Upcoming winter festivals

A Climber inches toward the top of the canyon in the Ouray Ice Park during the 2011 Ouray Ice Festival Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. The four-day festival, featuring clinics, gear demos, and a competiton with climbers from around the world, concludes Sunday. The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

It may be cold in Colorado now, but that doesn't mean you need to stay indoors. The state has a wide variety of festivals celebrating winter fun. Here are a few that are well worth the drive.


Jan. 9-12, Ouray, 1-970-325-4288, ourayicepark.com/ ice-festival

The Ouray Ice Festival is known around the world by the ice climbing industry. The festival includes sponsors, speakers and the world's top exhibition climbers, and features more than 100 events over the course of four days. There are interactive climbing clinics, a kids climbing college, nightly film and slideshow presentations and climbing gear auctions and social gatherings.


Jan. 9-12, Aspen, 1-970-920-7146, aspenchamber.org

Aspen bartender Jack DePagter created Wintersk? in 1951 when he noticed a three-week lull in business after Christmas because the ski lifts closed. The celebration, affectionately known as Aspen's toast to winter, has become four days of on-mountain activities, Soupsk? (soup-cooking competition), canine fashion show, winterfest, fireworks and more.


Jan. 29-Feb. 2, Durango, snowdown.org

Durango goes a little crazy at its winter party known as Snowdown. Past events include the polar beer plunge, beard growing competition, doughnut eat-off, kayak pool slalom contest, ski softball game, winter triathlon (skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing and snow tubing)and a contest to see how many people can fit into one outhouse. The 6 p.m. Jan. 31 light parade draws people from all over the region. The event even got a thumbs up on Outside magazine's website in 2012.


Feb. 14-16 and 22-23, Cripple Creek, 689-3461, visitcripplecreek.com/events

If Michelangelo were around, he'd be at the Cripple Creek Ice Festival, chipping away at the big hunks of ice and trying to release the sculpture that resided within. There'll be interactive ice sculptures, sculptures for kids to horse around on and plenty of other non-ice related activities, like a beer garden, food and lots of live entertainment.


March 7-9, Nederland, 1-303-506-1048, frozendeadguy days.org

Nederland, a tiny burg outside of Boulder, celebrates winter in a creative way. Yes, there is a frozen dead guy behind the name of the festival. Grandpa Bredo Morstoel died in 1989, and was preserved in liquid nitrogen at a cryonics facility in California. His body eventually made its way to Boulder, where it is today. The festival celebrates this chilly chain of events with lots of music, coffin racing, ice turkey bowling, costumed polar plunging, parade of hearses, snowy beach volleyball and more.

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