History of Ullr
Ullr, the god of snow from Norse mythology, is the son of the grain goddess Sif and stepson of Thor, the god of thunder. Ullr was a skilled archer, hunter, skater and skier in his time, and was known to be handsome and always ready for battle. There is an old Norse legend that claims Ullr would ski the entire world, coating it completely as he went, and was the only god who could ski.
Ullr eventually traveled to the charming little town of Breckenridge, Colorado to settle down. Each year, Ullr blesses the mountains of Breckenridge with the best snow in the world, and the town repays him with a festival in his honor. Ullr Fest in Breckenridge started back in 1963 and is celebrating the 56th festival this January. It all started when a few locals heard that Ullr was in town and wanted to show appreciation for his snowy gift. They went to the Town Council and appealed for an annual “Ullr Dag”. The day was a smashing success, with locals honoring Ullr with gold coins, skiing and raucous parties.
Each year, Ullr Dag got better and better, with new traditions forming annually such as the Ullr Ball, Ullr Bonfire, Ullr Parade, Snow Sculpting, the Ullr King and Queen, Ullympics and the Ullr Dating Game, and eventually becoming a week long Ullr Festival. While some of these traditions have phased out to make room for others, some, such as the Snow Sculpting, have become events all their own. The International Snow Sculpture Championships now takes place a little over a week after Ullr Fest concludes.
Breckenridge Ullr Fest 2018
Ullr Fest takes place Wednesday, January 10 – Saturday, January 13 in beautiful Breckenridge, CO. While the days are all stacked with great events and activities, there are a few key happenings you won’t want to miss.
Wednesday, January 10th
Crowning of the Ullr King & Queen, and Breck’s Got Talent
6:30pm | Riverwalk Center
Kick off Ullr Fest with this tradition that has been around since almost the beginning. Two Breck locals will be chosen as 2018’s Ullr King and Queen based on their contributions in the community. After the ceremony, stick around for Breck’s Got Talent, the town-wide talent show where talented folk of all ages get to step on the stage and compete for cash prizes! The first 200 spectators to the Riverwalk will get FREE beer, so get there early! Doors open at 6:00pm.
Thursday, January 11th
Ullr Shot Ski
4:00pm | Main Street, Breckenridge
Be part of a record-breaking shotski! Each year, the town of Breckenridge sets out to break the World’s Longest Shot Ski record. Last year, 1,234 people participated in the shotski, then Park City decided to step up and make it a competition in October 2017 when they broke the record. Join us on Main Street as we try to regain the World Record title! Participation is $10/person (21+ only), and the Breckenridge Distillery will be serving up shots down over 1,250 feet of Breckenridge’s Main Street. All proceeds benefit the Breckenridge Mountain Rotary, so get registered today!
4:30pm | Main Street, Breckenridge
Hundreds of people gather around Main Street each year for the Ullr Fest parade. You may think you’ve seen it all, but you haven’t even come close until you spectate the Breckenridge Ullr Fest parade. Local businesses and residents join together in creating floats that lean towards the ridiculous end of the spectrum. Keep an eye out for people skiing down snowy hills on the back of a trailer, couches being pulled behind vehicles, Viking helmets and tons of great costumes. You favorite mountain shuttle, Peak 1 Express, will be joining forces with the AVA Rafting & Zipline team for a fantastic float and some amazing prizes!
5:00pm – 7:00pm | South Gondola Parking Lot
Right after the parade, head on over to the South Gondola lot for the annual bonfire! Every local’s Christmas tree, as well as some skis, snowboards and other gear, will be offered up in the creation of this huge bonfire as we all ask Ullr for a great, snowy year! There will be free entertainment hosted by Red Bull, so wear your coats and comfy shoes; this is one dance party you can’t miss.
Friday, January 12th
Ullr Ice Plunge
2:00pm – 4:00pm | Maggie Pond
Ullr Fest wouldn’t be complete without a hop into the frozen depths of Maggie Pond. Maggie Pond is located at the base of Peak 9 and is the host of the annual Ullr Ice Plunge. Prove your endurance, compete in the Best Plunge Costume and enjoy music, food and drinks. Winner of the Best Costume will receive a decorated Ullr helmet. Also, don’t worry about freezing after the plunge; thanks to Affordable Mountain Hot Tubs, you can hop in a hot tub right after you get out of the water!
Saturday, January 13th
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Doors at 6:00pm, Show at 7:00pm | Riverwalk Center
Ready to really feel the wanderlust? Head to the Riverwalk Center for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. This thrilling film festival will expose you to the adrenaline of climbing the highest peaks and traveling across the world with a variety of adventure films from all over. Explore some of the issues and movements at the front of mind for environmental activists, filmmakers and celebrities. The Continental Divide Land Trust and HC3 partnered to bring this environmentally-focused film festival to you!
There’s much more going on around Breckenridge for Ullr Fest, these are just a few of our favorite events for the festival! For the full schedule, head over to GoBreck. If you need a ride from the airport for Ullr Fest, or looking for in-town shuttle options, give Peak 1 Express a call at 855-GO-PEAK1 (855-467-3251). Happy Ullr and Pray for Snow!