The Freedom to Cruise.


Who says you have to choose between downhill and cross-country skiing?

There’s more than one way to get outdoors and experience the wintry beauty of pure, rugged Colorado. Some step into the latest snowshoes. Others grab the handlebars of a fat-tire bike. Many saddle a horse. Some snuggle in the back of a sleigh. But the most popular way to experience the snow-covered terrain by far is by snapping your boots into a pair of skis.

But what kind of skis? Given that Devil’s Thumb Ranch is consistently ranked as one of the top cross-country ski resorts in North America, you might guess that we would only be proponents of cross-country skiing. Wrong! Our Nordic skiing guides both recognize – and espouse – the benefits of engaging in both cross-country and downhill skiing.

“Both Nordic and alpine skiing are great cardiovascular exercise,” says Marie-Ange Anderson, ski instructor at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. “Each engages the entire body working your core, back, chest, shoulders, arms, legs and glutes. But given the flatter terrain of Nordic skiing, you’ll naturally have to work a little harder than when you’re cruising downhill.”

“After a day of traversing Nordic trails, you’re definitely going to feel the burn,” says Anderson. “A day of downhill skiing – enjoying those relaxing lift rides up the mountain and the easy pull of gravity on the way down – is a nice break between your Nordic skiing days, yet still a complementary exercise.”

Participating in both types of skiing also allows vacationing families to strike the perfect balance of ‘we-time’ versus ‘me-time.’ “Here at Devil’s Thumb, you can easily make a ski day a family affair,” says resort General Manager Dan Abrashoff. “Cross-country skiing is an activity practically any age can do, plus we have child chariot sleds and skijoring rigs for rent, so you can pull your children along or your dogs can even help pull you.”

It’s only natural, however, to occasionally want to leave the group behind. “When a parent or teen has the need for speed,” says Abrashoff, “the slopes of Winter Park are just 10 miles down the road. (Award-winning slopes in fact! While Devil’s Thumb Ranch won the USA Today Best Cross-Country Ski Resort in North America, Winter Park won Best Ski Resort.) That’s the beauty of vacationing at Devil’s Thumb. Everyone can find their happy place – and happy pace.”

For information about booking cross-country or downhill ski passes with your lodging, call our Reservations Team at 970-726-7000.

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