This year, the town of Breckenridge hosted its 53rd annual Ullr Fest. I decided that we should definitely check it out after I heard about the attempt to break the record for the longest shotski (I'm a sucker if there is alcohol involved).
What is Ullr Fest?
This Breckenridge tradition celebrates the winter god Ullr (pronounced Oool-er). In Norse mythology, Ullr was the son of Sif and the step-son of Thor, the 'God of Thunder'. Ullr loved the cold and loved to travel all over the country on his skis or skates. In Breckenridge, Ullr Fest is a massive snow dance where locals and tourists celebrate Ullr in the hopes that he'll bring more snow to the mountains. Coincidentally (or not), we received a bunch of much needed snow showers during the days of the festival after a dry spell.
Ullr Fest goes over 4 days (January 13th - 16th) and includes all sorts of festivities, some which are annual traditions and some which are new additions for the year. This year's event included a talent show, fat bike eliminator race, shotski, parade, bonfire and an ice plunge. During the event, it's totally normal to see people both on and off the mountain with viking hats and costumes.
longest Shotski WORLD Record Breaking Attempt
The shotski record breaking attempt caught my eye and I just knew I had to get in on the action, so we headed into Breckenridge for Thursday's events. A shotski is an actual ski with shots attached to it, usually schnapps, resulting in synchronised 'shooting'. You're sure to find one of these in a bar in a snow town.
For the Ullr shotski record, skis are joined together with each ski holding 3 shots. Breckenridge Distillery started the tradition in 2013 and were aiming to break last years record for the world's longest shotski. The participation cost was $5 with proceeds going to Breckenridge Mountain Rotary. I paid my $5 and was given my shot glass with velcro on the base to attach to the ski along with some festival beads and a wristband to show that I had been ID checked.
After a quick briefing, we all headed to main street and proceeded to join all the skis together. The team from Breckenridge Distillery filled up our cups with peppermint schnapps which had been made the day before (delicious!). The countdown began and then we all downed our schnapps together!
My biggest tip - take your cup off the shotski especially if you are vertically challenged like me otherwise you'll end up wearing it. Proud to say we set a new world record! There was a total of 271 skis and 831 people, breaking last year's record of 777 participants. They actually had to turn away around 300 people because they just didn't have enough skis. The shotski measured 396m/1301ft long down Main Street.
Check it out as we break the record in the video below. Click on HD for the best view.
A street parade was held right after the shotski and is considered to be the main event of Ullr Fest. Businesses and groups come together to parade down Main Street in their floats, carrying party goers who shower the crowd with candy. Check out our favourites in the gallery below. If there was an award for best float, I think it would have to go to the guys with a ski jump!
Ullr Fest Instagram Favourites
Fat Bike Elliminator
Ullr Bonfire - Christmas trees were welcome!
Ullr Ice Plunge
We had a great time at Ullr Fest and recommend getting in on the festivities if you are around. I really wish that I had gotten myself a viking hat and costume but maybe next time. Mick was going to take part in the ice plunge (he was enticed by the free lunch), but he totally chickened out at the last minute!
Have you ever done anything like the shotski? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!
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Jen spends most of her time following Mick around the mountain, often unintentionally off jumps and cliff drops. Currently on a mission to prove that you’re never too old to try freestyle. Aside from snowboarding, a little obsessed about tattoos, CrossFit, saving animals, learning to play the guitar and clean eating. Web designer and digital marketing nerd.