Welcome to the Stanko Ranch. We are delighted to share our lifestyle and history with you.
Ranches across the country and the state of Colorado have the same purpose: to take care of their land and water, their animals and their family while producing food and other by-products for the nation. Because the climate and topography (natural and man made features) vary from ranch to ranch, how each ranch does things varies also but with the same outcome: healthy land and water and well cared for livestock.
Our ranch’s location has a lot to do with how and why we do things here at the Stanko Ranch. We are located in Northwest Colorado, about 35 miles from Wyoming, 135 miles from Utah and 5 to 6 miles west of the Steamboat Springs Ski Area. The county we live in is called Routt County and the town where we get our mail is Steamboat Springs.
Colorado’s western slope is mostly the Colorado Plateau which runs from the Utah-Colorado Border to the foot of the mountain ranges which form the Rocky Mountain. The Colorado Plateau changes the further east and higher in altitude you travel. If you travel on US Highway 40 from Utah to Steamboat Springs, the landscape goes from high desert, scrub oak and sagebrush hills, along the Yampa River of the Yampa Valley, until you come to Mt. Werner (called Storm Peak by the old-timers), you follow the same path as the weather which affects our ranch and Steamboat Springs. Our ranch is at an elevation of 6,700 feet but the elevation at the top of Mt. Werner is about 10,600 feet. This sudden rise in altitude causes the clouds, as the old timers put it, “to get snagged on Storm Peak and stay there until they drop their snow or rain and get light enough to go over the top”. This means that we get lots of snow and other forms of moisture. Records show that snow has fallen at some point in history on just about every day of the year, including the Fourth of July. When ranching in snow means that we have to do things differently than our friends who ranch where there is not as much snow.
In the winter, snow pretty much dictates how ranchers in this area spend their time. This year, the Steamboat Ski Area has received more than 400 inches of snow but that is on Mt. Werner where the ski runs are. The amount of snow will increase because March is one of the snowiest months of the year. Here at the ranch, we've only gotten about between 250 and 300 inches of snow. This does not mean that if you go out to measure the snow depth you will measure that many inches. The amount of snow is measured by measuring the snow each time it falls and keeping a running total. The snow is compressed as it sits on the ground by the weight of the snow on top of it. Even with the snow compressed, it is too deep to move through so it must be packed down, shoveled, or plowed out of the way.
Storm Peak Lab.
Storm Peak Lab.