On The Rocks

Small-town economics can get a little slippery. Take Ouray, for example, where the answer to the community’s sluggish winter scene turned out to be deceptively simple: Leave the water running when it’s cold outside. The Ouray Ice Festival (now in its sixteenth year) and Ouray Ice Park (free and open to the public January through April) have helped transform what was once a wintertime ghost town into a mecca for ice climbers from all over the world. They come, they climb, they eat and drink and stay a while.

“We’ve got about 150 shower heads pumping one to two gallons per minute for twelve hours at a time to make enough ice for everybody to play on,” says festival director Erin Eddy. “It’s obviously had a tremendous economic impact on the town, but more important, it’s put the name Ouray out and about around the world as the perfect place to come play and come stay, any time of the year.”

The festival begins tonight, with a Locals Night slide show in the Main Street Theatre and an after-party at the Ouray Brewery. Ice-climbing clinics, gear demos, exhibitions and film screenings take place Friday through Sunday, and the official 2011 Ouray Ice Festival Competition starts on Saturday at 9 a.m. Visit http://ourayicefestival.com for a full schedule and more information.
Jan. 6-9, 2011

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Colin Bane
Contact: Colin Bane