Will Frozen Dead Guy Days stay true to its roots as it moves to the ritzy Stanley Hotel in Estes Park? | SummitDaily.com

Will Frozen Dead Guy Days stay true to its roots as it moves to the ritzy Stanley Hotel in Estes Park?

As the festival starts its new life this weekend, will Visit Estes Park’s mission to 'professionalize it' improve it or ruin it?

Tracy Ross
The Colorado Sun
Bradley Banta, a maintenance technician and contractor, shows the Tuff Shed storage unit where the body of Bredo Morstoel has been kept, cryopreserved, since the mid-1990s in Nederland. Morstoel’s corpse is in a sleeping bag inside a metal travel chest inside an insulated wooden dry box. Every two weeks, Banta and other “assistants” fill the sarcophagus with hundreds of pounds of dry ice, estimating the coffin’s internal temperature to remain colder than minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun via Report for America

In its prime, Frozen Dead Guy Days was a spectacle of hard-partying costume wearing and macabre events, and was the pride of Nederland, a mountain town west of Boulder with a population of 1,500. 

But those days are over for the cold-weather party that started the third weekend of March 2002 and grew up around a corpse wrapped in a sleeping bag and stored in a styrofoam-lined sarcophagus filled with dry ice in a Tuff Shed behind a half-constructed castle built to withstand fire, earthquake and other natural disasters. 

In December 2022, the wealthy hotelier John Cullen, who owns the Stanley Hotel, bought the three-day festival for $250,000. And on Friday, the party, which has been featured in newspapers across the globe, on major television networks like CBS and NBC and on BBC Travel was officially reborn in Estes Park.

If the above paragraphs have your head spinning, you’re not alone. Much in this story sounds too strange to be true, but it is, and it’s causing heartache as well as celebration as some in Nederland mourn the loss of their festival and others in Estes Park prepare for a Frozen Dead Guys Day rebirth. The Lazarus moment started with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Mayor Wendy Koenig. 

But in order to understand what’s at stake, you need to know the strange story of how Frozen Dead Guy Days began, the even stranger one of where its going and how the guy at the center of it all — Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, the body lying in repose in the Tuff Shed overlooking Nederland — may get a better home to await his rebirth at the Stanley, making Cullen even richer and pouring money into child care and workforce housing for Estes Park. 

Read more at ColoradoSun.com.

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