Photo: Fat Tire Bikes await happy riders outside Zach’s Mercantile at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort. Photo: Casey Malon
Nestled in the shadow of the Continental Divide near Tabernash, Devil’s Thumb Ranch has over 6000 acres of sweeping meadows and meandering creeks. Devil’s Thumb Ranch is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Since 1938, cowboys and poets and ranchers and city folk and Nordic skiers have escaped to Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Today the Ranch offers a classy and upscale get-away that continues to make its mark as one of Colorado’s most environmentally friendly destinations. Last year, Conde Nast Traveler magazine recognized the Resort among its Readers’ Choice awards as a top 10 resort in Colorado.
With nearly 120km of trails nestled in the pristine and private Ranch Creek valley at the base of the Continental Divide, it is a premier Nordic center for Colorado and North American cross country skiing. Whether you enjoy skate, classic or snowshoeing; there are exhilarating experiences waiting to happen at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort. The Nordic Center and ski trails are open daily during ski season. Dogs on leashes are welcome on their dog-friendly trails.
The Ski Shop has the latest in clothes, XC ski equipment and other gear with lessons and rentals available including snowshoes, ice skates, skijoring harnesses and leashes as well as sleds to trailer toddlers on the ski trails and Fatbiking! Fat Tire Snow Bikes utilize oversized front and rear tires with aggressive treads for riding on packed snow and can be rented at the Nordic Center for use on limited trails including fat-tire specific trails.
The Bryan Mountain Ski Patrol at Devil’s Thumb received the “National Nordic Ski Patrol of the Year” award in 2018-19 from the National Ski Patrol. BMNSP members aid with both in-area and out of area terrain. They protect nearly 70 miles of skiable track and 110 miles of pure back-country terrain where they assist the National Forest Service to keep outdoor enthusiasts safe in all outdoor activities. It is a fabulous award – great recognition for Devil’s Thumb Ranch.
The National Ski Center for the Disabled has XC Ski days every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Most Saturday afternoons at 2:30 pm from January through mid-March, the Devil’s Thumb Junior Nordic Team hopes to instill a passion for the sport in our young skiers within a supportive and fun team environment. For a special touch, sign up for one of the Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve celebrations, four Classic skiing clinics for Women only December and January, a Star Party Dec 22, Skijoring Clinic to learn to ski with your dog – equipment available – Dec 30, various Nordic Ski demo days, wax clinic, Women’s Ski Sip and Spa Feb 10, and more! Details are available on the website: devilsthumbranch.com.
The Tommelfest is the season’s grand kickoff on December 7, complete with free lessons with high quality coaching. Watch the Viking Hat Competition or the keg toss, have a grog and enjoy other Nordic activities. The Tommelfest buffet is available at Heck’s Tavern from noon to 3pm. Don’t miss the renowned Holiday Market in the Broad Axe Barn from 10 am – 4 pm. Nordic Lessons are free for everyone who signs up. Grand Nordic members additionally receive free Nordic equipment and trail pass, if needed for the lessons, but get your member chit first at the Grand Nordic table in the Day Lodge. For more information or to reserve your free lesson, call (970) 726-8231 or visit devilsthumbranch.com for online registration. Remember, spots for lessons fill up quickly!
Returning this year is the 7th Annual Stagecoach Classic Point-to-Point Cross Country Race and Tour on January 25, 2020 with 15km and 30km classic-only options as well as a recreation-minded 15km tour. The race and route pay homage to the area’s Nordic history and the former Idlewild Nordic Center, with the course starting at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, traversing along the Idlewild Trail System that connects Tabernash, Fraser and Winter Park, where the course finishes with a beer garden, DJ and food vendors. Register online at active.com.