winter festival

Party Hardy at These 3 Colorado Winter Festivals

Party Hardy at These 3 Colorado Winter Festivals, Ullr Fest Polar Plunge, Louie Traub

Ullr Fest Polar Plunge | Breckenridge Tourism Office | Photo Credit: Louie Traub

I’ve been to each of these festivals and can personally vouch that they are worth the drive. The fact is, I have actually been to 99% of the places/festivals that I write about and you can trust that my observations have come through actually having boots on the ground (my boots). Continue reading

Why You Should go to the Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado

Last year I finally got the opportunity to attend the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. I’d known about the event for years and wondered if it would live up to the hype.

We were booked at the Village at Breckenridge and our room overlooked the parking lot in which the snow sculpting teams were working on their creations.

We were lucky enough to stay for long enough to watch the sculptures as they were carved into their various final compositions.

As we watched the sculptures take shape over several days I was blown away by the size and intricacy of each piece. The photographs I had seen of this event, while amazing, just simply hadn’t done it justice. Seeing this event in person is truly astounding.

1st place Team Lithuania at the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. HeidiTown (1)

1st place Team Lithuania at the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado 2015.

1st place Team Lithuania at the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. HeidiTown (7)

1st place Team Lithuania 2015

This year’s event International Snow Sculpting Championships run Jan. 18 through February 7, 2016. The ideal time to visit, in my opinion, is Jan. 26-30 while the sculptures are being created, especially Jan. 29 when the teams work late into the night to finish their pieces. Watching the sculptures come to life, so to speak, is quite astonishing. Continue reading

Top 5 tips for attending a Colorado winter festival

I was asked recently to write a “tips for attending winter festivals” post. Well, I had already written that post way back in 2014. Since it has some great winter festival survival tips I decided I’d re-post the original article.  

The following post originally appeared on on February 7, 2014.


I was prompted to write this post after an experience I had last month during Breckenridge’s Ullr Festival. For the first time ever I experienced the terrible symptoms of severe dehydration. As a longtime Coloradan, I am embarrassed to admit this, but it happened and it’s NOT fun.

On our second night in town, after soaking in the beautiful hot tubs at Grand Timber Lodge, we went out to dinner where I started to feel shaky and nauseated. I thought I was coming down with the flu. I didn’t touch dinner and had to head back to our condo early where I crawled into bed with intense muscle cramps and aches all over my body.

The next day I was fine, a bit weak, but otherwise back to normal. When I searched my symptoms on Google, I discovered that I had suffered from dehydration. Usually I drink a ton of water, but on this trip I was so busy with Nordic skiing and partying that hydration had skipped my mind. It won’t happen again.

This long story leads me to tip number 1, which is HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE!

Beer at Breckenridge Brewery.

It’s delicious, but it’s not water. Drink one of these and follow it up with a pint of water.

Colorado is at elevation – all of it – but especially in the mountains where most of the great winter festivals take place. Dehydration can happen to anyone, even a Colorado resident – case in point -but those coming from outside the state should be even more conscientious of this issue. Continue reading

Featured Festival: Telluride Fire Festival (Jan. 14-18, 2016)

This was the most unique winter festival we attended last year. It’s a spectacle of creativity and fire and must be experienced to be truly understood. And, the fact that it’s held in Telluride is a big bonus.

Part Burning Man, part community party, 2015 was the inaugural year of Telluride Fire Festival. The first thing we witnessed on our first night in town was El Pulpo Mecanico. I’ll admit, this fire breathing art car was one of the most amazing things I’ve witnessed in my nearly 40 years on this planet.

Featured Festival Telluride Fire Festival 2016 El Pulpo Mecanico

Photo courtesy of Telluride Fire Festival.

Telluride Fire Festival is broken into various piece. There are free events held in the Town of Telluride and in Mountain Village. There are also ticket events. Last year, March Fourth put on an outstanding ticketed show during Telluride Fire Festival.

There are also festival workshops. You can learn to weld or spin fire (yes, fire!). Some workshops have a fee while others are free. See a list of them here.

Dozens of artists come to town for this festival. From fire spinners to DJs to dance troupes, you won’t be able to toss a snowball without hitting an artist during Telluride Fire Festival. This is what makes it one of the most inspiration winter festivals in Colorado. See a list of participating artists here.

FractalTribePerformer#2ByRyanBonneau (1)

Photo provided by Telluride Fire Festival. Photographer, Ryan Bonneau.

During the day you can participate in workshops or visit participating art galleries around Telluride, or you can ski or take a yoga class. That’s the beauty of Telluride, there’s a lot to do in this beautiful town.

Each night of fire festival there will be an event to warm you up including a dance party on Friday with Rob Garza, a Costume Fire Ball on Saturday and a fire-spinning party on Sunday.

A VIP event takes place Thursday evening and only those who purchase an All Access Pass will be allowed into this private reception.

An All Access Pass is just $195 (must be 21 or older to purchase). Purchase your pass here. Tickets to individual events are also available.

Telluride Fire Festival fire breathing dragon.

While some events are 21 and older, in general this is a festival for anyone who seeks to ignite a creative fire within their soul. I guarantee that something you see, hear or feel at Telluride Fire Festival will spark your imagination.

Telluride Fire Festival

January 14-18, 2016

Telluride, Colorado

Free & ticketed

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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.

Estes Park Winter Festival (Jan. 14-17, 2011)

I recently met a couple from Switzerland who said that Estes Park, Colorado reminded them of their home country. Estes Park is a charming little town nestled among snow-capped peaks and I can think of no better place for a Winter festival.

The 2nd Annual Estes Park Winter Festival is a four-day extravaganza, has everything a winter festival should have and more. The event kicks off on Friday evening with cowboy poetry, smores and a dessert bar at Historic Crags Lodge. This is a free event. For info on the lodge visit

Also on Friday and Saturday the Estes Park Memorial Observatory will be open from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Visit to learn about the observatory. Participation is free, but a $3 donation is suggested.

On Saturday and Sunday there’s a never ending list of things to do including an interactive ice castle, a chili cook-off, wine and beer tasting, live music, and merchant and artists.

Most of the action during the festival occur in Bond Park and while most of the attractions are free just $5 gets you access to all the activities in the park. Horse and carriage rides will be available to transport people from downtown Estes to Bond Park.

The Estes Park Winter Festival is the perfect event for everyone!

Winter Trails Day 2010 (photo from Estes Park Winter Festival on Facebook)

Of special note”¦

On Saturday, January 15, Estes Park celebrates Winter Trails Day. This event occurs at 100 resorts and Nordic centers around the country. It gives adults and children the chance to try out snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for free. In Estes the event will take place at Rocky Mountain National Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drive to the park entrance to get directions. For more information about Winter Trails Day, visit their website.

The details”¦

The Estes Park Winter Festival runs January 14-17, 2011. For a full list of events and entertainment visit You can also find the festival on Facebook here.



Snow sculpture festival comes to Loveland, Colorado

An artist works on a small ice sculpture during Loveland's Winter Walk. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

The 2011 Snow Sculpture in the Dark in Loveland, Colorado will run December 5-10.  An updated blog about the event will be posted on Nov. 18.  In the meantime, go  here for details.

While at downtown Loveland’s Winter Walk today I came across some ice sculptures in the making. Witnessing art being made is fascinating to me, especially since I have a hard time drawing stick figures, so of course I stopped and watched.

It turns out this was a preview of something much, much bigger. Downtown Loveland, Colorado is going to play host to  Sculpture in the Dark, a snow sculpture competition, and street festival. The event starts with the closure of a few downtown streets on Wednesday, Dec. 8, so that the five snow sculpting teams can get started. The event culminates on Saturday with the announcement of the ice sculpture winning team and lots of other activities.

This festival makes a lot of sense because Loveland is already known for it’s sculpture, with Benson Sculpture Park, an internationally renowned sculpture show each summer, and dozens of sculptors and artists calling the area home.

Be sure to get downtown to vote for you favorite between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, December 10. Stay downtown for Night on the Town, Loveland’s second Friday art walk. The festival draws to a close after the Parade of Lights through downtown Loveland on Saturday evening.

These sculptures are just a taste of what's to come during Sculpture in the Dark. Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer

There are lots of other activities on tap for this event including wagon rides with Santa, musical entertainment, a live nativity scene and more. For the entire line-up including times and locations go to Engaging Loveland.

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