The Roberts Family
& WTR Posse
Welcomes You

The Roberts family and their staff have invited guests to share a week of western heritage and hospitality for over 42 years. 

The Roberts family and WTR staff are recognized for their dedication to excellence and providing exceptional dude ranch vacations. 

From spectacular riding or working cattle in the high-country to spa treatments and gourmet cuisine, WTR has something for every guest, whether seeking adventure or pure rest & relaxation.

Tracks, Trails, & Tales

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What Do We Do For Fun Around Here?... Ski Joring!

Extreme Winter Sport: Ski Joring

This weekend was the third annual Ski Joring event in Silverton, Colorado, a town known for some of the best snow in the world! Basically, Ski Joring is an extreme winter sport where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course that has gates, jumps and rings. The skier is timed through the course, and penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps, and by missing or dropping any of the rings (two seconds each). The competitors race for cash prizes, and teams are made up by a random draw before the start. Basically, you’ll see die-hard skijorers and their trusty steeds race and jump—right down snow-packed main street!

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Skijoing has evolved into a sport that uses a horse and rider that pulls a skier down a snow-packed road over multiple jumps while retrieving rings in a timed competition. This event really took off in Colorado in the 1950’s. Ski Joring events include multiple classes: the Open Class, for experienced competitive teams; the Sport Class, for beginners; and the Snowmobile Class, for inexperienced and younger teams who are looking to get into the sport.

describe the imageThe drive to Silverton was a beautiful one, a bit windy butt the views were amazing. Silverton is a National Historic Landmark, part of the San Juan Skyway, the summer destination for the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train ride, a recreational paradise in Winter for snowmobiling, skiing, sledding, ice skating, ice climbing, and ice fishing. Secluded at 9,318 feet, a visit to Silverton is one that you will not forget any time of year. A perfect combination of supreme natural beauty and magnificent Victorian charm.  

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The sport of Ski Joring began several hundred years ago in Scandinavian countries as a way to travel during the long winters. Laplanders skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer. Ski Joring found its way to North America, where ranchers attached a long rope to the saddle horn of a horse that was ridden at high speeds down a long straight-away. Currently, the sport of equestrian Ski Joring has become a highly specialized competitive sport, where competitors must navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometimes spear rings. Competitive Ski Joring competitions are currently taking place in more than five states in the USA, and in several countries worldwide. In some parts of the world, skiers are pulled behind dogs, mules and snowmobiles. Whatever the means, the sport of Ski Soring is growing rapidly, and is just as much fun for spectators as it is for competitors. Courtesy of the North American Ski Joring Association.


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Gidget FAN Club, THANK YOU!

Gidget check out your valentine!

Hello "Gidget Fan Club"...  Thank you again for a bushel of Valentines for Gidget!

In the winter the horses are pastured on the mesa south of Durango.  Of course they are enjoying the warm, kind of mild winter and getting a bit chubby. 

As I walk towards Gidget (the most famous horse of them all) with a hand full of valentines, she seems to know I am coming to talk to her specifically.  I am pretty sure she knows she is the star of "every child's horse dreams".  

Gidget has been treating children to an outstanding week of horseback riding for many years. 

Valentine's day is a big day for Gidget, as we read valentine after valentine.  She bows her head to listen and is simply such a real sweetheart!

There are some horses you know love the children...  Our Gidget is one of those amazing horses. 

We are looking forward to another season. 

Locals don't forget to reserve your spot at this year's youth camp, booking up quickly...

Youth Camp starts June 11th, 2012.  Call for details.  (970) 247-0722

 

 

"My Side of the Fence" by Jan Roberts

Jan & Gene
The SNOWDOWN winter celebration in Durango is now in full-swing. This year's theme is "Once Upon a Snowdown" and is intended to promote costumes, games, parties, a parade, and many fun activities relating to "fairy tales" and is to help with the "Cabin Fever" syndrome that tends to infiltrate the community during the winter season.  Perhaps it could be aptly called "The Winter Blues" for some, but not us!

We truly do love and appreciate the snow, partly because all of us ski or snowboard.  And incidentally, our grandson Aksel, now age 3, is becoming an avid skier already!  I'ts amazing to see how quickly he has learned and it won't be long before he'll be out-skiing the whole family!

But mainly the snow is needed to produce water for the summer.  The rivers, lakes, and reservoirs require tremendous amounts of water to sustain our area, so we are blessed when the snow accumulates and is stored in the high mountains surrounding our magnificently beautiful area.  Winters are truly spectacular here!
So......................................
This  brings to mind, a poem that I wrote for the  WTR  2010 newsletter, which does not relate to the winter doldrums but instead to a "Once Upon a Time" story for our family.  I did actually write it during the winter however , so certainly my thoughts were on reopening the ranch for the coming season. 

Once upon a time....

It was actually in the late fall of 1969.

Could this really be?
Gene and Jan bringing our search to reality.
A ranch in the mountains, next to a stream,
To have horses and guests, that was our dream.

Wilderness Trails was the property's name,
the ideal place for us to stake our claim.
What a learning experience was year number one,
ending with Lance's birth, just like a home run!

We struggled through issues we didn't expect:
financial challenges, repairs, marketing, but what the heck!
We landed and lived in the most beautiful place
with no noise or pollution and miles of open space.

The next member of our family, a beautiful girl,
more love and joy into our lives, Erika, what a thrill.
Randy would spend summers to learn what he could
about horses and packing as any young cowboy would.

In traveling this path for more than 40 years,
We've had to adjust and often change gears.
Fires, drought, 9/11, gas rations, economy dips,
stock market drops and folks not taking trips.

Our family we've raised in this corner of the west
to believe that our heritage and hard work is best.
Believe in your goals, have respect and be fair.
The privilege of being here is humbling and rare.

How blessed we are to be able to share
our ranch, horses and valley with others who care
about the clear air and water, plus incredible nights
with the bright stars that glisten when we turn off the lights.

Our hearts and our souls are wrapped up in this place.
This way of life, we have truly embraced.
Although we've been through some blood, sweat and tears,
our passion will continue throughout the upcoming years.

So now we begin the next decade, with the same
resolve to learn, improve, evaluate and remain
in this valley we've called home year in and year out,
Love for our family, friends, guests, staff, land and horses---
This is what our life is about.

"And they lived happily ever after!"

See you this coming summer.....

Happy Trails!
Jan and Gene Roberts
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