It’s no secret that 2009 was a challenging year for dude and guest ranches just about everywhere. The good news is that ranches have responded with enthusiasm, ramping up new programs, special deals, and energizing the industry with a new way of looking at and promoting their unique offerings. At the same time, ranches strive to maintain some of the best traditions that are so beloved by guests of many generations.
So what is new? More targeted events like the special Cowgirl weeks or weekends (like a slumber party with horses, one guest said). And how about spruced-up menus that lean more toward brioche than beans. The menu of activities is richer, as well, going beyond horseback riding and fly fishing to often include things like yoga, rock climbing, or spa treatments.
We hope you’ve had a happy holiday season and enjoy a warm and wonderful New Year. Here’s a quick roundup of news from the range:
VISTA VERDE RANCH
Winter specials at this luxe ranch outside Steamboat Springs include Share and Save, Work of Mouth Special, and Give Winter a Try. But do read the fine print: Discounts can not be combined. They are also hosting two horsemanship clinics- Jan 3-6 and Mar 2-6.
Details: Share and Save- January-March. Prices are as stated for the first 2 people in a cabin, then bring along some friends or family and the extra guests are 50% off. Word of Mouth Special- The ranch normally pays a finder’s fee in the form of Vista Bucks when you refer a friend. But this winter they are upping the ante; send a new guest to the ranch for a winter stay and both you and your friends save 25% on your 2010 winter stay. Give Winter a Try- January-March. Pay for 3 nights and get the 4th night free.
320 GUEST RANCH
Check out the Winter Wonderland Special, where you can escape to the 320 Guest Ranch for a night of true Montana hospitality. Whether it is a romantic getaway, a girls’ night out, or some family fun, the Winter Wonderland Special can do the trick. Set out under the stars for a sleigh ride pulled by Percheron draft horses; follow it with scrumptious cowboy cuisine at the 320 Steakhouse & Saloon and finish the evening with accommodations in a cozy cabin.
Details: Winter Wonderland Special costs $200 for two persons (alcohol, taxes and gratuity not included). Good/Valid for 2009-2010 Winter Season; can extend stay up to 7 nights at a discounted lodging rate. Reservations: 406/995-4283 or email@example.com or click here.
ALISAL GUEST RANCH AND RESORT
From quiet luxury to exciting adventure, the Santa Ynez Valley’s Alisal Ranch and Resort is both rugged and refined. This 10,000-acre working cattle ranch and luxury resort has created the perfect getaway with the Wine & Roses Package. All the ingredients for a romantic retreat are here: a crackling fire, Champagne, even a bed of roses. Sign up and you’ll make sure everything is coming up roses this Valentine’s Day.
Details: The Wine & Roses package is available for $1,850 per couple. Suite rates are available upon request. It includes studio accommodation for three days/ two nights; sparkling wine and roses on arrival; welcome basket with fresh fruit, cheese and chocolate truffles; breakfast and dinner daily, including wine with dinner; a picnic basket for two with wine. In addition, it includes one hour couples massage; horseback riding on scheduled rides, golf green fees, tennis and fishing at Alisal Lake, as well as taxes and service charges. When: Available midweek September through May, or any two nights from November through March (excluding summer and holidays). For weekends during September, October, April and May, add $200 to the package price. To book, call 800.4.ALISAL or click here.
VISTA VERDE RANCH
They’re working on putting together some details for a cooking school in March as well as a yoga retreat sometime in the future. Stay tuned.
Details: For more, click here.
SIWASH LAKE RANCH
One doesn’t don’t usually speak of cowboys and carbon footprints in the same sentence―but you can when talking about this remote off-the-grid dude ranch. The ranch is lightening its eco-footprint with innovative clean energy technologies. Rated by the Globe and Mail (a well-respected newspaper) as one of Canada’s top eco-friendly luxury destinations, Siwash Lake Ranch is overhauling its power system.
The Siwash Lake Ranch is eliminating over 90 percent of its fossil fuel energy production by installing a solar power plant as their primary source of clean, renewable, and reliable energy. It features a state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic system for electricity and also includes a retro-fit of the hot water heating system, along with new technology to capture excess energy from heated water. The ranch is also switching from gas-powered to solar-powered pumps for irrigation and other water systems.
“This project will save $32,000 per year in fuel costs and reduce our annual carbon footprint by 123 tons of green house gases. This is the equivalent of taking 22 passenger vehicles of the road for one year,” says Allyson Rogers, owner and proprietor at Siwash Lake Ranch. “Our guests are excited about all the work we do to make our operations as sustainable as possible,” she notes. “To stay in harmony with our environment by using renewable green energy to fuel our operations is incredibly important to us.”
Details: To learn more about their comprehensive sustainability program, and for a list of their land stewardship initiatives and their daily best practices, please visit www.siwashlakeranch.com/site/sustainability.html. To book, click here