In the Rocky Mountain Region of Colorado, winter is known to linger for 8, 9, 10 months. Believe it or not, it has even snowed every single month of the year! As many ranch owners will attest, the long winter months bring the opportunity to experience all the snow activities a winter lifestyle offers. From skiing to snowmobiling, ice fishing to ice skating and so much more, winter is truly one of the best times to enjoy the amenities of your mountain ranch.
First things first: is your ranch “winterized?”
Winter ranch management means you do a little preparation up-front and maintain the upkeep all winter long, depending on how the snowfall for that season plays out. There are many factors to keep in mind when determining your specific winter ranch management strategy. Before you play in the snow, let’s review how to prepare your mountain ranch for the winter months.
Think about where your water comes from and where it is used. Is your well equipped to continue to provide water to all the facilities on your mountain ranch? Are the pipes that transport water insulated so they don’t freeze or break? If you leave your property for an extended period of time for a vacation, will you turn your water off or have someone look after your home for you?
Does your property have trophy fish ponds? Ensure your aerators are in tip-top condition to keep your ponds well-stocked through winter.
Water is an incredible resource, and your water management plan will determine whether you have an enjoyable winter or not!
In the inevitable event that the mountains receive a massive snowfall multiple times over the course of winter, what is your plan for snow management and removal? Consider purchasing a snow removal machine for your recreational ranch property or contracting out a service to come plow the roads and access points. Walking in a winter wonderland is only fun so long as you can actually navigate your walk around your mountain oasis!
When we’re talking fuel, we’re not just talking the fuel for your home, your stove, or your BBQ. But while we’re on the subject, do you have enough fuel to get you through winter? What about backup generators for when the power goes out and the power companies can’t assist for at least 24 hours? Purchase these items before the snowfall, so you’re not caught in a pickle when everyone makes a rush for Home Depot.
The other kind of fuel we’re talking about is fuel for yourself, your family, and your guests! As winter approaches, double your pantry list when you make your grocery runs and slowly build up your stores of the basics you’ll need all winter long. Check out our favorite warm recipes to make for yourself and guests on your ranch.
If your mountain ranch is home to more than just humankind, start to plan how you’ll protect your livestock all winter long. Shelters are a primary way to provide protection for your horses, cows, and other ranch animals, however, you may find they like to spend some time outside so be sure to provide an option for your animals to move back and forth between indoors and outdoors.
Winter snowstorms can cause shipping delays and road closures, so we also recommend having ample feed on-hand in the event you can’t get access to a scheduled shipment. No one needs a Donner Party situation in the livestock shed! Remember to cover your feeders or bring them inside as wet feed goes bad quickly and the mold produced can make your animals incredibly ill or worse.
We know after last year’s events, stocking up on the TP can be a bit of a sensitive subject. But when living in rural mountain ranch areas or communities, shopping trips can find themselves few and far between! Instead of relying on your next shopping trip to stock up on household goods, create a list of supplies you’ll need like: all the papers (toilet, tissue, towels), items for a first aid kit, batteries, etc. You may not need it all, but you’ll be glad you spared yourself the headache of not having something you need!
At the end of the day, enjoying winter on a mountain ranch is the ultimate luxury a ranch lifestyle affords. The peaceful calm of snowflakes falling in the morning followed by evenings with friends and family around the crackling fire after a day of playing outside are things you simply can’t put a price tag on. As long as you have a plan in place for your mountain ranch management, you can kick up your feet and enjoy the spoils you have worked so hard for.
Get in touch with the Ranch Sellers team to start the search for your dream mountain ranch in Colorado!
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