Devil’s Thumb is the largest Nordic center in the Rocky Mountains with 100km of trails. My mom had her knee replaced last summer so alpine skiing isn’t an option and we wanted to get out of the house last week when my parents were visiting. So, we got out my parents’ 20 year old cross country skis and took a short drive over to Devil’s Thumb on a gorgeous bluebird day.
I rented equipment from a guy who said he grew up alpine skiing in Vermont but explained that cross country skiing was actually the first “skiing” sport and beat alpine by about 500 years. Renting was cheap – maybe $15 and equipment seemed pretty nice to me. And the best part is it felt we had the place to ourselves. He said it’s only “busy” on weekends but busy to them is like April 30th at the resort (hint: resort closes April 18th).
We had lunch at a picnic table overlooking the trails (brought it with us) and then got started. We went slowly but soon got the hang of getting in the rutts (I’m sure there’s a more proper name but that’s what we called them) made by the custom snowplow that grooms the trails and cuts in 2 rutts so you can steady yourselves. We skied for about 2 hours and it was just beautiful. Stayed on the Meadow Trail to Wapiti then Broken Barn and back on Ranch Walk. All flat, but over bridges, down a few small little hills, gorgeous scenery and a nice workout. Ten minutes into it, we wished we were as smart as the guy who passed us wearing shorts and a t-shirt. It was HOT. And my dad and I forgot face sunscreen so we looked silly for a few days afterwards. But, other than that, it was really a wonderful day.
If you need an alternative to downhill skiing for the young or the old, or just want to take a break and enjoy the peaceful serenity of Colorado in the wintertime, head over to Devil’s Thumb Ranch and find out what “classic” vs “skate” skiing is. Plus, it’s cheap. Adults are $18 a day and kids 12 and under and the grandparents are only $8 a day. Got little ones? They even have chariots so you can pull them along with you for $20. Definitely wear shorts and a t-shirt if you’re going to pull that off.