Cross-Country Ski Clubs, Ski Groups, and Winter Reunions
You don’t know it yet, but you have relatives with a ski lodge in Colorado. A stay at The Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado is like a visit with your favorite aunt and uncle. They meet you at the airport and put you up in their best guest room. Everyone knows your name and cares if you have a good time. Your aunt trots out her best recipes and you fear you’ll gain five pounds before the week is done. There’s constant banter about the weather and questions about your needs: “what would you like to do today? Did you have a good time? Is there anything you need?” You swear, if you’d forgotten your socks they’d try to find a pair to get you by. Your cousin has a shed full of track and back country ski and snowshoe equipment and you are welcome to try it out. Grandpa got up early to drive the Bombardier to groom the on-ranch trails which you are free to explore on our own or with a guide. Your uncle Mike, who has extensive local knowledge, has taken time off so he can take you out on his favorite off-ranch trails should you tire of exploring the on-ranch trails. Each morning your guides consult the weather gods, the snow djinnis and, finally, each other before announcing the ski and snowshoe options. Uncle Mike will lead an off-ranch telemarking class to Murphy Larson; Mark will drive the more timid skiers to Trilby Flats and Aunt Leslie will guide an on-ranch snowshoe trek along the river. Meet in front of the Ski Shack at 9:30 prepared to depart. There is an almond-shaped gap of daylight between his legs as though his horse wandered off and the bed-springs that should snap his knees back in place had weakened with overuse. The bowed-legs aren’t faux either. He rides and tames horses with gentleness and skill. He’s a darn good skier, too. Unlike the faux-gourmet meals you might get on a cruise ship, executive chef Clyde delivers the real deal meal. One highlight of the day is the evening dinner description of the entrees delivered by the evening chef’s announcement: “and tonight we have…”; followed by a description of the featured wines available by the glass. An extensive selection of bottled varietals are also available. Although the ranch doesn’t have a preference for groups, the setting is ideal for family reunions or ski clubs. When a group has sufficient participation to gain exclusive use of the ranch – (usually a minimum of 26 visitors) – the main lodge salon makes a perfect meeting or pre-dinner gathering spot. During the day the living areas are available for conversation, games, reading, or meditation. The Home Ranch has year round activities; it’s a dude ranch in the summer, a fly fishing lodge in the fall, and a ski lodge in the winter – with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing right from the door. With the ability to lodge a maximum of 45-50 people in the six lodge rooms and eight cabins, they are able to accommodate family reunions, ski clubs, and individuals. The Home Ranch may not be the best choice for someone with pet allergies, but just like on any real ranch, (or at Aunt Anne’s house), cats and dogs are part of the reality. Mo and Basil keep us company in the lodge. It’s one more example of the familial ambience that the animals accept you as one of the family – and may demand you dispense a dollop of half-and-half from the refrigerator in your room—which by the way is stocked with coffee, cheese, crackers, gorp (trail mix) and the bottomless chocolate chip cookie jar. Although set in a bowl of beauty, The Home Ranch is ultimately all about the staff. They set the framework that allows the visiting ‘family’ members to feel comfortable. They are willing to work with the idiosyncrasies of the group, including acting as our soccer-mom and shuttling us into town for shopping, to Steamboat for downhill skiing, or to nearby attractions such as dog sledding or horseback trail rides through the snow. Story By Linda Glein To plan your next ski club, ski group or family getaway to The Home Ranch, please call 970.879.1780. See you soon!