Ullr Fest Rocks Breckenridge: What You Need to know

Seasons: Winter/Spring

Breckenridge’s Ullr Fest brings a parade and a party that even a New Orleans girl can vouch for. Think of this signature winter festival as a week-long snow dance. Read on for some local advice, skip to the Ullr Fest highlights or check out a detailed Ullr Fest schedule.

“I’m not sure I’m saying this right … ”

Thanks, Colin Bane via Westword, for this beautifully simple guideline to pronouncing Ullr: it rhymes with ruler. Ullr is the Norse god of snow.

Know your Ullr Fest roots

Breckenridge’s story begins in 1859 with gold-seeking prospectors. We’ll fast-forward to the 1960s, when pioneers came in the form of skiers whose Norwegian roots run deep. Trygve Berge and Sigurd Rockne – the same pair who founded what was to become Breckenridge Ski Resort – also started Ullr Fest, then known as Ullr Dag (or Ullr Day in Norwegian).

The story says it’s all about paying homage to Ullr, both thanking him for Breckenridge’s bountiful snowfall and honoring him in hopes of more snow. That’s true, but we’ve also got the hunch that a handful of snowed-in locals wanted an excuse to party.

Today, Breckenridge Distillery libations have taken the place of Aquavit. But the themes that started it all – snow and Vikings and Breckenridge – continue in the form of Bedazzled Ullr helmets, fake fur clothing, a world record shot ski and a parade that celebrates life in a ski town.

Live like the locals on parade day

The parade at Ullr Fest in Breckenridge, Colorado
Parade float of locals in their Ullr Fest Viking hats.

In New Orleans, the major parades are exclusive. In Breckenridge, we’ll take anyone willing to costume up. Gold underwear and body paint? Perfect. Fake fur bikini? You’re in.

We understand that not everyone has the time to plan and build a float. After all, it requires evenings spent building and barbecuing, plus many preceding discussions on theme and the integrity of materials such as papier-mâché and duct tape.

For those of you not building a float, we suggest starting with the world record shot ski attempt. Later, mix with the community — all along Main Street, viewers wait for the parade in local watering holes. Don’t take it from us, check out fan photos from 2013 and 2014, or see below for highlights from the 2015 parade (which includes The Weather Channel and a little Jim Cantore).

The crowd at the Breckenridge Distillery World's Longest Shot Ski
Ullr Fest currently holds the unofficial world record for longest shot ski.

Schedule highlights: Breckenridge Ullr Fest, Jan. 11-14, 2017

For 2017, Breckenridge packs the most popular Ullr events into a few days of fun. Visit GoBreck.com for the detailed schedule. Highlights include:

Ullr Ice Plunge

A group in a hot tub during the Breckenridge Ullr Fest ice plunge
Group cheers in the icy Maggie Pond Ice Plunge.


More than 200 brave souls took the icy dip into Maggie Pond in 2016–head out in your favorite swim costume or stop by to check out the action. Don’t worry, there’s a hot tub for warming up after you jump.

Breck’s Got Talent 
Join local radio station, Always Mountain Time, for a town-wide talent show. Expect to laugh, and meet the new Ullr King and Queen as they are crowned before the show.

Ullr Shot Ski/Parade/Bonfire

Sledding down Main Street at Ullr Fest in Breckenridge
Women sledding down the street in the Ullr Fest parade.

If you only make it to one event, this is it. See why. More than 12,000 Ullr enthusiasts fill the streets for the Ullr Parade. Past floats have included jumps, hot tubs on wheels and life-size snow globes. Don’t miss the 2017 Ullr Fest Shot Ski attempt just before the parade. Keep an eye on the Breckenridge Distillery Facebook page for shot ski updates, and bring your used skis to the Breckenridge Distillery–we need the armor to reclaim our world record!

Bonfire during Ullr Fest in Breckenridge, Colorado
Ullr Fest giant bonfire.

The Ullr Bonfire rolls immediately following the parade. Christmas trees are welcome; join us at the South Gondola Parking Lot.

Ullr Bike
These fat-tire bikes are perfect for riding all winter long. Sign up for the race or just go for a test ride to see how well they handle in snow. Keep an eye on mavsports.com for details.

If You Go

Get the complete Ullr Fest schedule and the year-long lineup of signature events in Breckenridge, Colorado at GoBreck.com.

 


2016 Ullr Fest Highlights — Photos

Breckenridge knows how to party. This season, let’s continue the tradition and bring even more snow to the slopes of Breckenridge.

By Breck Editorial

The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.

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