Winter Carnivals in Colorado
Coloradans consider winter our most privileged season, and we love to celebrate all that comes with it at winter carnivals across the state.
Vail Snow Daze, Dec. 9-11, 2016
This bash welcomes the ski and snowboard season with free concerts, a rockin’ street fair and a tree-lighting ceremony in Vail Village. Past headliners included The Wallflowers, Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R. and Rusted Root.
Downtown comes alive with a variety of free holiday activities, cookies, hot chocolate and much more to celebrate the holidays and the winter season.
Breckenridge ULLR Fest: Jan. 11–14, 2017
Snow lovers celebrate Norse mythology dressed as vikings with Ullympic competitions (such as frying-pan flinging), a downtown Breckenridge parade and bonfire, nighttime snowshoeing, ice-skating and fat-bike racing.
Wintersköl in Aspen: Jan. 12-15, 2017
Aspen‘s annual “toast to winter” dates back to January 1951 when locals began celebrating the town’s unique Nordic lifestyle. The-four day fest features on-mountain activities, Soupsköl (a soup cook-off), a canine fashion show, winterfest, broomball and fat-biking competitions and much more.
Estes Park Winter Festival: Jan. 14-15, 2017
The Estes Park Events Complex comes alive with winter fun, including a chili cook-off, ski and snowboard demonstrations, ice-skating, beer and wine tasting and tons of other family activities.
UllrGrass in Golden, Jan. 27–29, 2017
Put on your faux fur and Viking horns for this family-friendly winter music and beer fest surrounded by the beauty of the Rocky Mountain foothills in Golden. Highlights include the UrllGrass Parade, music from local and national bluegrass musicians and tons of local food and craft vendors.
Winter Park Winter Carnival: Feb. 6–14, 2017
This fest is a birthday party for one of the area’s colorful early residents — a gal named Mary Jane — with live music, fireworks, ice-skating lessons, sled races, horse-drawn carriage rides and more in Winter Park.
Steamboat Springs’ Winter Carnival: Feb. 8–12, 2017
Steamboat has reveled in their bounty of trademark Champagne Powder™ since 1914. The carnival features ski-jumping competitions, dog-sled pulls, cross-country obstacle races, a tubing party and a spectacular fireworks display.
Pagosa Springs’ Winterfest: Feb. TBA, 2017
Are you brave enough to submerge yourself in the San Juan River’s Penguin Plunge? Test your cooking skills in the Anything Goes Chile Content or sit back and watch the Nordic Club races in Pagosa Springs.
Ski Joring & Crystal Carnival in Leadville: March 4–5, 2017
A fearless skier navigates an obstacle course connected by towrope to a horse and rider galloping at top speed, and it all takes place in the middle of town, in addition to a winter carnival with other snowy activities.
Colorado Ice Festivals
Though they don’t linger too long during Colorado’s sunny winter months, frozen masterpieces created by gifted ice artisans leave a lasting impression.
Ouray Ice Festival: Jan. 19–22, 2017
Though it’s an ice festival of a different sort, Ouray’s celebration is one of the most spectacular. Each year, 3,000 climbers descend on the town to ascend the Ouray Ice Park’s mile-long frozen gorge, while spectators watch in amazement.
Budweiser International Snow Sculpting Championship: Jan. 24–Feb. 5, 2017
Teams from around the world spend a week in Breckenridge gently coaxing intricate sculptures out of 20-ton blocks of snow.
Cripple Creek Ice Festival: Feb. 10–12, 18–19, 2017
Artists deftly use chainsaws to carve clear creations along Cripple Creek’s main street, while families frolic through an ice maze and sip hot chocolate.
Ski & Snowboard Competitions
• U.S. Revolution Tour: Dec. 5–10, 2016
• Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge: Cancelled for 2016
• X Games Aspen: Jan. 26–29, 2017
• Audi Power of Four Ski Mountaineer Race in Snowmass: Feb. 25, 2017
• 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in Aspen: March 15–19, 2017
Thursday, 8 December 2016 5:56 PM