The History Behind Ullr
Ullr was so well skilled in the use of the bow and could go so fast on his skis that in these arts no one could best him. Each winter he covered the earth with snow to protect it from harm. It has been said that Ullr enjoyed the cold weather and loved traveling throughout the land, gliding along on his great skis, for pleasure and hunting.
It is also said that Ullr was such a great skier, he would streak across the sky leaving the brilliant stars as his trails (they obviously had some fine powder days). Though very skilled, Ullr guarded his knowledge closely and refused to show the other gods how to ski. Luckily for us, he let the secret out of the bag, and we will all be soon celebrating his glory. Next time you are trying to bash through some wind crust or plunge head first into fresh waist deep powder, be sure to invoke his name and remember - ULLR RULES!
One of Ullr’s travels found him in Breckenridge, Colorado. Breckenridge seemed a likely place for Ullr to settle down, since he wasn’t looking to return to Norway any time soon. Ullr fit right in and took to the mountains. And every year, Ullr blesses Breckenridge with some of the finest snow in the world.
To repay Ullr for his gift of snow, we here in Breckenridge hold a festival to honor the god of winter. We call this little celebration Ullr Fest. This fantastic party all started back in 1963 when a few of the locals heard that Ullr was in town. Well, they wanted to let him know how much Breck appreciated Ullr’s gift of snow, so they went to the Town Council and lobbied to start…‘Ullr Dag’ (Ullr Day in English). The first few years of the event were hailed with locals honoring Ullr with gold coins, parties, skiing, and oh – don’t forget the parties.
As the years went on, traditions were formed such as the Ullr Ball, the Ullr Bonfire, the Ullr Parade, Snow Sculpting, Ullr King and Queen, the Ullympics and the Ullr Dating Game. Some traditions have stayed, such as snow sculpting, which has become its own event called the International Snow Sculpture Championships. Other traditions have gone by the wayside.
From fake currency to burning old skis in the bonfire, Ullr Fest has always been about fun and partying…and Breckenridge knows how to hold a “killer party, dude.” Just ask any of the locals.
Ullr Fest 2013 continues throughout the week with games, parties and more.