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Ice, snow sculpture take over Colorado towns

December 28, 2016 Updated: December 28, 2016 at 9:33 pm
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Our snowy state delivers some spectacular winter art.

And perhaps the sight of stunning ice and snow sculptures will distract you from the freezing cold temperatures. It's worth a shot, anyway.

OURAY ICE FESTIVAL

Jan. 19-22, Ouray, ourayicepark.com/ouray-ice-festival

Professional and novice ice climbers have flocked to the mecca of Ouray for more than two decades for its ice festival. The 22nd annual event features more than 100 clinics for every level of climber, as well as the latest in ice tools, apparel and gear from leading outdoor retailers. Even if you're not a climber, there's plenty of spectating to be had Saturday and Sunday when the athletes shimmy up the ice for the big prize. Other events include music, food and dance parties.

CRIPPLE CREEK ICE FESTIVAL

Feb. 11-19, Cripple Creek, visitcripple creek.com/events/cripple-creek-ice- festival

The tiny town of Cripple Creek attracts hordes of visitors - more than 90,000, to be exact - to its annual ice festival. Fortunately, that's spread out over two weeks in February. Ice carvers from across the country will whittle their giant blocks of ice into all sorts of magical creations related to this year's theme - "Safari in Ice." Interactive sculptures, including an ice maze, ice slide and ice martini bar, will be available for visitors as well as food, drink and retail vendors, bands and activities for kids.

RIO FRIO ICE FEST

Jan. 27-29, Alamosa, riofrioice.com

The Alamosa ice festival offers two things many other such events do not: the Rio Frio 5K on Ice and the Fremont Haunt Race, based on successful coffin races in other towns (hello, Manitou Springs' Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade). Runner's World featured the Saturday morning race due to its unusual course - it's run entirely on the frozen Rio Grande River. Stick around on Sunday for the debut of the Haunt Race - two teams will also race on the river. Each team will consist of four runners and two folks playing dead bodies. In between all the exercise will be live ice sculpting on Main Street, a polar plunge and more.

BUDWEISER INTERNATIONAL SNOW SCULPTURE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Jan. 24-28 sculpting, Jan. 28-Feb. 5 viewing week, Breckenridge, gobreck.com/events/budweiser-international- snow-sculpture-championships

Teams of sculptors from around the world invade Breckenridge every year to coax eye-catching sculptures from 12-foot-tall, 20-ton blocks of snow. Sculpting takes place over five days and results will be on display around the Riverwalk Center through Feb. 5. Visitors can vote for their favorite.

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