The Ullr Fest began in Breckenridge, Colorado, in the ’60s, as a way to celebrate the beginning of winter, the ski season, and hope for a plentiful snowy winter. Many believe local ski instructors started it at the resort to bring more tourism to the town, but it also gave the town a way to celebrate being one of Colorado’s biggest ski towns. Before Breckenridge was known as a ski town and ski resort, it was just a mining town. After the gold rush ended, the town was able to put itself on the map by offering access to recreational skiing.
After the Fest was canceled last year, like many other things, due to COVID, it’s making a return. While it appeared that the Fest would be continuing without the Bonfire this year, hard work from the Breckenridge Police Department, the Red White, and Blue Fire Department, as well as the Town’s Events Team, the Ullr Fest is making a comeback with the Bonfire! The revival of the Ullr Fest is just in time this year, as many resorts in Colorado, including Breckenridge, are still waiting for the first big snow of the season.
The element of fire has always been a part of the Ullr fest. However, during the newest years of the festival, instead of having a giant bonfire, it was a smaller “eternal flame.” This won’t be the first time the Fest has been revived. As the popularity of the Fest grew, it ended up being canceled as the celebration got too rowdy. After an 11 year hiatus, the festival returned in the ’70s, when it became known for a giant bonfire where locals would toss their old skis in as an offering to the Norse God, Ullr, for an abundantly snowy winter. However, as the Fest continued, dried-up Christmas Trees were burned instead of skis making it safer and helping locals recycle their trees since the Fest usually took place in early January. The following days after the Bonfire include many other winter festivities such as ice skating and a drop in curling competition, a Ullr-themed parade, as well as the chance to take part in the unofficial world’s longest shot ski!
Ullr Fest Schedule
Thursday, Dec 9: Ullr Fest King and Queen will be crowned at 3:00 pm. At 4:00 pm, an attempt at the unofficial world’s longest shot ski, followed by the Ullr Fest Parade. Finally, the Bonfire will occur in Breckenridge’s East Sawmill parking lot from 5:30-7:00 pm.
Friday, Dec 10: Drop-in curling comp will be held from 2-6 at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena
Saturday, Dec 11: 11:00 am to 1:45 pm, the Ullr Ice Skating Party will be held at the exact location, followed by the Holiday Classic Ice Skating Show.
Sunday, Dec 12: Festivities wrap up for the weekend with an “Art of Flight” screening from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.