First, let’s get this straight: My husband and I are not horse people.
My husband, Kevin, is allergic and I’ve always had a fear of the giant, beautiful, four-legged creatures. So needless to say, I was surprised to find us both charging, horseback, up a steep snowy trail at C Lazy U Ranch on the last day of our weekend escape from the city.
“Lean forward on your saddle,” shouts our exuberant, young Australian wrangler, Jodie. I do as I’m instructed, as my black and white mare, Betsy, trots effortlessly uphill. When we reach the top we’re rewarded with a magnificent, sprawling view of the 11,000-acre ranch—just like a scene from an old Hollywood Western.
The C Lazy U Ranch—located in Granby, just a two-hour drive from Denver—was recently awarded a “Top 100 Hotel and Resort in the World” designation by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. And it’s easy to see why. There are the private, cozy yet luxurious two- and three-bedroom cabins, most featuring stone wood-burning fireplaces and an endless supply of crackling firewood (we must have gone through a whole cord ourselves). There’s also fine dining at the rustic main lodge: three squares a day, a full bar, and an in-house sommelier who will keep your wine glass full. But, ultimately, it’s the beautiful, remote surroundings and fun daily activities that set this place apart.
We began our weekend snowshoeing through the open prairie, where we could mosey up to some of the Ranch’s 180 horses, shaggy in their winter coats. Snowshoes, poles, cross-country skis, and boots can all be borrowed for free at the on-site Outfitter’s Cabin. There are miles of trails, ranging from easy and flat (what we did) to mountainous (uh, more difficult). On Saturday, we signed up for backcountry skiing. The snowcat was down that weekend for maintenance, so two employees took us up in a snowmobile for the morning instead, where we skied fresh, knee-deep powder on our own private mountain (backcountry skiing is an extra cost of $90/person, but so worth it). If you prefer a typical resort skiing experience, Granby Ranch and Winter Park ski areas are a short 15- to 20-minute drive away, and the ranch shuttle will drop you off and pick you up at the end of the day.
Later that day, we went tubing on a fairly steep hill. In fact, they drive you to the top on snowmobiles and pick you back up at the bottom after your ride. This is not your run-of-the-mill resort tubing; we clocked speeds of 45 mph on our phones. We even tried the famous C Lazy U Ranch “Luge” track later. “Lugers” ride steel-rail sleds down the long, winding driveway of the ranch. We were all smiles when we headed to dinner that night at the lodge.
Although we don’t have kids, C Lazy U Ranch is an ideal place to bring your young ones. In fact, the staff provides a daily kids’ program and even separate meals, so that tired parents can get some much-needed R&R. To wit: Most activities and all food are included in the daily rate. Much like a cruise, the alcohol is extra, so beware—the wine can get pricey.
A getaway at the Ranch means creating whatever type of vacation you’re craving—active, or not. We talked to one couple that spent their entire stay sipping wine and reading in front of a roaring fire. Let the staff take care of you. “Lazy” is the name of the game.
The C Lazy U Ranch is offering a special reduced rate of $375/night for adults ($250/night for kids ages 6–17, $225/night kids ages 3–5) for Valentine’s weekend. Find out more here.