Chill Out at These Winter Festivals Happening Around Colorado
We’re a hardy bunch here in the Centennial State. Only in Colorado do people hold outdoor celebrations for the snow and cold. We also like to add a few strange events to keep things interesting. Of course, there will be drinking. How else would we keep warm? Here is a rundown of Colorado’s best winter festivals so you can plan your winter fun accordingly.
German Christkindl Market
Skyline Park Denver, November 21–December 23
The Christmas Market is a European event that dates back centuries. Continuing this tradition in Denver, the Christkindl Market began Friday, November 21, and continues through December 23 from 11 AM to 9 PM. Like its counterparts in Germany, Denver’s Market will feature live music and all sorts of hand-crafted gifts and Christmas items. Since this is a German market, there will also be a beer garden sponsored by Paulaner and warm Gluehwein (hot mulled wine) served to chilly shoppers.
Vail Snow Daze
Vail, December 12–14 and 19–21
The first big winter festival of the season kicks off in Vail with a musical flare. Vail Snow Daze is not only a ski expo, but some great national music acts will perform in the open air because that’s how they do it in Vail. Sponsored by Bud Light, Saturday, December 13, features Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R. and The Wallflowers at Solaris. Saturday, December 20, features 10,000 Maniacs and Rusted Root. Free to the public, doors open at 5 PM and shows go until 9 PM.
Aspen, January 8–11
Back in 1951, some locals had the brilliant idea to celebrate the Nordic lifestyle in Aspen. That traditional continues today at Aspen’s annual Wintersköl. This 4-day celebration features on-mountain activities, a parade, a canine fashion show, live music, fireworks and more. Warm up with Soupskol, a soup-making contest judged by the public. There's also the spectator-adored Fat Tire Cycle Challenge on the snow-covered hills above town. Wintersköl is also the only time people can ski at night on the slopes of Aspen during the Torchlight Ski Run.
Breckenridge, January 11–17
Ullr (pronounced Ool-er) is the Norse god of winter. He loved the cold and snow, and was also the best skier, which makes him the perfect god to honor during winter in Breckenridge. Take part in the Ullympics with events such as the flying pan toss, group ski racing and the ski boot relay. Also taking part for the third year is Breckenridge Distillery and the World’s Longest Shot Ski. Will they break last year’s record?
Food & Wine Weekend
Beaver Creek, January 22-25
Sponsored by Food & Wine Magazine, some of the best culinary talent in the country will arrive at Beaver Creek for four days of great skiing paired with fantastic food and wine in the evening. The weekend will feature cooking demonstrations, wine and spirits tasting events, gourmet wine pairing dinners and hours and hours of fantastic skiing. Tickets and lodging available at Beaver Creek’s website.
International Snow Sculpting Championships
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center, January 27–31
Snow artists from around the globe converge in Breckenridge at the end of January to compete in North American’s most prestigious ice sculpting competition. Sponsored by Budweiser, 15 teams will begin their masterpieces by carving 12-foot tall blocks of ice in downtown Breckenridge, taking five days to finish. Sculpting begins January 27 and must be complete by the 31 for judging. Teams usually pull an all-nighter on the 30th, which is the most festive night of the event. Cold weather permitting, the sculptures will remain on display into February.
Winter Brew Fest
Mile High Station, 2027 W Lower Colfax Ave., January 23 & 24
Celebrate craft beer at this intimate festival at Mile High Station in Denver. Now in its 10th year, the Winter Brew Fest features beers from around the country, live music and food. Proceeds from the event benefit Swallow Hill Music Foundation. This year the event will be two nights, Friday and Saturday, January 23 and 24, featuring almost 50 different breweries. VIP tickets are only $45 ($50 day of the event) and includes an extra hour of tasting from 6-7 PM. General Admission tickets are $35 ($40 day of the event). Souvenir glass included.
Steamboat Springs, February 4–8
Would you let your kid put on skis and be pulled by a horse while jumping ramps on Mainstreet? If you answered yes to that, then this family-friendly event is for you! There are also events for adults, like being pulled by a horse while sitting on a snow shovel. For over 100 years, Steamboat Springs has been celebrating all sorts of goofy fun things to do in the snow at the Winter Carnival. There will also be indoor and outdoor parties with music, food and plenty of hot toddies.
Photo via Ullr Fest
Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Festival, Games, Outdoor Seating, Parties