The holidays are over, but Colorado’s winter celebrations continue. At least, they’re scheduled to continue.
Here we spotlight some classic happenings on the calendar, but with the spread of COVID-19, be sure to check for the latest updates and guidelines.
Ouray Ice Festival
When: Jan. 20-23
Price: Free, nightly events and clinics have admission fees; ourayicepark.com/ouray-ice-festival
It’s the grand celebration of Ouray Ice Park, the gorge of frozen curtains and daggers situated in walking distance of perhaps Colorado’s most scenic town. The fest brings together international climbers for competition, but you don’t have to grab your axes and crampons to partake. The weekend is full of clinics, expos, happy hours, film screenings and evening parties.
Winter X Games
When: Jan. 21-23
Price: Free; xgames.com
It’s one thing to watch the annual show on ESPN. It’s another thing to be there in person. While the best and brightest on skis and snowboards take to the air, fans have taken to the sidelines and joined the interactive fun around the ski resort and downtown Aspen.
Rio Frio Ice Fest
When: Jan. 28-30
Price: $30 for race entry; riofrioice.com
A 5K run is the centerpiece of this event that’s been bringing attention to the often-overlooked San Luis Valley. Runners are set to take off at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at Cole Park. That day ends with a “fire and ice bonfire,” one of several gatherings throughout the weekend, including also a bike ride and polar plunge.
When: Jan. 28-30
Where: Parfet Park in Golden
Price: Day passes starting at $20, weekend passes $50-$85; ullrgrass.com
This three-day festival honors the Norse god of winter with fine brews and tunes. Patrons bundle up in Viking regalia drift between stages of bluegrass and jam bands while sampling dozens of craft beers and ciders.
When: Jan. 26-30
Price: Details TBA; snowdown.org
Born as “a little cabin fever reliever,” this tradition in southwest Colorado spans 43 years. It’s grown to count 100 activities over five days. The Parade of Lights is an annual fixture, but the theme changes. This year’s: magical and mystical, with an invitation to come as your favorite fantasy character for such shenanigans as a bloody mary contest and chili cook-off.
International Snow Sculpture Championships
When: Jan. 24-Feb. 2
Where: Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge
Price: Free; gobreck.com
A dozen teams from around the world transform 20-ton blocks of ice into giant pieces of art. Admirers can watch the process starting Jan. 24. Sculpting continues through all hours of the day until Jan. 28, when judging commences and culminates with an evening award ceremony. Jan. 28-Feb. 2 is viewing week, with the “grand illumination” happening each night.
High Plains Snow Goose Festival
When: Feb. 3-6
Price: Presentations and tours $15-40; highplainssnowgoose.com
Come February, it’s not just snow turning the southeastern prairie white. It’s waves of migrating geese. Throughout the festival, experts lead seminars and field trips to the region’s reservoirs and canyonlands.
Steamboat Winter Carnival
When: Feb. 9-13
Where: Steamboat Ski Resort
Price: Details TBA; https://bit.ly/ 3mDhPWD
The host Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, considered one of the largest and oldest clubs of its kind in America, calls this the longest-going festival of its kind west of the Mississippi. Into its 109th year, the plan for the foray again includes a parade, ski jumping, ski joring, and the perennial Lighted Man, with a battery-powered suit weighing 70 pounds. And, of course, the fireworks show, which seems to get bigger every year.
Wine and Chocolate Festival
When: Noon-5 p.m., Feb. 12
Where: Estes Park Event Center
Price: Tickets $40; estesparkeventscomplex.com
It’s five hours of decadence for you and your friends, or perhaps you and your special someone. Backdropped by the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, how about wine, cheese, sweets and live music for your next romantic getaway? Tickets include 10 chocolate samplings, complimentary pours, a wine glass and a bag for toting favorite bottles home.
Frozen Dead Guy Days
When: March 18-20
Price: Day passes $25; 303-506-1048, frozendeadguydays.com
Heated tents for concerts. Food vendors. Beers and cocktails. Coffin racing, polar plunging, frozen turkey bowling. It’s all on the lineup for one of Colorado’s most curious occasions, happening in the little mountain town west of Boulder.
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