Featured Festival: Rio Frio Ice Fest, Alamosa, Colorado

Races are a dime a dozen around Colorado and 5K races are held nearly every weekend around the state. So how does an organization make their 5K stand out from all the rest? They run the race on the frozen Rio Grande River in January.

Rio Frio on Ice Featured Festival HeidiTown
All photos courtesy of the Rio Frio on Ice.

Rio Frio on Ice 5K & Fremont Haunt

The Rio Frio on Ice is a 5K race that runs in conjunction with Alamosa’s Rio Frio Ice Fest. The race is literally ran on the frozen Rio Grande River and the concept was so unique that the race was featured in Runner’s World even before its first year.

This year, race organizers have added a second “on river” event. The Fremont Haunt was inspired by a real life expedition that took place in the mid-1800s. Only 21 members of the 33 man expedition made it home and many perished in Alamosa County.

The Fremont Haunt is sort of like a coffin race with costumed teams of seven carrying two “dead bodies” down the frozen river. There are some other rules too and you can see them here. This event is a great way to raise a little money for an organization or just a good excuse to get your friends together for some on ice shenanigans.

Rio Frio on Ice finish line. Featured Festival, HeidiTown.com

Rio Frio Ice Fest

The Rio Frio Ice Fest kicks off in downtown on Friday (1/29/16) with a party at the old Grove Theater in downtown Alamosa. This year’s festival theme is Star Wars, which should inspire some very fun ice sculptures.

Ice sculpting is at the heart of the event and on Saturday you can watch live ice sculpting downtown. Saturday’s events also include the 5K, a scavenger hunt, costume contest for kids, a bonfire and more. On tap for Sunday is a pancake breakfast, family activities, a bike race on the Rio Grande and the Fremont Haunt Parade and Race.

Ice sculpting at Rio Frio Ice Fest. Featured Festival, HeidiTown

This will be an excellent time to visit Alamosa. Whether you run the race or just want to be a winter festival attendee, the town will be abuzz with all sorts of fun for the entire family.

Alamosa is home to my favorite chile beer, the San Luis Valley Brewing’s Valle Caliente, so be sure to stop by and try a pint while you’re in town. For information on where to stay and dine in Alamosa during Rio Frio visit Alamosa.org.

Note from the Mayor: Guess what, citizens? I’m running the Rio Frio on Ice. Well, running may be a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not really a runner, but I’ve been walking since I was just 2-years-old so I will get over that finish line one way or another. See you in Alamosa!

Rio Frio Ice Fest

January 29 to 31, 2016

Alamosa, Colorado

Rio Frio Ice Festival – FREE

Register for the Rio Frio on Ice & Fremont Haunt here


Join the Rio Frio on Ice on Facebook

Join Visit Alamosa on Twitter

Featured Festival spots on HeidiTown.com are paid advertisements. Interested in having your festival or event considered for a feature? Email TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.



  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article about running on ice. Im sure its a nice experience and its also part of my bucket list. Hope to be able to do this in the near future.


  2. Great article, nice content, as a person living near the equator it is one of my dream to run in snow. I hope i can do it someday.


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