Five Colorado winter festivals not to be missed

Skijoring, Steamboat Spring
Winter Carnival 2011. Skijoring, Steamboat Spring style! Photo by H. M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

After the holidays, things slow down”¦ especially along the Front Range of Colorado, but there’s still tons of fun to be had, especially in the mountains. It seems that every mountain town and ski resort has a festival during the winter months.

This is not a top 5 list because quite frankly I’m not sure how I would narrow it down to a top five; each town has a unique festival that expresses the nature of that particular community, so each event is special. I’ve picked five festivals to highlight in this post, and will feature others here, on Facebook and on the radio as the winter progresses.

Winter Carnival, Steamboat Springs, February 8-12, 2012 – During this event the streets of Steamboat Springs, Colorado are turned into a snowy racetrack for daredevils of the cowboy variety. Skijoring at Winter Carnival may be one of the most entertaining events I’ve ever watched. Other competitions include the shovel races, the dog dash, the dad race and lots more. The event is capped off with the Night Extravaganza at Howelsen Hill, a fireworks show and the famous Lighted Man. Learn more about the 99th Annual Winter Carnival at

Estes Park Winter Festival, January 13-15, 2012 – If you follow this blog you may have already read about the Estes Park Winter Festival, when I ran the contest for VIP tickets to this event. With a chili cook off, beer and wine tasting, live music, an ice castle, and so much more, this is one of my favorite Estes Park events. Buy tickets at

Ullr Festival, Breckenridge, January 8-14, 2012 – This 49th annual tradition of partying like a Viking in Breckenridge, Colorado made my weekly HeidiTown segment on KRFC 88.9 FM. The event is now in full swing with the craziest stuff, like a flinging frying pans contest happening this coming weekend. HeidiTown readers rated this as the best winter festival in Colorado in a Facebook poll last winter.  Read more at

Ullr Festival parade in Breckenridge
Ullr Festival Parade, photo courtesy of on Facebook. Click photo to go to their page!

Snowdown, Durango, February, 1-5, 2012Outside Magazine rates this as one of the top winter festivals in North American, so it’s gotta be good! This Durango, Colorado festival pays homage to the silly things that happen when a person gets cabin fever with events like a polar bear plunge, a burp-off, arm wrestling competition, snow golf and plenty more oddly hilarious activities that help the locals (and tourists) get through the cold winter months. Each year has a different theme, so head over to, to find out 2012’s.

Frozen Dead Guy Days, Nederland, March 2-4, 2012 – I think this is one of Colorado’s most famous festivals, and Grandpa Bredo is most definitely the most famous frozen dead guy in the world. While Grandpa Bredo has been on ice in a Nederland shack for 22 years, the festival is just 11-years-old, and the bizarre nature of the event fits the rather wacky personality of Nederland. Let’s just say Nederland, Colorado is weird at any time of year, but especially during this festival. If coffin racing, frozen t-shirt competitions and polar plunging sound good to you, visit  for all the icy details.

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