Coloradans and tourists alike understand the beauty of Colorado during the winter season. Therefore winter is celebrated through a number of winter festivals found around the state. Watch a parade, listen to live music, and participant in outdoor activities all with a stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Experience winter this season at one of these 9 best winter festivals in Colorado.
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Ullr Fest in Breckenridge
This January festival in Breckenridge is one of the most popular winter events in this Colorado ski town. Drawing over 10,000 people, this four-day event celebrates the Norse God of Snow, Ullr. Ullr Fest has occurred every year for more than 50 years. The first day of Ullr Fest kicks off with a parade down Main Street, where unique floats and incredible skiers are showcased. The fest also features a massive bonfire and the Ullr Ice Plunge.
Steamboat Winter Carnival
This winter festival in Steamboat Springs grew out of a desire to stay entertained during the long winters here. Now more than 100 years later, Steamboat Winter Carnival is still celebrated. Witness brave skiers “skijoring” down Main Street, meaning that skiers are pulled by horses, or simply watch the ski-jumping competitions. This February event also features a fireworks display and other fun activities for both kids and adults.
Estes Park Winter Festival
Visit Estes Park this winter to attend the Estes Park Winter Festival. This festival is full of fun activities. From a chili cookoff to live music to snowsport demos, this winter festival is a great way to embrace the cold weather. There is also a parade, beer tastings, ice skating, and a number of vendors selling goods and food. Although the Estes Park Winter Festival offers a number of things to do during your stay in Estes Park, the town is also home to Rocky Mountain National Park, which offers a gorgeous escape from the festival crowds.
Ouray Ice Festival
This festival in Ouray, Colorado was made for climbing enthusiasts. Ice climbing is a popular pastime in this Colorado town. Therefore there would be no better place to host an ice climbing festival than in Ouray. The Ouray Ice Festival draws professional and amateur ice climbers every January. With gear exhibits and demos, live music and plenty of food, this ice climbing festival highlights this unique winter activity. Even if you don’t climb, you can still watch the climbing competition up the icy gorge in Ouray.
Frozen Dead Guy Days
Frozen Dead Guy Days is one of the most unique winter festivals not only on this list but within the state of Colorado. This festival honors Bredo Morstel, a cryogenically frozen man who has a unique history attached to the town of Nederland. This offbeat festival is a true reflection of this offbeat town. During the festival, you’ll find coffin races, decorated hearses, a frozen T-shirt contest, and other unconventional events. With beer, food and live music too, Frozen Dead Guy Days is a winter festival you will never forget.
March may seem like a time for spring, but in the town of Copper snow still covers the slopes here. Copper Uncorked, located at Copper Mountain, is a wing and wine festival. Wings are crafted by local chefs, and attendees will be pleased to find some of the best chicken wings they’ve ever eaten at Copper Uncorked. Gourmet wings and local wine are the two things to expect from this winter Colorado event.
Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywine Festival
Craft beer lovers flock to Colorado often due to the state’s high number of microbreweries. And Colorado’s enthusiasm for craft beer doesn’t stop just because winter has arrived. Find your new favorite beer at this winter festival in Breckenridge called Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywine Festival. No matter if you’re a master brewer or a just a casual beer drinker, there is a lot to experience at this beer fest. From tastings to seminars, this Breckenridge festival celebrates Colorado’s finest brews.
Rio Frio Ice Fest
Head to Alamosa, Colorado this January to attend the Rio Frio Ice Fest. The Rio Frio Ice Fest brings Alamosa to life during the winter time. This January festival celebrates winter in a number of ways. Ice sculpting and snowman building contests draw a number of festival-goers every year. However, the Rio Frio 5K polar plunge is another highlight for many Coloradans and fellow winter lovers.
Winterfest in Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs is a wonderful place to spend winter, especially during the Winterfest in January. This festival features plenty of events, from sled races to a mass hot air balloon ascension. Many locals and tourists alike participant in the “Penguin Plunge” into the San Juan River. From ice skating to fat tire biking, this winter festival celebrates not only the winter season but also winter recreation.