City slicker with newfound friends Blue the Cat and Finn the Dog at Vista Verde Ranch in CO

City slicker with newfound friends Blue the Cat and Finn the Dog at Vista Verde Ranch in CO

By Chris Yemma, Taking the Kids Correspondent

CLARK, Colo. — Born in Texas, I’ve always had a little Cowboy in me. I guess I just never knew how much until this year’s annual family ski trip to Colorado.

But let’s quickly back up first. I was seven years-old when the family moved from Texas to Southern California – so that’s not a whole lot of time for the Texas lifestyle to become fully ingrained. I did not acquire a Southern accent, thank goodness; but I did inherit the Cowboys as my favorite sports team. That can be a curse.

The point is, I’ve always had this little bit of Cowboy somewhere in me; it’s just hard for it to come out living in Los Angeles – where if you wear a Cowboy hat, some might consider you a pretentious hipster (unless you’re from Texas like me).

Best Family Getaways to Light Your Winter

On our annual family ski trip this year, my aunt, Eileen Ogintz – the creator of this site – decided to shake things up. We were going to stay at a working ranch in a remote location in, Colorado. “Whatever, let’s try something different,” I thought. We always typically stay slopeside at a major ski resort and sometimes – especially if conditions aren’t great – we could use a change of pace from downhill skiing or snowboarding.

Turns out, ranch life ain’t so bad. It also turns out, I look really really ridiculously awesome wearing a Cowboy hat.

At the Vista Verde Guest Ranch in Clark, Colo., ranch life for four days was pretty sweet. The beauty of it was, we were still on 30 minutes from Steamboat Resort, so we were still able to get in some epic downhilling, as the ranchers call it. But there’s so much more to do that can satisfy all of the family members’ preferences.

Stephen King, who leads the winter adventure center and has worked at the ranch for 17 years, illustrated this point nicely. He led us on a family snowshoeing outing around the ranch, something I’d never attempted.

“You can come out here and stay in this serene setting – and those who want to downhill ski, you can do that, but at the end of the day the family unit comes back together,” King said.

Snowshoeing with the family – while it doesn’t have the same ring to it as “shredding the wicked powder on my snowboard” – turned out to be a pretty cool experience. It’s something I could do with my near 70-year-old mother.

“The focus of snowshoeing is the environment and each other,” King said. “This is a family activity; we’re going out there with the intent of experiencing this adventure together.”

And there’s so much more to do on the ranch than just snowshoeing. Check out all their activities here. It’s a great way to get off the grid – we literally were for at least hours at a time – and spend some quality family time together.

And oh yeah, make sure to buy a Cowboy hat. They’re awesome.

Until next time, Yee-Haw Pardner.