Once upon a time, the Norse winter god, Ullr (OOOL-er), was traveling around the Northern Hemisphere depositing snow, when he happened to find himself in the resort ski town of Breckenridge. Locals were pleased to receive Ullr’s gift of snow, and decided to celebrate each year (not coincidentally, during a period known to be a little slow where tourism is concerned) to encourage even more snow on their scenic town and ski area.
Early versions of the festival (then known as “Ullr Dag”, which translates to “Ullr Day” for those of you who don’t happen to speak Norwegian) were pretty wild, and included a huge bonfire of burning skis, and prodigious amounts of alcohol. Things got so exciting that the event was canceled for a while during the early 1970s.
However, it was resurrected by the local Chamber of Commerce in 1979. The recent versions are still a big bash, but the bonfire has been toned down to a “campfire” because it wasn’t very “environmentally healthy.” Still, the local bars and restaurants enjoy offering games and specials to draw in the crowds, and there are numerous fun and sometimes a bit wild events all week.
There are snowshoe and Nordic skiing events, the crowning of the King and Queen of Ullr, and a free ice skating party at an indoor arena. But the fun really gets going at the Ullympics, when athletes (and we use that word lightly) participate in strange and hilarious events.
Finally, don’t miss the parade of floats down Main Street. Helmets with large horns are everywhere, as are ski decorations, people dressed in costumes as snowflakes, snow bunnies, and who knows what else. The winning float for 2004 even included a mini-snow slope complete with a brave skier.
If you want an excuse to party, this winter celebration will certainly accommodate you!
For more information, contact:
Breckenridge Resort Chamber
P.O. Box 1909
Breckenridge, CO 80424