7 Guest Ranches That Offer Top-Notch Skiing
Learn about these seven ranches that offer incredible skiing outside their back door for a memorable winter vacation. Skate, classic, backcountry, alpine-you name it, they have it!
by Jocelyn Pierce
Maybe you want to combine a dude ranch vacation with world class skiing. Or, maybe you want the amenities of a ranch but want to spend the day out on the slopes. Any way you look at it, these guest ranches offer incredible cross-country and downhill skiing with the option to soak in a hot tub after a long day outdoors.
The Home Ranch, Colorado
Ski right out the front door of your own cabin at The Home Ranch in Colorado’s Elk River Valley. Choose between skiing on their 20 miles of groomed cross-country trails or head into the Routt National Forest for backcountry skiing with an experienced ski guide on half or full day excursions.
The Home Ranch is also a short drive away from Steamboat Ski Area, and offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from the resort daily, sending guests with a packed lunch. Steamboat Ski Resort has 165 named trails on close to 3,000 acres with 350 inches of Colorado powder.
The Home Ranch has gear and equipment needed for skate, classic, telemark, backcountry, and snowshoeing, and also offers ski and snowshoe lessons.
Other winter activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, tubing, and arrangements for winter horseback riding, dogsledding, fly fishing or snowmobiling with a local outfitter.
Lone Mountain Ranch, Montana
Lone Mountain Ranch has over 50 miles of groomed Nordic terrain and 20 miles of snowshoe trails in Big Sky country. Lessons for all skill levels are offered, as well as backcountry ski tours and guided tours into Yellowstone National Park or to the Gallatin National Forest.
Backcountry skiing and snowshoeing trips are on varied terrain from easy rolling trails to advanced glades. Tours are rated easy, moderate, or difficult, depending on the length of tour and the amount of climbing and difficulty of skiing.
For serious alpine skiers, Lone Mountain is only six miles from Big Sky Ski Resort, which has 5,700 skiable acres, 300 runs on four mountains, and an average of 400-plus inches of annual snowfall.
Other winter activities include snowshoeing, fly-fishing, sleigh rides, and dog sledding.
Vista Verde, Colorado
Enjoy Vista Verde’s groomed cross country trails, guided backcountry skiing and snowshoeing tours, or take their complimentary shuttle to Steamboat Ski Resort for alpine skiing, only 45 minutes away.
Vista Verde’s guided backcountry ski tours allow guests to enjoy dramatic views and solitude, with the knowledge of an experienced guide that will choose appropriate terrain for your ability and fitness level.
The ranch’s groomed trails for classic and skate skiing are geared towards beginner and intermediate skiers, with loops going through open meadows and into the aspens.
Guides provide an “Into to Skiing” for beginners, and a skate ski clinic is offered several times throughout the week for those that are looking to improve.
Guests can also try powder cat skiing, which takes guests deep into northern Colorado’s powder, in some of the Rocky Mountain’s deepest, driest, and most consistent snowfall.
Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana
Located in Phillipsburg, Montana, named one of “The Best Secret Ski Towns,” by National Geographic, The Ranch at Rock Creek has plenty of options for winter sports, including cross-country skiing on over 20 miles of trails on their 6,600 acres and easy access to their local mountain, Discovery Basin Ski Area.
Guests have can cross-country ski twice daily on the property with guides, lessons, and gear included.
For those that want to spend a day downhill skiing at nearby Discovery Ski Area, the ranch's ski concierge accompanies guests to Discovery which has 67 runs and seven lifts. Guests may opt for a half or full day excursion, and the ranch can also arrange lessons.
In addition to cross country and downhill skiing, guests can take advantage of other winter activities in including snowmobiling, snow cat tours, sleigh rides, ice skating, sledding, and snowshoeing.
Latigo Ranch, Colorado
Located along the Continental Divide in Colorado, Latigo Dude Ranch caters to skiers during the winter months with nearly 40 miles of machine groomed trails for cross-country skiing. Other winter activities at the ranch include snowshoeing, tubing, and biking.
Because the ranch is located on private land, nestled into the national forest, the skiing experience will be quiet and secluded, without traffic noise. Their trails vary from flat, beginning track to challenging, advanced track and accommodates both classic and skate skiing. For those that want a backcountry or telemark skiing experience, Latigo Ranch is surrounded by 200 square miles of deep powder in Routt National Forest.
You can also day ski at the ranch without staying overnight, and they rent classic skis, boots and poles as well as snowshoes.
C Lazy U, Colorado
At C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado, you can cross-country and downhill ski without ever leaving the ranch. Guests are exposed to 1,000 acres of skiable terrain, 1,000 vertical feet groomed runs, and intermediate and expert back bowl powder skiing.
Guides take guests in a snow cat for private downhill skiing on Baldy Mountain, right on the property. Complete with hot cocoa and snacks, the snow cat is like having a personal ski lift. Limited to 8 guests per day, this is a personalized experience and skiers are guaranteed to get great snow. Guests can also opt for a ski package to nearby Winter Park and/or Granby Ranch Ski Area.
Guests can also cross-country ski any time on the ranch’s 10 miles of groomed and untracked trails. Other winter activities at C Lazy U include snowmobile tours, tubing, ice skating, sleigh rides, horseback riding, and snow shoeing.
Elk River Guest Ranch, Colorado
Elk River Guest Ranch is 40 minutes from Steamboat Mountain, making it a great option for those that want to ski at the resort, but want a quiet stay away from the ski town. The ranch has snowshoeing on the property, and is only a short drive from some of the best cross country trails in North Routtt and Clark including Hinman Trailhead and Little Agnes, less than three miles from the ranch.
For groomed Nordic skiing, Steamboat Lake State Park is 15 minutes from the ranch and has well marked trails suitable for beginner to immediate classic and skate skiers.