In a year of big ski-town anniversaries -- including a 40th bash at Copper Mountain, 50th anniversaries at Vail and Steamboat and Eldora, the 75th anniversary celebration at Loveland, and the upcoming 100th anniversary of Steamboat Springs' Howelsen Hill -- the wildest party of all just might be this week in Breckenridge, where the town is marking the 50th anniversary of Ullr Fest. The festival, which dates back to 1963, is a downright pagan paean to Ullr (rhymes with "cooler"), the skiing, hunting, badass god of Norse mythology who has been adopted as the patron saint of winter revelry.
According to the cooked-up local version of the Norse legend, "Breckenridge seemed a likely place for Ullr to settle down, since he wasn't looking to return to Norway any time soon. Ullr fit right in and took to the mountains. And every year, Ullr blesses Breckenridge with some of the finest snow in the world."
The week-long festivities get under way on Sunday with the traditional crowning of the Ullr King and Queen at Riverwalk Center, 150 West Adams Avenue, where free beer will be flowing like wine and Summit County locals The Luv Brothers will be bringing the noise.
Monday is Family Night at the Gold Run Nordic Center, with Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, indoor activities and a small bonfire that is a more family-friendly version of the bigger, badder blaze bonfire scheduled for Thursday. The zany annual Ullympics competitions are on Tuesday, and the Ullr Dating Game will be on Wednesday in case you need a date for the main event, Thursday's Ullr Fest Parade. The parade starts at 4:30 p.m. on Main Street, and ends with fireworks and bonfire sacrifices of Christmas trees and old skis and such to Ullr and any other gods who might be willing to send some more snow our way. Afterwards, follow the crowd of vikings on the march to every bar in town.
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Other Ullr Fest events include a Comedy Works show on Friday night at Beaver Run Resort, and a Pond Hockey Tournament and Ullr Fashion show on Saturday. For the full schedule of events, visit www.gobreck.com/events/ullr-fest