Each employee of Marble Mountain Ranch will have an outlined job description that carries an associated dress code and equipment list. The following notes, equipment lists and expanded dress standards will help you prepare for a successful season working with your team here at California’s Marble Mountain Guest Ranch.
In general, remember that you should present well to an audience of mature, educated, and affluent adults in a mixed company of generational family members. You will be in the company of some of society’s best, as they travel with their spouses, children and grandparents. Enjoy yourself, and share your enthusiasm and talents with guests who may well become friends and professional connections you can carry forward in your personal lives. Our guests will be curious about your personal story, so let them know how much you love what you do and what brought you to the ranch.
Ranch Wardrobe for all staff (wranglers, river guides, house keeping, kitchen and maintenance staff)
Western attire should be worn around the ranch when in public view. This means western shirts, jeans, cowboy belt, cowboy hat, and an optional bandana or wild rag. The more “cowboy” you can dress, the better you will match the theme of the ranch. That really cool T-shirt from the Bob Marley concert you attended from back in-the-day should be saved for your day-off when guests have left the ranch (Saturday around noon till Monday at about 2:00).
On the topic of schedules, make sure you have a watch (or a smart phone with clock) with you. You will need to keep your guest groups moving promptly between activities without arriving late to the following scheduled event. The entire ranch schedule can be displaced if you carelessly return late with your guests from an event that you are guiding.
All staff should consider bringing swimsuits, as you may find yourself in your time off at the river, or at the pool. Wranglers and housekeeping staff might want to also join river trips as occasions allow. Again, dress modestly and in a conservative fashion that does not detract from the main-stream family guest ranch that we are.
You will be sleeping on a twin sized bed provided by us, but you need to bring your own bedding and linens, specifically sheets, blankets, a pillow, and towels. During the course of your season with us you will be responsible for laundering your own linens and clothing during your time-off work. You do not need to bring laundry soap, since you may use our commercial washing machines and soaps.
Housing is provided as a part of your work compensation. You likely will be sharing a bedroom with another staff member of the same gender in one of our staff cottages. We invest significant energy into creating comfortable housing for staff, and we expect an equal investment from you in keeping your living quarters clean. We will be asking all staff to sign our housing contract which essentially acknowledges that you are hired “at will”, that housing is only provided as part of your work compensation, that housing ends when employment ends, and that you agree to keep your quarters clean and leave them undamaged at the end of your work season.
All of your meals are also provided during the course of your employment. You will eat the same upscale cuisine that we prepare for our guests and you will dine with, and among our guests. As much as possible you should plan on dining with a different guest party at each meal and not always isolating yourselves in a corner with your work team or only with your favorite guests. The better you connect with and serve our guests, the better your tips will be and the more relationship doors you will open. The dress code for meals is the same as for out on the ranch proper. Some of our guests will be dressed for the river when they show up at the lodge for lunch, but we need all of our staff to make sure they are wearing a shirt and shoes whenever they are in the dining room.
On the topic of tips, do not hound guests during the week, or drop hints about tips in the course of your conversations. Ranch management instructs our guests as to our tipping policy during the course of the booking process and we will reiterate tipping policies at the end of the week. We will make blank tip envelopes available for guests prior to check-out and encourage them to write suggestions, thank-you notes, and comments on the envelopes. Tips are collected and pooled, then divided equally among all staff based on the hours worked during the course of that week. A full time housekeeping staff will get the same tip portion as a full time wrangler. A half time employee earns a half tip portion, and so-on. Our observations on tipping are that tips can vary dramatically from almost nothing, to an amount equal to or greater than your weekly wage. When the ranch team works well together and puts on a memorable show, we usually also get a memorable tip.
The nearest large store is a 2.5 hour drive away so you should bring personal toiletry items and meds to last the summer. Common personal needs can be picked up at our local market (expensive) or brought back along with our weekly supply runs (not as expensive). All meals are provided for you but if you have some favorite snack or supplement, consider that in you packing and preparations.
If you play a musical instrument (guitar, harmonica, fiddle, banjo, etc.) we encourage you to bring it along for campfire nights.
If you have your own horse, and are close enough to trailer it to the ranch, you might ask us about the prospect of adding it to the string as a wrangler horse. However, we will still require you to spend time on ranch horses needing remediation. You may not bring your dog or other pet, so schedule alternate care for your animals while you are here with us.
Gear list for wrangling staff
- Personal knife – either a folding pocket-knife or a 3-5 inch fixed blade knife you can carry on your belt. You do not need a 14″-18″ bowie knife (although Doug thinks that they are pretty cool)!
- Personal riding helmet – We require all of our guests to wear a helmet, and the wranglers set the example.
- Personal pommel bag to carry your ranch radio, sunglasses, water bottle, etc. on the trail. You will be rotating horses frequently between rides, so saddle bags can work but they take more time to move between horses and saddles.
- Klean Canteen or equivalent water bottle for use on the trail, river, or around the ranch. You will have access to our soda fountain and the drink cooler, but we want you to minimize the consumption of bottled waters and canned drinks in an effort to reduce costs / environmental impacts. Beginning in 2016 we are also providing a souvenir drink container to our guests upon arrival, so that they too can follow our lead and join us in going green.
- Sun block, mosquito repellent, chapstick
- Sunglasses with retainer
- Comfortable cowboy “working” boots. You may need to walk the trails at times while wrangling so bring boots that are good in the saddle as well as on the trail. Dress boots for the social events are nice, but optional.
- A quality sports bra can be helpful for female wranglers.
River Guide Gear
All river guides need to dress and groom in a way that is modest and does not encumber your capacity to execute a river rescue, to swim rapids or to run over slippery moss covered rocks. Jewelry should be minimized and body piercings should be removed while guiding. We have seen wedding rings lost, nose rings ripped out and ear-rings pulled out during flipped raft events and other emergency scenarios.
Proper dress for river guides includes a pair of river shorts (lined or with under-wear), secure river shoes (I suggest closed toe Tevas or Chaco sandals, but you may make your personal choice here) and an optional sun shirt. We do not have a company policy that requires river guides to wear a shirt while guiding, but you might consider the health ramifications of intense exposure to the sun. Most tenured guides prefer to wear a long-sleeve sun shirt for UV protection as well as for abrasion protection. Females should guide in a one piece swim suit with a pair of river shorts to protect your butt from boat rash or with a two piece suit / shorts combo if the top is protective and modest. If you need to purchase any of the required river gear, you might contact Doug and look at placing an order through Northwest River Supplies. We get a substantial guides / outfitter discount and we can help you gear-up at a significant savings.
- River clothing as described above
- Sunglasses with retainer
- Hat for sun protection
- Personal life jacket
- River knife
- 1-2 carabiners and a small rescue pulley
- Optional flip-line belt
- Optional personal throw bag (we provide 1/boat)
- Optional personal guide paddle
- 10. Whistle attached to your PFD or in it’s pocket
- Chapstick / sunscreen
- River guides will also need their own Klean-canteen, or water bottle to carry on the river.
- Some guides like to carry a personal pelican box or dry bag to carry their miscellaneous river gear in, as well as to provide some water-proof storage space for guest’s cameras, glasses, or perhaps a guest’s epi-pen.
We welcome you to the Marble Mountain Ranch team and look forward to sharing an exciting and rewarding summer with you.
Doug and Heidi Cole