Cowboys, Country Music & Haute Cuisine at a Colorado Dude Ranch

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for Home.”  – Edith Sitwell

 How did you see in the New Year? In the usual frenzy of party hats and streamers, making New Year’s resolutions whilst toasting the fresh start ahead? Or maybe you tried something a little different?

My husband was called into work over the holidays at short notice so I decided to seize the moment, tick off one of the items on my bucket list and take my daughter to an authentic dude ranch so we could spend New Year’s surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Lexi had never seen snow or been in a cold climate before and The Home Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was the perfect place for our last minute getaway. There we were, two Florida girls, bundled up in our winter gear, ready for some fun and boy, were we in for a treat!

With rustic cabins featuring hot tubs and luxurious décor, some of the best Nordic skiing in the world, uninterrupted awe-inspiring views across a million acres of forest and a phenomenal view of the Milky Way, it’s not hard to see why Home Ranch is one of the most beautiful dude ranches in Colorado. Arriving at the ranch was like walking into the magic of winter, it really did feel like you were in the middle of a snow globe!

As we ventured into town at the beginning of our trip, the first winter storm rolled in. It was as if we we’d stepped into a fairy tale and all we could do was watch as the snowfall blanketed the Elk River Valley in fresh powder and gaze in wonder as the resort was transformed into a total winter wonderland…

This was my daughter’s first snow and ski adventure and she loved it! It was a very family friendly environment and the snow activities were non-stop, which is just as well because it didn’t stop snowing the entire time we were there! With opportunities to go sledding, ride snowmobiles, go fly-fishing, drive a team of dogs as well as being shuttled to the nearby Steamboat Ski Resort for a spot of downhill skiing, we were never short of things to do.

I had no idea just how magical riding horses in the snow would be, and to then go on a sleigh ride with these majestic beasts whilst the kids rode at the back feeding hay to other horses in the field, completely surpassed the expectations I had when I booked the trip.  It was so much fun and the squeals of delight as everyone plummeted down the tubing hill lasted for hours!

The main lodge was a welcome sight at the end of a fun packed day, with its rustic western charm, high beamed ceilings and an environment so warm and inviting, it truly did feel like home. A different tablescape was created daily in preparation of the evening meal at ranch and each were as elegant and exquisite as the others. 

The dining experience was such a rich experience, a perfect blend of cowboy culture mixed with the refined palate of delicious Relais & Châteaux meals which we enjoyed wholeheartedly with a delightful array of companions, all equally impressed by the quality of each scrumptious bite. Add in some yummy wine tasting and being able to cook with the chef and I was truly in my element! I even got the recipe for their speciality Tequila Roasted Salmon which was soooo good!

It wasn’t just the food that was super, the staff were very hospitable, treating us as if they’d known us our whole lives. They created an atmosphere of celebration that was highlighted perfectly by the classic après ski activities available when the long winter’s nights drew in. From relaxing with a good book to backgammon, impromptu jam sessions in the hall to gathering together for fireside cowboy stories and concerts at the bottom of the slopes, we were never short of great music and awesome festive entertainment everywhere we went.

To top it all off, while we were passing time waiting for an available flight, we found our way right into the middle of a country music festival! It was packed with genuine western cowboys who were fun to trade hats with, in fact, I don’t think I’d ever seen so many cowboy hats in one place before! I must say, I now have a new found appreciation for country music and how proudly they wear their hats and the red, white & blue of the USA. It was a perfect end to our holiday!

Although our flights were cancelled twice and what started as a week-long trip turned into a fortnight of adventure due to the pretty amazing snow storms, we still had the best time ever! What started as a spur of the moment booking turned in to the most amazing and beautiful way to see in the New Year!
The whole trip was absolutely fantastic! I’m glad to be back in the tropics now but I’m so grateful for the snowy adventures I had at The Home Ranch and it just goes to show that you never know what adventures lie in store for you if you are brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and search out alternative ways to celebrate your family occasions.

From horses to snowstorms, gourmet food to legendary winter sports and all a little longer than expected, sometimes you just have to give over to the experience, go with the flow, ride it out and see where the storm takes you!

I might just have to return!


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