Devils Thumb Resort, Colorado University and Grand Nordic combine forces each year to host the Annual Tommelfest Ski Festival. A tradition that dates back more than a decade according to Diana Lynn Rau, President of Grand Nordic.”The festival is a kick off for ski season with a focus on historic nordic traditions.”  A crowd favorite is a display of strength in the traditional keg toss while putting down pints of grog.  The activities varies year to year but you will always see the traditional attire of Celtic Nords donning horned hats, kilts and fury vests and boots.

Last weekend’s weather was gorgeous, but the lack of snow coverage made some of the traditional nordic ski events impossible, so the team went to plan B.  The improvised plan consisted of dry land training exercises and movements to enhance the on snow experience.  You might think that approach would be boring, but, combined with a little grog, fun was had by all.

The dry land training was led by Bruce Cranmer, head nordic coach at Colorado University Boulder and staff from CU, Devil’s Thumb Ranch and Grand Nordic instructors.  The festival offered classes for beginner and intermediate classic and skate lessons for adults and kids.  About 75 people who didn’t spend much time on skis learned how much fun dry land training could be.

The plan B for the festival hosted a selection of backup activities and events for friends and families. Archery, broomball, free lessons, keg tossing, live music by the Andy Straus trio and an assortment of other events in and around Devils Thumb Ranch Resort kept everyone busy.

The busy Devil’s Thumb Ranch Holiday Market in the Broad Axe Barn extended into the adjacent Timber House building. The Market offered a variety of local artisan crafts, jewelry, pottery, wood and artwork along with clothing, and special products and services which all made great gift ideas! The vendors included artist Karen Vance, who was taking 2018 commissions, and, the girls from the local PEO had a variety of handcrafted products on hand for shoppers in every price range.

If you missed this year’s event, be sure to include it your plans for next winter. While the snow level was disappointing, they still managed to find ways to make this event worthwhile.