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Colorado guest ranches in winter: Snowy fun, bargains, and breathtaking beauty

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Colorado dude ranch

Cynthia Hunter

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Why visit a Colorado dude ranch in winter? There are no cows to punch and even horseback riding is iffy. Still, some ranches remain open. And for a few, the season brings unmatched tranquillity and snow-draped beauty. At these five there's lots to do, and as a bonus, some rates are in the deep freeze.

Perhaps the most luxurious is the Home Ranch outside Steamboat Springs. In winter, snow gets deep and the ranch becomes a top-notch nordic ski center, with 18 miles of groomed trails, from easy meadow loops to longer, more challenging treks (the prettiest route is 1.4-mile Aspen Arches loop). Athletic skiers love the skating lanes laid down when snow conditions are right.

Sleigh rides are offered twice a week, and there's a hoot-and-holler of a tubing run with big banked turns. Off-ranch activities include downhill skiing at Steamboat Springs Ski Resort, guided backcountry ski tours in the adjacent Routt National Forest, and snowmobile trips.


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