My new best friend and I were exhausted from horseback riding and cross country skiing through most of the 15 miles of groomed and backcountry trails winding through the rolling terrain at Home Ranch that day. But Pete, one of the friendly ski guides, had pulled out the tubes buried under a few feet of new snow and the sun had not yet set over the Colorado mountains. The late afternoon sun lit up the tubing hill behind the cabins dotting the luxury ranch’s property and we could hear other skiers through the woods, heading in toward the lodge for warm drinks. We looked at each other, neither wanting to be the first to call it a day. So, we each grabbed a tube and started the hike up the hill. My first step off the groomed trail onto the hill landed me in at least three feet of snow, my snow pants disappearing into the dense bed of wonderful white powder. We only made it up half way, exhausted from the giant steps. Through the virgin snow, I carved out a route in my tube, down the hill slowly, my friend following with more speed. By our fourth trip (tears streaming down our faces from the cold and the unbridled giggling), the track was fast and other skiers had stopped to cheer us on. We watched the sun set, shivering slightly and entirely satisfied.
We hugged and promised to sit together at dinner to share photos and exchange addresses. Back in my cabin, I tapped the snow off my boots and skis (carefully fitted by Pete early, and mine for the duration of my stay at Home Ranch), turned my own outdoor private hot tub up to 104 degrees, lit a fire in the wood stove inside my cabin and made a cup of tea. The hot tub let up a puff of steam as I took the cover off and dipped inside just in time to watch the day’s last light disappear into a starry night. Magic.
Colorado’s Home Ranch is the only Relais & Chateaux affiliated ranch in Colorado, promising unparalleled luxury and service and a haute mountain culinary program. Located in the tiny community of Clark, Colorado just
18 miles from Steamboat Springs, this spectacular setting offers guests horseback riding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, sleigh rides and skating with guides and wranglers who deeply love the land along the Elk River Valley.
After a glorious day in the snow, guests meet in the charming lodge for a gourmet five-course dinner with Chefs Clyde Nelson and Jonathon Gillespie who proudly share their dishes inspired by local ingredients. Wines are carefully paired and introduced by one of the chefs or the charming general manager, Brooks Bradbury. If you’re lucky, you’ll sit next to him at dinner, though each and every guest seated at the long dinner table will have something interesting to share about their adventures that day. And, they will all soon be your new best friends.