Devil’s Thumb Ranch – Cross Country Skiing

Clare&Dennis at Devil's Thumb
Dan Happy at Devil's Thumb

On Saturday, Dennis & I woke up super early and drove to the Mammoth Car Pool lot in Morrison. It was going to be his first Cross Country ski, and my second. I was all too excited. Devil’s Thumb Ranch was waiting…

Every year, my old boss, Dan M. arranges a wonderful day cross country ski event. He is an avid x-country skier, and he’s always looking to spread the joy. The day traditionally starts out with home-made waffles made by Dan, YUMMY!!! Then everybody skiis. Finally, we come back and eat a shared potluck lunch.

Mike & Jeff at the Lodge-Lunchtime!

Last year, Dennis & I went snow-shoeing, because we wanted to give our new shoes a try, so we opted out of the ski. But, *this* year, we decided to go for it.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch is a very posh resort. It is the Vail of X-country…the structures are beautiful log cabins, the trails are too numerous to count, and the setting is breathtaking. It’s tucked away from the main road, so one really gets a sense of seclusion. What would it be like to rent a cabin for the night!?!

In addition to the main lodge, guest homes, ski rental, and mountain shop, they have a full spa. How plush!

This is reflected in their prices, for Dennis & I to rent ski’s & poles and pay for the trail fee it was about 67 bucks. It’s half of what we would pay to downhill ski, so in that aspect, it’s very affordable. BUT, compared to the skiing in Frisco, I paid 20 bucks for the package…it was 13 bucks cheaper. Now that I’ve analyzed the pricing, I want to make a point that there is really no way of comparing the two places…they really are so different.

I guess what I would say, is that if I have just half a day, and I wanted to bop up and back, then I’d go to Frisco. If I was planning on skiing all day, or maybe staying and visiting Winter Park, then I’d go back to Devil’s Thumb.

Mike & the Group at Devil's Thumb
Dennis at Devil's Thumb

Back to our adventure…when we arrived, it was snowing aggressively, and the flakes were big wet clumps. Very similar to the “Sierra Cement” I am most familiar with. The temperature was warm, it was just around 30 degrees. Visually, these conditions made for a stunning experience…but in terms of ski conditions, Dan M. and some of the more experienced skiiers were grumbling.

The snow was sticking to our skiis and the gliding feeling which I so love was very hard to achieve. Dan M. gave me the tip that if you move faster, it has a tendency not to stick. So, I did that for awhile, but I’m not as aerobically fit as he…so I only kept up with him for about 30 minutes.

Martia & Dan F. Working the Wet Snow

Martia Earning Every Stride in Sticky Snow Conditions

Dennis & I mostly skiied with Dan F. & his wife Marcia. They had a reasonable pace, and we enjoy their company. The nice thing about X-country is that you can chat for awhile, or not, it’s totally laid back. As we skiied, I noticed an absolute silence. The snow coming down in a blanket, and the animals were all tucked away.

We skiied for about 2.5 hours and then we headed back to the lodge for lunch. The snow let up for a little bit, but by the end of lunch it was going again. Dennis & I piled in the backseat of Dan F.’s Camry, and I chatted with Marcia while Dennis nodded off.

One nice thing about car-pooling is not having to navigate the slick wintery roads. Dan F. drove it like a champ, and we passed several SUV’s in ditches on the way home.

I got invited to go x-country skiing again in February, and I just can’t wait.

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