Rau: Devil’s Thumb Ranch: A complete Nordic resort
Grand Nordic Corner
Nestled in the shadow of the Continental Divide near Tabernash, Devil’s Thumb Ranch has over 6,000 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.
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. The cabins range in size from one bedroom lofts to spacious four bedroom cabins with full kitchens and two baths and many are dog-friendly.
The original Elk Lodge at Devil’s Thumb Ranch was moved down the road a couple of miles and has been repurposed as the bunkhouse designed for the budget-conscious travelers including nine rooms with private bath, four rooms with a shared bath, and two small common areas. Both Heck’s Tavern (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the Ranch House Restaurant (dinner only) are open daily and have received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence among other awards.
The High Lonesome Lodge, Barn & Pavilion opened in early winter 2014. Nestled in the hillside overlooking the Ranch, the new 50,000 square foot Lodge includes 31 guest rooms, four guest suites, wine grotto, and meeting and event space for groups of up to 350 people. The centerpiece of the Lodge is the High Lonesome Barn — a Civil War-era structure moved piece by piece from Ohio, with a wall of windows providing unparalleled views of the Continental Divide and Ranch Creek Valley.
Trail passes to use the extensive cross country or snowshoe system are $20 per day. Grand Nordic members can bring a friend for free and buy individual season passes before Tommelfest for $175. Individual season passes were $180 early season but are now $200 if purchased before Tommelfest. Check online for family passes which are priced according to how many children are included. Special pricing applies for kids and seniors.
Five day individual punch cards and transferable 10 day punch cards are available. Local business passes and a joint pass with Snow Mountain Ranch are all available by calling the Activities Center at 970-726-8231. Benefits to Devils Thumb Season Pass holders include: Monday- Wednesday Lodging at Bunkhouse starting at $75/night, Monday- Wednesday stay at the Lodge for $125/night, Two Private Ski Lessons, and 15pct discount on shop merchandise. Best of all – Grand County residents ONLY qualify for a $150 Locals Season Pass by presenting your driver’s license prior to the Tommelfest.
The Ski Shop has the latest in clothes, XC ski equipment and other gear with lessons and rentals available including snowshoes, ice skates, ski joring 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. The tubing hill and ice rink are both $6 for guests not staying at the Ranch and $6 for a rental. Sleigh rides are available in winter and horseback riding year-round. In summer fly fishing, hiking, zip lining and mountain biking are available for everyone. And to end your day, relax in the hot tub or massage out the kinks at Ranch Creek Spa.
NSCD ski days
The National Sports Center for the Disabled has XC Ski days every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and every Friday morning is Grand County Public School Kids Fun Day. From early January to early March, kids 3-12 enjoy free lessons Friday mornings with only a one-time $25 fee includes lessons, trail passes, equipment and hot chocolate. Every month there are Skijoring Clinics to learn to ski with your dog – equipment available.
Returning this year is the Stagecoach Classic Point-to-Point Cross Country Race and Tour on Jan. 24, 2015 with 15km and 30km classic only options with a recreation-minded 15km tour 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 that connects Tabernash, Fraser and Winter Park, where the course finishes. A portion of the race and tour proceeds will be donated to the Trout Unlimited Campaign to protect and preserve the Fraser River.
The Tommelfest is the season’s grand kickoff Dec. 13 complete with free lessons with high quality coaching, free demos from Boulder Nordic Sport, horse tubing and sleigh ride available first come basis with an air rifle biathlon relay midday. Grand Nordic members additionally receive free Nordic equipment and trail pass if needed for the lessons. Watch the Viking Hat Competition or the keg toss, have grog and beer and BBQ, take advantage of retail specials and win prizes. For more information or to reserve your free lesson call 970-726-8231 or visitwww.devilsthumbranch.com. Call early as spots for lessons fill up quickly! Come out for the monthly hands on Happy Hour Wax Clinics and Ski, Spa and Sip Women’s Day on Jan. 31.
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