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Pray for snow

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

If there’s any year to convert to paganism, this is it – if not for the local economy, then for the sake of our poor skis and boards, which continue to get scarred from those nasty rocks sticking out of the thin snow.

OK, so you don’t really have to become a pagan to enjoy the seven days of Ullr Fest. You don’t even have to be a hedonist (though it helps). All you have to do is show up in Breck for the party – any party. Just pick one: skating, bonfire, dating, zany outdoor competitions, comedy, a chili cook-off or a parade.

Ullr Fest kicks off Sunday with an ice skating party at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, where you can find Ullr himself … or at least a mountain man that fits the bill.

Breckenridge local John Forsberg has been playing the part of the Norse god of snow for years, and the skating party is one of his favorite events. It draws families and friends, and plenty of kids – some of whom aren’t sure what to make of the hairy man with a horned helmet.

In fact, one kid from Nebraska skated up to Forsberg, who was dressed in full garb, and said, “Mister, you look like a bad buffalo.” Other kids just run to mom and hide, Forsberg said.

Monday night, the King and Queen of Ullr receive their crowns at the Ullr Nordic Party, which ends with a short cross-country ski or snowshoe out to a bonfire.

Tuesday, KSMT calls all fearless bachelors and bachelorettes to show their sexy side in an Ullr version of the 1970s “The Dating Game.”

For the past five years, Forsberg has participated in the dating game, but the first year was the most memorable, when, dressed as Ullr, he somehow got the horns of his helmet stuck in the ceiling of Cecilia’s while dancing on the tables with a bunch of women.

“It was a little bit dethroning,” he said. But that didn’t stop him. “The dating game is designed to create embarrassing moments.”

It works just like the television game: panels of singles answer questions, designed to illicit racy responses.

“Some of the answers can be … a little sexually loaded,” Forsberg said. “It will get some things to come out that are unexpected.”

Hump Day (which, oddly, or perhaps appropriately enough, is the day after the dating game) features the Ullympics: athleticism like you’ve never seen.

Co-ed teams of four compete in crazy events, such as the frying pan toss, in which contestants fling an iron pan at a bulls-eye (but look out – opponents can knock your pan right off the mark) and group ski racing (in which four people strap into customized skis at the same time, then shuffle across a tennis court in deep snow).

“Another team is going in the opposite direction,” Sally Croker, events director explained. “Eventually they meet, and anything goes then.”

This year, Ullr has something new up his sleeve to replace the retro relay, but he’s not telling.

“The day-glo has faded, and it’s time to look for new stuff,” Croker said. “Show up and find out (what it is).”

It’s the best “sports” competition ever, because there’s no training involved. Just come with a “great sense of humor and at least one person who is completely uncoordinated,” Croker said.

Winners garner prizes, and a party follows the event.

Thursday, the strangest parade you may ever see in a small town overtakes Main Street. In honor of Ullr Fest, women wear bikinis, guys careen down the street on trash can lids, pulled by Huskies, skiers fly off jumps and people crowd into hot tubs mounted on flatbeds.

And, just in case Ullr remains stubborn and doesn’t shower us with abundant snow this week, there are always laughs and some burnin’ good food. The festivities end with Ullr Comedy Night on Friday and a Chilly Chili Cook-off on Saturday. A silent auction at the comedy show benefits the Carriage House, and the Mountain Rotary Club provides samples of chili from local and world-famous chili chefs, as well as live entertainment and fun for the entire family.

The Breckenridge Resort Chamber is producing the 47th annual Ullr Fest. Call (877) 593-5260 or visit http://www.gobreck.com for more information.


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