Come for the Party, Stay for the Party: Breckenridge, Colorado

We took a break from visiting Breckenridge because we’d frequented this Colorado mountain town so much that some HeidiTown citizens thought we lived there. So, I didn’t put it on the travel list for a few years (then the pandemic showed up, and before long, it’s been five years).

Come for the Party, Stay for the Party Breckenridge, Colorado HeidiTown (1)
Come for the Party, Stay for the Party Breckenridge, Colorado HeidiTown (1)

I hadn’t been a judge at Ullr Fest parade for nearly a decade, but they asked me this year. I was a little worried. Five years is a long time, and we’ve had a pandemic, the aftermath, and inflation. Had the town changed? How much? Would I even recognize it?

As it turns out, I still adored Breckenridge.

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I am the first to admit that Breckenridge is a party town for us. We’ve visited to attend beer festivals (several), a wine festival, biking in the snow, weekend ski trips with friends, and a three-day wedding. I went to ski school in Breckenridge in my 20s (and we all know how that turned out). Several times, we’ve attended Ullr Fest, which involves town-wide shenanigans (and is one of my favorite events in Colorado). By the way, Ullr is the Norse God of Snow. Need snow? Pray to Ullr.

We were booked for only one night in a dog-friendly unit at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center, a ski-in/ski-out location. We’ve stayed at Beaver Run many times but we’ve never had a dog with us on a Breckenridge vacation.

Fritzi loved it, which isn’t surprising, she loves to travel. Beaver Run is a great place for a dog, and Breckenridge is one of the most dog-friendly towns in the Rocky Mountains. One of my first memories of visiting in the early 2000s was meeting a dog that would go (by itself) from store to store for treats.

There are places to walk the dog (even in the snow) around Beaver Run. Many of the stores in Breckenridge allow well-behaved dogs and breweries too (if they don’t serve food).

The resort is about eight minutes to downtown walking downhill. This means, that you WILL have to walk uphill coming back, or catch the free Beaver Run shuttle.

Ullr Fest was in full swing as we hit downtown, so things were electric, as they often are in Breckenridge. We checked in at the judges/VIP area and then headed to Eric’s, which is named Downstairs at Eric’s. Who knew? I’ve always just called it Eric’s in Breckenridge.

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Must be Ullr Fest!

A bar, restaurant, and arcade it’s been open since 1989, and I’ve been going there since the early 2000s. For me, this is OG Breck and we always have to go.

Come for the Party, Stay for the Party Breckenridge, Colorado HeidiTown (2)

Busy because of Ullr Fest, we sat outside the bar in the arcade area, which was fine except that seat here is high and rather slippery in ski pants!

Afterward, we experienced Ullr Fest, which was originally held in January but was moved to December four years ago. We were here for the shotski and parade, which, I haven’t experienced since 2014.

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Yes, the Breckenridge Troll made an appearance at Ullr Fest.

If you are unaware of what a shotski is, it’s a bunch of shot glasses velcroed or stuck in some way to a ski. Shotski’s have been part of my life for a long time. I was even a Red-Headed Slut shot in a shotski once.

Our Shotski at Cardboard Classic at Steamboat Resort 2008.
Our entry into the 2008 Cardboard Classic – a cardboard shotski. We all represented different shots and I am in the middle.

We probably aren’t supposed to type or say “slut” but it’s true. I was a Red-Headed Slut shot on a shotski in the Steamboat Springs Cardboard Classic, many, many years ago. So, this mountain “shot glass” has been part of my life for nearly twenty years.

The shotski at Ullr Fest is legendary. This year, we reclaimed the unofficial world record for longest shotski with 1,377 shot takers lined up for 2,468 feet on Main Street. The previous record was held by Park City, Utah. Breckenridge Distillery is the organizer and provides the delicious whiskey.

I remember when I first participated in 2013, Breckenridge Distillery constructed 313 feet of skis with 192 shot takers. Yes, it’s grown a bit!

The Ullr Fest parade has been terrific and this year was no exception. The number of floats went down a bit after the pandemic, but things are mostly back to normal, and there was good participation.

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I sat with a lovely group of ladies and shared our judge’s sheets in the warmth of the upstairs of the Breckenridge Welcome Center.

It’s never easy to judge because a lot of energy and spirit goes into making the floats but the three top were as follows:

3rd Place, winning $1,000, Breckenridge Grand Vacations “Spirit of Ullr” float

2nd Place, winning $1,500, The Crown and Cool River Coffee’s “Home Alone: Lost At Ullr Fest.”

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1st Place, winning $2,000, and the ultimate Breckenridge bragging rights was the Summit High School Lacrosse float, “Sacrificial LAX”, where the local high schoolers walked a 15-foot high plank into a faux-flaming pit as a sacrifice to Ullr.

Ullr Fest also includes a bonfire after the parade, adaptive ski races, and a comedy show on Friday evening at the Riverwalk Center. Saturday included ice skating shows and a Christmas concert. We didn’t make it to those events this time.

Ullr Fest is a bit scaled back these days and a bit more family-friendly. I remember when there were frying pan throwing contests, a Vodka ice luge, and more. If you want to experience the shenanigans, visit on Thursday for the shotski, parade, and bonfire.

That evening we dined at a new to us restaurant, Cabin Juice at Gravity Haus, just down the hill from Beaver Run. This is the first time I’ve been inside a Gravity Haus and it’s a cool concept. Follow this link for more info.

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I had to share a picture of Ryan’s hamburger. It just looked to classically perfect!

I got the curry salmon and Ryan got the hamburger. Everything, including our waitress, was delightful. The shishitos and sourdough with whipped butter are highly recommended. As is ending your meal with milk and cookies. Yes, this is a dessert option at Cabin Juice and you can be sure that’s what Ryan wanted.

The next morning, we ended up at Columbine Cafe for breakfast. We’ve been going for over a decade and can safely say, they have the best corned beef hash. Whether it’s in a breakfast burrito, over eggs benedict, or with hashbrowns, if you’re a corned beef lover like me, just order it.

After a brief, cold walk downtown, we made our way to Broken Compass Brewing’s Main Street location. Here’s a little insider info. We’ve known Jason and Jolene Ford, owners of Broken Compass, since before the brewery was founded. We were all soccer nuts and in a supporters group for the Colorado Rapids in the 2010s. So, now you know the rest of that story!

While we’ve been to the original Broken Compass location many times, this was our first time visiting the newer downtown taproom.

The snow fell sporadically while we sat with our beers and Fritzi. Broken Compass Brewing has always been dog-friendly and the downtown taproom is no exception. We left with a new dog collar, a t-shirt that reads “Drink Beer. Pet Dogs.” (which is my motto, especially in Breck), and a bomber of their award-winning Coconut Porter, Jolene’s recipe.

We picked up sandwiches for the ride home at another local favorite, Cool River Coffee House. I think it has been here for at least twenty years. I can’t recall a time it didn’t exist while I was coming.

And that’s what I love about Breckenridge, as much as the world has changed recently, it doesn’t feel all that different to a visitor, even after five years! It is still an authentic Colorado ski town that buzzes and sparkles in the winter. Surprisingly, everywhere from restaurants to the resort we encountered nice, happy staff. Yes, a lot of folks come here to party (we do), and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Ryan and Fritzi at the front lobby doors of Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center.

Thank you to GoBreck for hosting us for this exciting Colorado festival.

Fritzi especially appreciated the dog-friendly lodging at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center.

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