Yearly Archives: 2020

“Yes” to the gift shop

(At a time like this, I am going to keep this blog light!)

I can vouch for all of the office staff that it is incredibly difficult to say “NO” to the gift shop. We all get paid, but then turn around and spend it in the shop. How do we not?! There are SO many temptations and so many things we all “need”.  Almost like company script, some money never leaves the property. Unintentionally deliberate…?

The list of my personal indiscretions is such:

I now have 2 Pendleton blankets, one on the couch, and one on the bed. I couldn’t say “no” to the one that is a cotton blend, it is just so soft and colorful.

Embarrassingly, EVERY fall I buy at least one new winter hat. It’s just that the new collection that arrives in October has the hat I always wanted… and just check out the pom-pom!! It is not just a guilty accessory… we do live in a snowy climate.

I admit, my earring addiction is getting out of control. But we just got this great new collection of beaded earrings! And I of course have to have at least one pair from each of the artisans; feathers, silver, turquoise, tin… so that leads to either needing more ears, more nights out or more days of the week to justify my addiction.

We just got a new shipment of Stio jackets, both fleece and down. I imagine everyone who lives in Colorado can easily say they do not need another jacket… however, THESE jackets are made in Wyoming… are so colorful and have great downy loft (unlike the duck taped jackets hanging by the house door)! Life is too short to not have a new down vest!

Bags. Need I say more.
I have my eye on a Pendleton purse with a tasteful blend of wool and leather. I have a turquoise color Joy Susan hobo bag that I had to buy quickly  as they fly off the shelf. (Almost every woman that walks in the store departs with a Joy Susan over her shoulder, affordable AND stylish.) I have bought zipper bags, grocery bags and beaded bags.

My kids have outgrown the stuffed animals, Maileg mice and jammies (SAD!). So now we’ve moved on to raiding the store for socks, snacks, birthday presents and bath products. My favorite is Osmia but the kids love the Library of Flowers shower gel.

Ember, our dog, is guilty of an occasional bout of shoplifting when the Jelly Cat stuffed animals are at his eye level. He has stolen a bat, fluffy white chicken, penguin and a “bashful” lamb.

The only Avalanche Ranch Gift Store moderate is my husband who seems to not possess a materialistic bone in his body. So clearly I have to make up for that lapse. And I am doing a great job!

Covid Break


I am sitting at the office desk responding to emails, most of which are cancellations, and I can hear a myriad of sounds out the open door. I could definitely go dismal, as we watch our bank account plummet, there is no promise to date of re-opening amid Covid confusion, and who knows what the economy will bring…. BUT I hear the sounds of improvement and of dedication.

The residents of Avalanche Ranch are busting their bums to take full advantage of this time. I feel pretty confident in saying it has been YEARS and YEARS since this property has had adequate time to receive this much unadulterated attention. There were pre-hot springs years when mid-week was quiet enough to catch up on maintenance, but at that time there was no budget and there were just 3 people on the staff. Post hot springs has been a total whirlwind of exponential growth, increased occupancy, more wear and tear and less time to catch up. Out of curiosity and to remember what it used to be like, I just pulled out our old Tape Charts (from before computer reservations) and in 2005 we were at 54% occupancy year-round. There were weeks in January where cabins sat empty for 2 weeks straight. In 2018 by comparison we were at 94% occupancy year round, where I see some cabins were only vacant a minimum of 10 days the whole year. Fortunate from a business standpoint but challenging from a maintenance standpoint.

TODAY during closure, a dedicated residential staff of 7 people are all humming around making improvements. I can hear a sander, a hammer and a saw. My parents are carrying around paint brushes and refinishing furniture. My daughter is raking. My husband last weekend cleaned the barnyard and harrowed the fields. Sometimes I can bribe my son to garden with me. I am working on a new Hot Springs on-line reservation system, tap tap tap goes the keyboard. The dogs are really helpful and the cat keeps meowing at me. I can hear improvement.

We have received so many emails and calls from our incredible guests who send their thoughts, sympathies and memories our way. We feel so lucky to have their support and positive thoughts during this time. Many of our guests are fellow business owners and working people that understand that we are all in this together. Instead of cancelling and demanding refunds, so many have kept their faith and money with us during this closure, and to all of our loyal guests we are so thankful! This continued support is going to make it possible for us to open back up with purpose. We are working hard to honor your reservations and make this place better.

Projects we are tackling:
Finished the remodel of the Lodge and added a new bathroom with a shower!
Painting all cabin/wagon decks
Painting interior of wagons
Painting Hot Springs changing rooms & bathroom
New screens in all cabin windows
Refinishing floors in: Office, Cabin #2, Cabin #8, Cabin #7
Stabilizing hand rails at the pools
Repairing cracks in pools
Replacing the pump in Hot Springs Well #1
Replumbing intake to pool #2 (hot pool)
Rebuilding the Covered Wagon
Touching up interior cabin doors, refinishing cabinets
Restocking all kitchen utensils, pots, pans, etc
Adding a new wagon!
Inventory of every item in the store
Painting porch chairs
And depending on when we re-open the list goes on!