Nothing cooler than Ullr
Son of the grain goddess Sif and stepson of the thunder god Thor, Ullr reigned as the ultimate archer, hunter, skier and skater in Ýdalir — as well as being a handsome and great warrior to boot. It is said that Ullr left the stars as his trails, streaking across the sky on his skis, blanketing the earth in snow each winter. Believe what you will, but those in Breckenridge will say Ullr had a fondness for the town, settling down in the mountains here and blessing the land with the finest, fluffiest snow outside of Asgard. Local C.J. Mueller, a former Ullr king and world-record speed skier, describes Ullr fest as “our own national holiday … the parade/bonfire is one of the wildest, craziest, funnest events in the ski world. Ullr Fest was originally called Ullr Dag. When it became more than a one-day event, it started to be called Ullr Fest. I like to think of Thursday (parade day) as Ullr Dag.
“It has only gotten bigger and better over the years. I’m very happy that the bonfire has been returned to town on parade day after being out of town for a few years. I miss the old days of bringing the dirt bike into the living room in January to get it running for the parade. Some of the best years were when Breckenridge hosted the World Cup Freestyle events during Ullr Fest and all the athletes walked in the parade … and the years when Jim Rianoshek would decorate his old car in a manner that would always be referred to as politically incorrect.”
If you like skiing — and you probably do if you live here — you would be wise to take part in the time-honored tradition of Ullr Fest. If not for the fun of worshipping old Norse gods, then for the parties and viking costumes. From Jan. 9-12, head to Main Street in Breckenridge for the 56th year of mythological fun.
All parades and sometimes entire festivals need a leader or two. At 6 p.m., head over to the Riverwalk Center to see crowns bestowed upon the 2019 king and queen of Ullr Fest. Stay there, because at 6:30 local radio station Always Mountain Time will be hosting a town-wide talent show. If you’ve suddenly realized you have some flaming juggling skills to show off, email email@example.com to register. To sweeten the deal, the first 200 people in the door get a free beer.
One of the most anticipated events, the famed shot ski provided by Breckenridge Distillery will be lining Main Street with a bottoms up at 4 p.m. Last year 1,266 people drank to Ullr, connected by 422 skis spanning 2,128.3 feet. The shot ski this year is sold out, but you can add your name to the waiting list and cross your whiskey-loving fingers.
Once you’re feeling warm and fuzzy, stick around outside a bit longer for the Ullr Parade at 4:30. Festive floats will be rolling down the street for a chance at a cash prize. First place gets $500, second place gets $300 and third place gets $200. Everyone else gets to have fun, so there’s really no losing. If you’ve got an idea and a truck, there’s still time left to register at GoBreck.com.
It may be getting a bit chilly now, but luckily there’s a bonfire from 5-7. Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring their Christmas tree to donate to the flames.
At Maggie Pond at Main Street Station you will find the toughest Ullr lovers. At 2 p.m., anyone is welcome to register to plunge into the freezing waters. A heated changing room and hot tub await you if you dare accept the challenge. Don’t just think board shorts and bikinis when you prepare for the dive though, as there will be a prize for best costume. There will also be music, food and drinks at the event.
From 4-6, the National Cocktail Throwdown finale will take place at Breckenridge Distillery. Nine of the best bartenders in the nation compete to make the best bourbon punch. Guests will be greeted with a welcome drink while the competitors are brewing up their own. Drinks will be served along with food from the restaurant. General admission is $35 for the main event. VIP admission is $70, which includes a meet and greet, distillery tour and access to the Dark Arts Lounge for food and drink beforehand. Buy tickets at Bit.ly/2C7nxcK.
At 8 p.m. head over for another night at the Riverwalk Center where comedians Elliot Woolsey and Phil Palisoul will knock your wool-knit socks off. Tickets are $25 and benefit the Carriage House Early Learning Center.
Saturday is for the kids at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena where an ice skating and helmet decorating party will be going on from 1:15-3 p.m.
At 3, muster any strength you have left from the last few days and gear up to compete in the Ullr Fat Tire Bike Race. Registration is $30 for adults and $20 for those 17 and under. Sign up at BikeReg.com.
At 6, the festivities will be closing out with the Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the Riverwalk Center. The Continental Divide Land Trust has partnered with the High Country Conservation Center to bring adventure films from around the world that “inform, inspire solutions and create positive perspectives to restore the earth and human communities.” Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. They can be purchased at HighCountryConservation.org.
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