Grand Nordic Corner: Devil’s Thumb Ranch is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise |

Grand Nordic Corner: Devil’s Thumb Ranch is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise

Diana Lynn Rau
Staff Photo |

Since 1938, cowboys, poets, ranchers, city folk and Nordic skiers have escaped to Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Today the ranch offers a classy and upscale getaway with more than 6,000 acres of sweeping meadows and meandering creeks.

The Main Lodge offers cozy single rooms and multi-room suites, a cafe, pub/bistro, fitness center, theater, a six-sided, three-story fireplace constructed from stones gathered from a rockslide near the ranch, and even a miniature bowling alley.

Trail passes to use the extensive cross-country or snowshoe system are $20 per day. Grand Nordic members can bring a friend for free. Individual season passes are $180 until Dec. 14 and preseason family passes are $370. Special pricing applies for kids and seniors. Five-day individual punch cards and transferable 10-day punch cards are available. Grand Nordic member rates, local business passes and a joint pass with Snow Mountain Ranch are all available by calling the Adventure Center at 970-726-8231. Devil’s Thumb is a proud partner of the “One Planet, One Pass” program, with participating resorts in Spain, Germany, Austria and Canada. Season passholders get three days on Monarch Mountain. If you’ve never been to Monarch outside of Salida/Buena Vista, you owe it to yourself. Monarch has steep terrain, great powder, trees, terrain parks with no “‘tude,” but best of all ­­­— cheap tickets. Other benefits to season passholders include: Monday-Wednesday lodging at Bunkhouse starting at $75 per night, Monday-Wednesday stay at the Lodge for $125 night, two private ski lessons, and 15 percent discount on shop merchandise. Best of all Grand County residents qualify for a $125 Locals Season Pass by presenting a driver’s license.

The Ski Shop has the latest in clothes, cross-country ski equipment and other gear with lessons and rentals available including snowshoes, ice skates, ski jouring harnesses and leashes as well as sleds to trailer toddlers on the ski trails.

The tubing hill is free. Sleigh rides are available in winter and horseback riding year-round. And to end your day, relax in the hot tub or massage out the kinks at Ranch Creek Spa.

The National Ski Center for the Disabled has cross-country ski days every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Every Friday morning is Grand County Public School Kids Fun Day. During January and February, kids ages 3-10 enjoy free lessons Friday mornings. Every month there are skijoring clinics to learn to ski with your dog – equipment available. And ski, skate or snowshoe under the full moon each month and then warm up with a bonfire and free hot chocolate.

New this year and replacing the former Governor’s Cup Race is the Stagecoach Classic Point-to-Point Cross Country Race and Tour on Jan. 25, with 15km and 30km classic only options with a recreation-minded 15km option as well. 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 to Winter Park, where the course finishes.

Tommelfest is the season’s grand kickoff Dec. 14, complete with free lessons by University of Colorado Nordic team instructors featuring a Laser Biathlon clinic. Grand Nordic members additionally receive free equipment and trail pass if needed. For more formation call 970-726-8231 or visit

Diana Lynn Rau is the Grand Nordic President. She can be reached at 970-887-3095 or at

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