Throughout the season a question we receive rather frequently is: “What do you do during the winter?” Well the short answer is — a lot. During the off-season the 4UR Ranch adopts a whole different personality. Staff is reduced to just a handful; it almost, at times, can seem like the Overlook Hotel. Despite that, we still seem to keep ourselves sane around here. If you ever drop by the 4UR in the winter, just be prepared to see a few of us acting a little strange.
One of the biggest task around the ranch in the off-season is construction. There is a lot around the ranch that either needs to be built, maintained or just re-purposed year after year. A few examples of recent projects that have been newly constructed are the steak ride tent and outhouse, the skeet range and new roofs on staff cabins. Furthermore, a new cabin is being constructed in place of Creekside to house male staff members for the 2019 season and on. Further renovations are planned at Amethyst this off-season which will give the building a new look on the interior.
The 4UR kitchen during the off-season is closed except for renovations and improvements. This year, the kitchen will be receiving a new bread and pastry oven. Furthermore, the Chefs are working on new ideas for the menu and ways to improve the dining experience year after year. For example, the homemade sourdough bread last year was a product of our chefs attending classes and doing some leisurely research in restaurants around San Francisco.
Year after year, a highlight of the 4UR ranch is the staff that works here and the impact they have on our guests. The task of hiring new staff is a major part of the off-season process and can be lengthier than one might expect. It is paramount to hire the best we can to deliver a top notch guest experience. Since a majority of our staff is compiled of college students, it becomes essential to plan for their departure for the upcoming fall semester. There needs to be a sufficient amount of staff ready to step up and fill in for the last two months of the season. A majority of the staff we hire to finish the season are college graduates that have been referred to us by other staff members.
The herd of horses spends most of its time grazing in the pasture; their shoes are removed and they receive vaccines and medications for the winter. When the snow starts to fall and the horses can no longer graze in the pasture naturally, we step in. The morning will start with us driving a feed truck loaded with an assortment of hay and alfalfa to the pasture. The feed will be dropped in an organized rows to allow ample room for feeding. Additionally, no matter how cold it is, -30 Fahrenheit some days, its always rewarding to see horses crash through the snow towards the feed truck. After the horses are fed, the truck is taken back to the barn and loaded up for the following morning. This process will repeat until the spring. On special days such as Christmas, the herd may receive a special treat in the form of an apple or carrot….from Santa of course.
In closing, the ranch is always functioning and a vast amount of care and work is put into the 4UR during the winter. It’s always rewarding to see our guests return after a long winter and appreciate the work we put in. We think we look forward to seeing ya’ll more than you look forward to seeing us.