Experience first-hand wintertime wonders
By Patte Smith; courtesy photo
The holidays are over, and it is time to slow down and decompress. Remember though, January and February are filled with plenty of winter fun opportunities, so take a deep breath, bundle up and head out to experience some amazing events.
Golden’s UllrGrass Beer Festival (pronounced “ULL-er”) is a three-day festival held in Golden that is named for the Norse God of Winter. Dress like a Viking and revel in live music, sample Colorado craft beers and ciders and stop by local food trucks for a bite to eat. Evening shows are held in Parfet Park under heated tents. Sunday is family day with dance performances, a costume parade and activities for kids. The festival runs from January 24 through 26. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.ullrgrass.com.
The Estes Park Winter Festival is held January 18 and 19 and is filled with fun things to do for kids and adults. Enjoy live music from local artists, an officially sanctioned chili cook-off, bounce houses and obstacle courses, face painting, free beer samples from local brewers, and food vendors. The festival is held at the Estes Park Events Complex. Visit www.estesparkeventscomplex.com for more information.
Ice sculptures are amazing works of art, especially viewed in beautiful mountain settings. These masterpieces are created by extraordinary artists. From January 20 through 29, the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpting Championship in Breckenridge is a stunning display of artisans from around the world carving intricate sculptures out of 20-ton blocks of snow. For more information, visit www.gobreck.com/event/international-snow-sculpture-championships/.
In the small town of Cripple Creek, artists skillfully use chainsaws to carve elaborate ice sculptures at the Cripple Creek Ice Festival held February 8 through 16. The town’s Main Street is turned into an ice maze where visitors can wander through a winter wonderland. There is an ice slide for kids and an Ice & Art Fest at the Heritage Center. For more information, visit www.visitcripplecreek.com.
Cycling is a huge sport and pastime in Colorado. For a new experience and fantastic time check out the Borealis Fat Bike World Championships in the charming town of Crested Butte. Fat bike cyclists enter events and ride down snow packed mountains at incredible speeds for the joy of it. From January 24 through 26, spectators and cyclists celebrate amazing feats of daring. For more information, visit crestedbuttemountainbike.com.
Who in Colorado does not like Steamboat Springs? The town has grown over time, and many fun family events are held in the town and on the ski slopes. For five days, February 5 through 9, the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival features ski-jumping competitions, cross-country obstacle races, dog sled pulls, a tubing party, snow sculptures and a night extravaganza with fireworks. For more information and tickets, visit www.steamboatchamber.com/.
Worth an overnight trip is the 25th Annual Ouray Ice Festival held from January 23 through 26 in the beautiful setting of the Ice-Climbing Capital of the World. Some of the world’s preeminent ice climbers attend this international competition. Spectators watch in awe as climbers scale frozen waterfalls. For more information, visit ourayicepark.com/ouray-ice-festival.