The Devil don't do downhill: Nordic season not over yet

On Monday, I decided to get some cross-country practice before the white stuff goes the way of the Wicked Witch of the West. I picked a beautiful blue-sky day to work some of the rust off at Devil's Thumb Ranch, northeast of Winter Park.

The rust was a little thicker than first anticipated, but I worked most of it off by the three-quarters mark of my loop. I only covered a few of the resort's 100 kilometers of miles, but my thighs definitely took the brunt of it.

An $18 ski pass gets you all the cross-country you can handle from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (I didn't make it to noon, but felt I got my money's worth.) DTR's Nordic season ends on April 10, with a couple of cool special events slated for March 27: an all-day BBQ followed by a full moon ski.

The Ranch's room rates aren't exactly on the low end, but I checked out the newly restored Bunkhouse, a couple miles down the road from the where rooms are south of $100 instead of north of $200. Longtime DTR aficionados will recognize the building: It's served as the main lodge under previous ownership; the current owners moved it and fixed it up all purdy, opening it up at the end of 2009.

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Eric Peterson