At Breckenridge, Colorado, not a single snowflake is taken for granted. Ever. Almost 60 years ago, locals founded the Ullr Fest – a festivity in honor of Ullr, the Norse god of snow – to celebrate the moment when the ground gets covered in a soft white mantle. Co-founder Trygve Berge said it all started with “15 funny people,” all Norwegian-born ski instructors, probably wearing Viking hats with horns and perhaps long braids on the sides, marching through Breckenridge just as participants do today. The Breckenridge Ullr Fest has now become an unmissable event for those not afraid of the cold.
Thursday, December 7
The festivities open on Thursday with the Ultimate Ullr Helmet Decorating Party before moving on to the crowning of the Ullr king and queen. At 4 pm, it’s time for the main event (if you like drinking). Make sure you have your favorite Viking hat (come on, we know you have one), dust off your old coat, take your pair of skis or hop on a sled, and go down to Breck’s Main Street. At the end, you will reach the Shotski’s area, where a long line of skis awaits, each mounted with shot glasses full of bourbon. Then, after a loud and dramatic countdown, everyone drinks in sync. Breckenridge’s Shotski claims to hold the unofficial world record for the world’s longest shotski (or the longest line of people participating in a shotski).
The highlight of the week for many is the Ullr Fest Parade, which is scheduled at 4:30, just after the shotski. There are cash prizes for the most creative floats, though, if you’re interested in entering a float in the parade, the registration closes on Tuesday, December 5.
After, the Ullr Bonfire commences (of course) so get your old Christmas tree ready for a fir and spruce offering to the god of snow. Line up with your fellow Vikings and throw the tree into the flames. A promising winter will rise from its ashes.
Friday, December 8
Catch the Breckenridge Ski Resort ski and snowboard race from 9am to 1pm. Called the Hartford Ski Spectacular, it’s hosted by Move United, a nonprofit that supports people with disabilities via sports. At 8pm, the Ullr Comedy Night happens at the Riverwalk Center. Tickets are $35 and doors open at 7:00. The night’s features comedians Nancy Norton and Andrew Orvedahl.
Saturday, December 9
Saturday is packed with fun as well, from the Ice Skating Party at 12:30 (open to everyone) to the Winter Ice Skating Show at 6 pm (performed by the professionals) to the High Country Holidays Concert at the Riverwalk Center to cap things off. And you heard it here first: Santa himself will be making an appearance during the show, so keep an eye out for that red suit and beard.
And this goes without saying, but while you’re here for Ullr Fest 2023, you need to hit the slopes at the Breckenridge Ski Resort. One-day winter lift tickets start at $184 and an Epic Day Pass starts at $110. Other must-trys while you’re here include Breckenridge Brewery and Breckenridge Distillery. The latter has tours which are cool to check out.
- This year, the event organizers aim to attract 1,370 people in order to beat Park City, Utah’s record.
- Time: 4:00pm start, 3:45pm line-up.
- Location: Main St. Breckenridge.
- Cost: $15 All proceeds benefit the Breckenridge Mountain Rotary.
- Must be 21 years old to participate.
- Around 12,000 people attend.
- Registration fee for the Shotski Challenge is $15 in 2023.
- If you can never have enough of cold temperatures and cozy sweaters, here’s our Fifty Grande list of the best places to go skiing in the US. And here’s our guide to Colorado.
What is the closest airport to the annual Ullr Fest?
The closest airport to get to the Ullr Festival is Denver International Airport, which is 101 miles away. There are free shuttles from the airport to Breckenridge.
What is the exact address of the event?
It happens in different spots in Breckenridge, but Main Street, Breckenridge, CO 80424, USA, is a good address to put in the GPS.
It’s my first time attending. What can I expect?
The spirit of the event is a party to welcome a great season of powder for Breck’s skiers, snowboarders, and general winter enthusiasts. Like Breckenridge, this event is quirky, fun and open to all.
Is the festival family-friendly?
Yes. However, some activities are open only to 21+ year-old attendees.
Are there prizes for the float parade?
Cash prizes are awarded for the most innovative floats.
Wait, is this the same event that happens at Camelback Resort?
Camelback has their own Ullr fest, which is a one-day event. It will be held on Saturday, November 11, and will also have a bonfire, food, drinks and even wood carving. It also is in honor and hopes of a powder-filled ski season.
What common wildlife I could see at Breckenridge?
Breckenridge is home to moose, mountain goats, foxes and bears, among others. Always respect wild animals, keep distance, and think about everyone’s safety.