Ullr Fest is back for a week of snow celebration, with fat bikes, faux fur | SummitDaily.com

Ullr Fest is back for a week of snow celebration, with fat bikes, faux fur

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

Ullr, the Norse god of snow, seems pretty happy this year, and Breckenridge plans to keep it that way.

From Sunday through Saturday, Jan. 17, the 52nd annual Ullr Fest will be held to honor the snow spirit and the white gold Breckenridge hopes he continues to bring.

"Ullr Fest is rooted in tradition," said Rachel Zerowin, public relations manager for GoBreck. "It began with the founder of Breckenridge Ski Resort, more than 50 years ago, and it's a party that the local community has continued to celebrate and honor."

The weeklong event begins on Sunday with a free family ice skating party at the Steven C. West Ice Arena from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12. The festivities will continue with the crowning of the 2015 Ullr King and Queen, Chris and Jen Cawley, at the Breckenridge Nordic Center from 5 to 7 p.m.

“This goes back into our outdoor environment, another one of those things that our community is so passionate about. It’s great to see that tradition continuing.”

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Zerowin said the Cawley couple was selected as festival royalty this year because of their community involvement — both through volunteer efforts, attending and managing events throughout the county and beyond. They also are avid outdoor enthusiasts, she explained, and are always out enjoying downhill and cross-country skiing, among other snow-inspired activities.

"We have lived here for 20 years," said Jen Cawley, "and it's fun that there's still a really close local community that loves this local festival." She is on the board of the High Country Conservation Center, so is involved with the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 17, in the Riverwalk Center — a benefit for the Conservation Center and for the Continental Divide Land Trust.

"This goes back into our outdoor environment, another one of those things that our community is so passionate about," Zerowin said. "It's great to see that tradition continuing."

Ride on snow

Chris Cawley and his business partner, Jeff Westcott, of Maverick Sports Promotions in Breckenridge, are organizing the first ever Ullr Bike, a fat bike race at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, at the Gold Run Nordic Center on Clubhouse Drive in Breckenridge.

"It's no secret that fat bike interest is rapidly growing," Westcott said. "So we decided to offer a competitive event for this growing segment of the industry, and we felt that Ullr Fest was a perfect match for it."

The race offers five categories for participants: men, women, single-speed men, single-speed women and traditional (anyone on a mountain bike but not a fat bike).

The title sponsor for the race, Borealis Bikes, will be bringing 15 to 20 demo bikes, and Westcott said four other manufacturers are coming with bikes.

"The course is all on groomed Nordic trails and is a cloverleaf design," he said. "With four loops that come really close to the clubhouse, so the spectating will be excellent."

Zerowin said Maverick Sports always sets up great events, so the town is in for a race to remember.

"With the demos and the hot soup and the atmosphere, I think it's gonna be a great introduction to fat biking for people who may not be familiar with it," she said. "I think it's a perfect addition to Ullr Fest."

Westcott added that all fat bikers are welcome to roll down Main Street in the parade on Thursday, Jan. 15, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

snow much fun

Zerowin said the parade, along with the Ullr shotski event and bonfire, are considered by many to be main highlights of the festival. Last year, the Breckenridge Distillery shotski served 666 people, and was 973 feet long.

Registration for the shotski is on the day of — Thursday, Jan. 15, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center (bring your ID). Participation costs $5 as a donation to Breckenridge Rotary, and the event starts at 4 p.m.

The Breckenridge Distillery is still looking for old skis to make the 2015 Ullr Fest shotski longer than ever. Bring your old skis to the distillery hub at 1925 Airport Road, or give Litch Polich a call at (970) 418-4378.

Following the shotski celebration, more than 12,000 Ullr enthusiasts will fill Main Street Breckenridge for the Ullr Parade, followed by the town bonfire in the south gondola lot.

"The bonfire is another one of those things that is really rooted in tradition," Zerowin said. "It went away for a few years, and then it came back in 2012."

Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Jan. 13, the Ullympics include outdoor activities like the frying pan toss and a group ski race at Carter Park from 7 to 9 pm. It's a free event, but pre-registration is required — email events@gobreck.com.

Breck's Got Talent is back on Wednesday, Jan. 14, in a new location this year to accommodate the crowds. This is a free event, and the first 400 attendees can have a free Bud Light. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 6:30 p.m.

More entertainment comes to town for Comedy Night on Friday, Jan. 16, following the Ullr Bike event. Doors to the Riverwalk Center open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are available at the Breckenridge Welcome Center for $25, or $225 for a reserved 10-pack.

The week is sure to please Ullr and impress mountain visitors. To keep up the festival's fun and authentic feel, locals and ambitious tourists are encouraged wear a bedazzled Ullr helmet and faux fur clothing to all the events they attend.

For more information on Ullr Fest, visit http://www.ullrfest.com/events/ullr-fest.

Ullr Fest events

Sunday, Jan. 11

3:30-5:30 p.m. — Family ice skating party and kids’ Ullr helmet decorating, Steven C. West Ice Arena, free

Monday, Jan. 12

5-7 p.m. — Crowning of the Ullr King and Queen, Breckenridge Nordic Center, admission free, first Bud Light free, cash bar

Tuesday, Jan. 13

7-9 p.m. — Ullympics, Carter Park, free, preregistration required (email events@gobreck.com)

Wednesday, Jan. 14

6:30 p.m. — Breck’s Got Talent, Riverwalk Center, admission free with no tickets required, free Bud Light for the first 400 attendees. For more information or to register, contact johnny@alwaysmountaintime.com

Thursday, Jan. 15

4 p.m. — Ullr Shot Ski, day-of registration is $5 donation at Riverwalk Center

4:30 p.m. — Ullr Fest Parade and Bonfire, Main Street, parade registration is free (email events@gobreck.com), bonfire follows immediately after parade in South Gondola Lot

Friday, Jan. 16

5 p.m. — Ullr Bike, presented by Borealis Bikes, Gold Run Nordic Center, $30 entry fee includes beer, soup and giveaways. For category, prizes, registration details and more, visit mavsports.com

8 p.m. — Comedy night, Riverwalk Center, advance tickets available at the Breckenridge Welcome Center for $25 or $225 for a reserved 10-pack

Saturday, Jan. 17

6 p.m. — Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Riverwalk Center, tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door (www.highcountryconservation.org)

============= Ullr’s Nightcap

Courtesy of Modis Breckenridge, which showcases Spring 44 vodka.

1 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce Branca Menta

1/2 ounce coffee liqueur

2 dashes chocolate bitters (for example, Fee Brothers, Scrappy’s or The Bitter Truth)

Heavy cream

Candy cane for garnish