In recent years, a rather unexpected pastime has been making its way into the mainstream: ax throwing. This unique sport has gained popularity across the globe, drawing participants and spectators alike into its captivating world. But what exactly is ax throwing, and why has it become such a hit? Discover the origins, rules, and appeal of this exciting sport, and where to find it in Colorado!
Header photo courtesy YMCA of the Rockies.
The Origins of Ax Throwing
Ax throwing is not a new phenomenon; in fact, its roots can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Europe. Axes were essential tools for survival, and their use in hunting and warfare meant that individuals needed to master the skill of throwing them accurately. This practical necessity evolved into a form of sport and competition, especially among the Vikings and other medieval warriors.
However, it wasn’t until the 21st century that ax throwing underwent a revival as a recreational activity. This resurgence can be attributed to ax throwing facilities and leagues that have sprung up worldwide, transforming a once utilitarian skill into an entertaining and social sport. This gain in popularity has been led in part by mountain communities in Colorado, but can even be found in urban areas.
The Basics of Ax Throwing
Ax throwing involves participants hurling a small ax or hatchet at a wooden target, aiming to score points by hitting specific areas. The standard target is usually made of wooden boards with a bullseye and concentric circles, similar to a dartboard. Each player takes turns throwing their ax at the target, and the objective is to accumulate points and outscore your opponent.
While the specific rules may vary depending on the venue or league, there are some common elements in the game of ax throwing:
- Distance: Players typically stand at a predetermined distance from the target, often around 12 to 15 feet.
- Scoring: The target is divided into scoring zones, with the bullseye being the highest-scoring area. Players aim to hit these zones to accumulate points. Bullseyes are often worth the most points, followed by the inner ring, middle ring, and outer ring.
- Number of Throws: Players usually take turns throwing a set number of axes, such as five or ten throws per round.
- Safety Measures: Safety is paramount in ax throwing. Venues and leagues provide safety instructions, including how to handle the ax, the correct throwing technique, and the use of safety barriers to protect participants and spectators.
- Winning: The player with the highest total score at the end of the designated rounds wins the game or round.
The Appeal of Ax Throwing
- Unique and Exciting: Ax throwing offers a unique and exhilarating experience that’s unlike most other sports or activities. The thrill of releasing an ax and watching it spin through the air before hitting the target is both exciting and satisfying.
- Social and Group Activity: Ax throwing has a social aspect that makes it perfect for group outings, team-building events, and parties. Friends and colleagues can bond over friendly competition, making it an ideal choice for team-building activities.
- Stress Relief: Throwing an ax can be a great way to release pent-up stress and frustration in a safe and controlled environment. The act of focusing on hitting the target can be surprisingly meditative.
- Skill Development: Ax throwing requires a combination of skill, precision, and concentration. As participants improve their technique, they find satisfaction in mastering a challenging skill.
Where to Find Ax Throwing in Colorado
Mountain Region Ax Throwing
Wood & Steel Axe Company
1295 Westhaven Dr, Vail, CO 81657 ~ (970) 445-8155
Ax throwing has a permanent home in Vail. Located in the Cascade Village in Vail Colorado. The Wood & Steel Axe Company’s indoor location is open Wednesday-Saturday at 4pm and is over 3,000 square feet. It features four ax bays with eight targets. Other entertainment includes cornhole, foosball and other fun games like giant Jenga. They offer a selection of beers and canned cocktails. Food can be brought in from the Grand Hyatt across the street or anywhere the guest chooses.
Mobile options are also available.
YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center
2515 Tunnel Rd, Estes Park, CO 80511 ~ (970) 586-3341
For $12 per person, guests ages 6 and older can try their hand at ax throwing during the summer and fall seasons. Learn how to safely throw a two-pound hatchet at a target and get it to stick. Great experience for both first time and veteran ax throwers. The range is located in a perfect wooded area with plenty of shade from towering Ponderosa Pines.
Insider Tip: While YMCA of the Rockies doesn’t have ax throwing at its Snow Mountain Ranch Location, there are lots of other really fun activities at this beautiful mountain getaway.
AX’D BABE had a location in Carbondale at one point. But the business is now fully remote. They can regularly be found at many bars and restaurants throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
Front Range Ax Throwing
There are a surprising number of indoor ax throwing locations acriss the front range of Colorado. May of these cater to groups and are also bars.
Axe Whooping Denver
437 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 ~ (303) 293-8677
Axe Whooping & Rage Room Bar offers indoor ax throwing arena and skilled trainers. They specialize in an arsenal that’s full of stuff to throw. They also offer rage rooms that are perfect to ward off your stress by wrecking stuff to then feel better afterwards. There’s also a Boulder location.
Bad Axe Throwing
37 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80218 ~ (844) 818-0999
Bad Axe Throwing Denver Downtown is over 5,000 square feet with 16 targets in an indoor space. It is near the Fillmore and Ogden Theatre. The team of axe coaches has a passion for the sport, which is clear by the reviews. Pricing starts at $19.99 for 45 minutes for students and goes up from there. There’s also a Denver North location.
Class Axe Throwing & Bar
3400 E 52nd Ave, Denver, CO 80216 ~ (720) 943-8839
Class Axe Throwing boasts that “you and your best mates will spend one hour becoming intimate with a 1.5lb piece of whirling wood and metal as you learn, practice and then finally square off toe to toe in a group tournament that will result in the crowning of an Axe Throwing Champion”. Class Axe Throwing sessions are run by trained experts who will show you how to safely handle an axe and chuck it with accuracy while giving you tips on how to capture that illustrious Bullseye.
Colorado Lumberjack Festivals
Some of the Colorado Mountain ax throwing location got their start at lumberjack festivals. These festivals bring together lumberjacks and lumberjills from far and wide to showcase their skills in a series of thrilling competitions, including axe throwing, log rolling, and chainsaw carving.
The Lumberjack Festival in Littleton, Colorado, is a an annual fall event that captures the essence of the state’s lumberjack traditions. With thrilling competitions, live music, and delicious local food offerings, it creates an atmosphere of excitement and community spirit.
Man of the Cliff held in Avon, Colorado offers attendees the opportunity to sport their beloved flannel while engaging in thrilling activities like axe throwing, keg tossing, and speed chopping. Amidst the excitement, savor craft brews, indulge in local food truck delights, and immerse yourself in the laid-back mountain town atmosphere.
Ax throwing is a sport that has evolved from ancient necessity to modern entertainment, captivating individuals of all ages and backgrounds. With its roots firmly planted in history, this thrilling activity continues to grow in popularity, offering a unique blend of skill, camaraderie, and excitement. Whether you’re looking for a new hobby, a fun night out with friends, or a novel way to blow off steam, ax throwing may just be the sharp-edged adventure you’ve been seeking. So, step up to the line, take aim, and let the axes fly in this exhilarating and unforgettable experience.