It’s Time to Party Colorado Style: 6 Winter Festivals for You

I love winter festivals. It’s a party in the snow and I don’t think it gets much better than that, especially in Colorado. Here’s a lineup of Colorado winter festivals that should be on your radar this year.

Parade - Purg Float credit Scott Smith-Purgatory
Snowdown Parade – Purgatory Resort Float, photography credit Scott Smith

Here are six Colorado winter festivals with a little something for every taste. Whether you’re looking for a raging party of wholesome family-fun, Colorado’s got your festival needs covered.

Ullr – Breckenridge, January 9-12, 2019

I love this one and not just because it’s in Breckenridge, although that plays a big part. Breckenridge knows how to throw a good party. Ullr Fest is a celebration of Ullr, the Norse God of Snow and you’ll glimpse him around town when you attend the event.

Me-and-Ullr-at-Ullr-Fest-in-Breckenridge-Colorado (1)
The Norse God of Snow & little ol’ me at Ullr Fest in Breckenridge, Colorado.

If you don’t have four days to spend in Breckenridge, make sure you see the parade on Thursday night which is definitely worth the price of admission which is free.  

Courtesy of Breckenridge Ski Resort
Ullr Festival in the village at Breckenridge, Colorado. Courtesy of Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Before the parade, play witness to the record-breaking shotski, sponsored by Breckenridge Distillery. I participated in this event a number of years ago and it was insanely fun.

Wintersköl – Aspen, January 10-13, 2019

I attended this event in 2017, and it’s a great reason to visit Aspen. With snow sculptures downtown (an adult and kid section) music, slopeside fun and one of the best fireworks show you’ll see this year, Wintersköl is one of Colorado’s best winter festivals.

Surprise! You Can Afford to Shop in Aspen, Colorado. Canine Fashion Show at Winterskol. This is Petey.
I met Petey after the Fashion Show when we were both hanging out at Aspen Brewing Co. together.

If you only have time for one or two events during Wintersköl, don’t miss the Canine Fashion Show on Saturday at 1 pm and the bonfire that evening followed the torchlight descent and fireworks show.

Party Hardy at these 3 Colorado Winter Festival, Aspen Fireworks, Aspen Chamber, C2 Photography
Fireworks over Aspen Mountain and the Winterskol torchlight parade on January 11, 2014. Photo Credit: C2 Photography
International Snow Sculpture Championships – Breckenridge, January 21-30, 2019

If you’ve never been to this event, it’s time to go. I didn’t go for years and then finally, we made it and we were blown away at what we’d been missing. These international teams create sculptures that seem impossible. It’s truly one of the greatest winter festivals in the world and if you are lucky enough to live in Colorado, it’s right out your back door.

Go Breck snow sculpture photo by Carl Scofield
Photo courtesy of (Photography by Carl Scofield, online at

Denverites can even make a day trip out of the event, so you have no excuse to go.

Snowdown – Durango, January 31 through February 2, 2019

I am excited to be attending this one for the first time this year. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Durango and we’ve never been to Purgatory Resort, so we’re adding that to this trip.

Snowdown2 2019

This is the 41st Annual Snowdown so as a Colorado festival writer, I have no excuses for my longtime absence. Each year, the event has a different theme and poster and this year’s theme is “Get Your Comic On” and that means dressing up as your favorite pop culture icon or superhero. By the way, the posters are on display at my favorite diner in town, Oscar’s Cafe. We love the Durango Diner too but it’s tiny and difficult to get a seat.  

Firework Snowdown 08 Claude Steelman©
Snowdown, photography credit Claude Steelman©

RELATED: Top 5 Tips for Attending a Colorado Winter Festival

Snowdown is a city-wide party and a lot of people and business get involved. I will not miss the parade on Friday night and I am curious as to what the Snowdown Follies are all about.

Winter Carnival – Steamboat Springs, February 6-10, 2019

I haven’t been to this one for a while but I have been several times and it’s good for everyone. There are events for families and those who want to party. Do not miss the skijoring on Main Street and the Night Extravaganza on Howelsen Hill. This event will leave you speechless.

Winter Carnival Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Small kid Skijoring
A little girl skijoring down Main Street during Winter Carnival 2011 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

This is the 106th year of Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs so taking part in this one will make you a part of a long-running Colorado tradition.

Frozen Dead Guy Days, Nederland, March 8-10, 2019

You’ve probably heard of this one because it takes place close to Denver and it’s made international news. However, fame comes at a price and visitors are encouraged to bus in (details on website) because the village of Nederland can’t accommodate all the cars that arrive for this unique celebration.

Frozen Dead Guy Days Coffin Race
Courtesy of the festival.

With 30 bands and events like the frozen t-shirt contest, this one is for the adult who loves to party and push coffins (the coffin race is a crowd favorite).

If you are unaware, there really is a frozen dead guy in Nederland and this party has been thrown for 18 years in his honor. His name is Bredo Morstol and he’s housed in a frozen state of suspended animation in a tuff shed in town. You can’t make this stuff up.


  1. I have yet to make it into Oscars in Durango. Hmmmm. Another thing for the list.


    1. It’s our favorite. The photo I took of the Durango Diner sign is one of my best-ever on Pinterest, however, going early seems to be the only way to get a seat there. We ate at Oscars twice during San Juan Brewfest because we were staying across the street. Have also eaten there when traveling through town. We love it! Plus, they decorate with trains and Snowdown posters.


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