Stella worked half a day on Christmas, and once she had closed her computer, we headed to Winter Park for dinner, and then onto Grand Lake for the weekend. Since closing up Base Camp for the season in October, Stella and I both have been itching to get back into the mountains once the snow had begun falling. With COVID; however, some nordic centers now require “reservations” in order to obtain a ski pass. This slight inconvenience was the only thing standing between us and jumping onto the trails, but with some advance prep work online, we had our reservation for Devil’s Thumb Ranch. So far, Colorado has not received an abundance of snow. So when we obtained our ski passes, we were delighted to learn that all of the trails were accessible (with the exception of one).
We started the day with a loop around the Left Field Trail since it is a great beginning trail to get back into the groove of cross country skiing. Afterward, headed to the Rancher Bob Trail before coming back around on Ram’s Curl Trail. We then crossed the road, and snuck across to the Blue Extra Trail, before making our way down to the Meadow Trail as we headed towards Yager Loop Trail.
Whilst out on the Yager Loop, things turned a little interesting as a pair of skate skiers sped down a hill towards Stella; they were goofing around and not paying attention to the trail ahead of them. With Stella taking action to avoid being wiped off the planet, she quickly jumped off the trail and immediately sank into the powdery abyss. Fortunately, they stopped and helped her stand back up. The snow was so deep that Stella would’ve had to take both of her skis off if they had not of assisted her. And when Stella had stood back up, it had taken some effort to get out of the hole and back onto the trail.
After finishing Yager Loop, we jumped onto the Broken Barn and Stage Route Trails, before gliding along the Radcliff Trail, which then took us back to the Tahoe at the end of the day. Devil’s Thumb Ranch is one of Stella’s favorite places to cross country ski in Colorado. After all, there is a reason why Devil’s Thumb is consistently rates as one of the best nordic centers in the country. Perhaps on our next visit, we will explore a few of the more difficult trails (i.e. steep hills), such as the Nor’ Way and Lactic Grande.