vista Verde Ranch ensures that the time you spend in your cabin will be cozy, warm and comfortable. Check out the full virtual cabin tours online before you go. Photo Jad Davenport

~ Vista Verde Ranch has consistently been awarded the TripAdvisor Award of Excellence, recently rebranded to the Travelers’ Choice Award, been the AAA Four Diamond award winner for over a decade, and received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2018. ~

Today, this is the story of how this mountainside center of excellence is keeping guests safe in the current pandemic.

Cowboy Cuisine

Even during the pandemic, guests enjoy fresh and creative dishes prepared by Vista Verde’s talented chefs. Keep breakfast light with fresh fruits, berries and homemade breads or go heartier with eggs benedict or scratch-made pancakes. Photo Jad Davenport

The most noticeable modification is that, at the time of this writing, they are not able to serve meals in the dining room. Instead, staff deliver gourmet meals to your cabin and you eat in your living area. You’re still getting the same delicious food, you just have to eat it in a smaller, more confined space. You simply fill out your order form and it magically shows up at your doorstep like exclusive room service. At each meal, you get a starter, an entrée and dessert, plus house wine and beer are included. You will definitely never feel hungry at the ranch!

Outdoor Activities

There is a childlike fun that never gets old of zipping down a hill. At Vista Verde, snow tubing is a hit, and they invite you to channel your inner child and try tubing on your winter vacation! Photo Jad Davenport

Each evening, you choose your morning activity and your afternoon activity for the next day. Most you will do with either a very small number of other people or with the group that you came with. Winter activities offered include Nordic cross-country skiing, snowga—which involves snowshoeing to the homestead cabin for a yoga class and back, ice fishing, horseback riding, sledding and more. Each activity is guided by a friendly and hospitable staff member. All are a joy to hang out with.

As Vista Verde turns to “Vista Blanca” there are more ways to enjoy the outdoors in this special part of the West. Vista Verde’s ski program offers something for everyone, including backcountry ski touring, classic and skate skiing. Photo Jad Davenport

Evening Activities

Evening activities would normally include a lot of fun community activities such as a dance and group games and gatherings. During this winter season, they have modified to include options like outdoor snowshoeing to see the stars and a family movie night in your own private conference room, complete with popcorn and movie candy.

When To Visit

The perfect pine trees of Vista Verde Ranch will call to you time and time again, heralding another visit to this land of beautiful views. The first time we visited was spring break in March 2019 and it was an ideal time to leave the warmth of Texas and enjoy solid snow time at the ranch!


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Cover photo courtesy Jad Davenport

Marika Flatt is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. You can find her “escaping” to Colorado at least once a year.  You can hear her “Weekend Trip Tips” on the statewide NPR show, Texas Standard.