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Devil’s Thumb Ranch:

Get the Inside Scoop with Janet Conneely

Janet Conneely

Current Age: 66

Years Skiing: 12+

Home Trails: Black Ten

#1 Ski Accessory: iPod

We connected with Janet Conneely to get the insider scoop on Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Janet, an avid Nordic enthusiast, picked up the thrill of Nordic skiing 12 years ago after retirement! Post-pandemic, she cranked up her community involvement and joined the Devil's Thumb Nordic Center staff. Janet gave us the lowdown to share with you, here is what we found out:

Overview—The Best Cross Country Ski Resort in North America

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Nordic Center, located 75 miles west of Denver in Tabernash, CO, offers a premier cross-country skiing experience. Spanning 6,500 acres, it features over 120 km of trails, snowshoeing, fat biking, sleigh rides, and skijoring. Recognized as the Best Cross-Country Ski Resort in North America by USA Today, the center also provides eco-friendly accommodations and amenities like private lessons, rentals, and a range of winter activities. Guests can enjoy modern comforts while immersing in the area’s rich history and natural beauty.

Quick Facts

  • 120km of Trails
  • Trail Passes
    • $30/Adult
    • $20/Seniors (70+)
    • $20/Youth 6-12
    • $10/Kids 5 & Under
  • Offering Group and Private Lessons ranging from $50-$60 Per Person

The Vibe at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

With 120 kilometers of impeccably groomed trails set against the stunning Rockies, it's an eco-friendly haven where you can ski with peace of mind. High altitude means great snow and a little zip in your glide. After a day on the trails, unwind with friendly smiles, top-notch dining, and a little spa pampering. It’s not just skiing—it’s an experience wrapped in mountain luxury and hearty hospitality!

With diverse trails catering to every level of expertise, there is something for everyone! If you're just starting out, glide your way from the Meadow to the Sawmill Loop—it's a scenic and forgiving introduction to the sport. For those who've already cut their teeth on the snow and are looking for a bit more thrill, the Black Ten trail is a must-try, offering exhilarating challenges that are perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers.

Trail Highlights

  • Best Short Loop — Janet’s a big fan of the Meadow/Broken Barn loop at Devil's Thumb because of its convenient location and the trail's laid-back, cruising vibe. These gentle paths provide a relaxing glide yet still pack enough charm to delight even the most seasoned skiers.
  • Best Long Loop — Mix up Blue Extra, Disco, Waxwing, and Lactic Grande, and you won’t be disappointed. Combine them all, and you’re in for a real treat. And don’t forget the old "Black Ten" – it's a classic for a reason.

Essential Packing Tips

  • Must-Bring Items — Many overlook the power of sunscreen in the winter time, but even on cloudy days, the snow can reflect harsh UV rays at our high altitude, making skin protection a must 100% of the time. As for your outfit, layering up is key. It keeps you warm and dry, and if you start to heat up, you can simply peel off a layer and tuck it away. Several light layers work better than one bulky one.
  • Favorite Nordic Accessory — Packing an iPod for a Nordic ski adventure is like having a secret superpower! There’s nothing quite like a killer playlist to keep your spirits high and your legs moving, turning each stride into a dance move. Plus, when the going gets tough, those upbeat jams distract you from the cold and the burn, making the miles fly by.

Must Know Trail Etiquette

Being courteous on the trails isn't just good manners—it's the secret sauce that keeps the ski vibes high and the glides smooth. First up, always stick to the right when you're cruising along, just like you would on a road. This lets faster skiers pass by without a game of snow tag. And speaking of passing, give a friendly shout or a quick "On your left!" to let others know you're zooming through.

Wildlife & Nature Tips

Remember to take a moment to soak in the surroundings. The tranquility of the trails offers the perfect backdrop to appreciate Colorado's stunning natural beauty. If you pause, it's amazing what you can hear and see.

The Nordic Community

Everyone shares a common passion for the outdoors while cherishing the physical aspects of the sport. Janet usually skis alone because she likes early mornings, but she loves the camaraderie and sense of connection of being part of our Nordic community.

For more details, visit Devils Thumb Ranch.

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