Axe throwing trend hits the mark
Article and photos by Chris Michlewicz
A little-known pastime that started in Canadian backyards and Renaissance festivals has made its way to the Denver area in a big way.
It’s hard not to notice the rise of axe throwing establishments in the region. There are at least eight businesses dedicated to the leisurely sport in which people wind up and let a sharp object fly at a large wooden board. It seems odd for adults to engage in a practice that children are often warned against, but it can be an incredibly addicting hobby and a fun centerpiece for a group activity, from birthday and bachelorette parties to corporate team-building events to a night out with friends or family.
The center of each wooden target is made of cottonwood, a soft wood that doesn’t split as quickly as others. There’s a traditional bullseye, but also “kill shot” targets on the top right and top left of each board. Much like darts, there are a number of games that can be played using the target.
Even kids can get involved. Youth leagues are popping up all over the place, and teens that never even considered throwing an axe indoors are now encouraged to do so with tremendous accuracy. Anna Weinberg (16) got into the sport two years ago when her dad, Mike, opened Primal Axe House near Santa Fe Drive and Hampden Avenue, in the River Point shopping center. She admits to being apprehensive at first, but was a fast learner.
“I think people think it’s a lot harder than it is, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy and fun,” said Weinberg, who typically hurls a 30-inch, double-bit axe on a 15-foot lane.
Primal Axe House, a safety-minded, family-friendly location with an offering of food and alcohol all from local companies, hosts regional tournaments for the World Axe Throwing League, adult and youth leagues and open-throwing opportunities. The owners turned office doors from the previous occupant into tabletops and used beetle kill wood throughout. On a recent Thursday night, every lane was occupied and the main throwing room was abuzz with excitement.
“People get to interact and compete and hang out with each other and play games,” Mike Weinberg said. “The fun factor is unparalleled.”
Other establishments take a streetscape approach, adorning their places with chain link fences and graffiti, and some don’t serve alcohol.