You know what caps off a great day of skiing? My guess is that everybody has an equally acceptable answer to that question; drinks with friends, hot chocolate with the kids, a much needed dinner out to a quirky local restaurant, etc. Depending on the day and the company, I would agree with all of those, plus probably quite a few more ideas that you’re thinking of right now. However, there is one thing in particular that tends to be an unexpected highlight; a local festival. Hear me out. It’s not something that people typically plan their ski day or vacation around, but for those lucky enough to be in town during a local festival, it typically ends up being one of the most memorable parts of the trip. You will get to experience something that is unique, fun, and probably a little off-the-wall.
With that in mind, if you happen to be anywhere near Breckenridge between 1/11/15 and 1/17/15 I highly suggest that you check out Ullr Fest. The Ullr (pronounced Oool-er) Fest delivers all of the eccentricities you would associate with a mountain town, plus, almost everybody is wearing some sort of Viking helmet. Intrigued yet? You should be! Entering its 52nd year, this heritage event has deep roots within the ski and snowboard community in Breckenridge.
This festival pays homage to Ullr, the Norse God of winter* with 7 days of festivities. Each day brings a new event to various locations throughout the town, so it is a really great way to see Breckenridge in a way that you’ve never seen before! Some of the unique events you can check out include the Ullympics, where you will witness the top frying pan tossers and group skiers from around the valley vie for gold in their respective sports. Ullr Fest also has a talent show, ice skating party, bonfire, comedy night, plus a lot more. If you can make it to every event, consider yourself lucky; but if you can only check out one, you have to see the parade.
The parade, held on Thursday evening (1/15) is definitely the crown jewel of the entire festival. There are usually around 50 floats, which the locals seem intent on escalating the creativity and craziness of each year. Forget about Paper Mache and flowers, and get ready for skiers in Viking helmets being pulled behind trucks; and that’s just the standard float! This parade is fun for everybody, locals and visitors alike and if you’ve never seen it before, let me give you a heads-up; be prepared to smile, laugh, and enjoy the spectacle.
Ullr Fest is a true showcase of Breckenridge and the people that make the town what it is, so if you can get to the festival this year, you won’t be disappointed. Check out the schedule, and see what each day brings, then stop in and see for yourself why local festivals are one of the best ways to cap off a great day of skiing or riding.
*While Ullr’s official place and title in Norse mythology are (surprisingly) still hotly contested among academic circles and avid skiers, the Ullr Fest in Breckenridge praises him as the God of Winter. Considering how much fun the event is, what’s the point in getting bogged down in the technicalities of Norse mythology?