Winter Carnivals in Colorado
Coloradans consider winter our most privileged season, and we love to celebrate all that comes with it at winter carnivals across the state.
Vail Snow Daze, Dec. 12–14, 19–21, 2014
This bash welcomes the ski and snowboard season with a Dummy Demolition Derby, free concerts and a rockin’ street fair in Vail Village. Last year’s headliners featured Weezer, O.A.R. and Dwight Yoakam.
12 Days of Aspen: Dec. 20–31, 2014
Downtown comes alive with a variety of free holiday activities, cookies, hot chocolate and much more to celebrate the holidays and the winter season.
Breckenridge ULLR Fest: Jan. 11–17, 2015
Snow lovers celebrate Norse mythology dressed as vikings with Ullympic competitions (such as frying-pan flinging), a downtown Breckenridge parade and bonfire, nighttime snowshoeing, ice-staking and pond hockey.
Wintersköl in Aspen: Jan. 8–11, 2015
Aspen's annual "toast to winter" dates back to January 1951 when locals began celebrating the town's unique Nordic lifestyle. The-four day fest features on-mountain activities, Soupsköl, a canine fashion show, winterfest, fireworks and much more.
Estes Park Winter Festival: Jan. 16–19, 2015
Downtown Estes Park glows with winter lights, and winter fun includes a chili cook-off, scavenger hunt, snowshoe event, igloo making, stargazing, carriage rides and tons of other family activities.
Winter Park Winter Carnival: Jan. 24-25, 2015
This fest is a birthday party for one of the area's colorful early residents — a gal named Mary Jane — with live music, fireworks, a snow-sculpture contest, sled races, snowshoe treks and more in Winter Park.
Steamboat Springs' Winter Carnival: Feb. 1–15, 2015
Steamboat has reveled in their bounty of trademark Champagne Powder since 1914. The carnival features ski-jumping competitions, dog-sled pulls, cross-country obstacle races, a tubing party and a spectacular fireworks display.
Pagosa Springs' Winterfest: Feb. 13–15, 2015
Are you brave enough to submerge yourself in the San Juan River's Penguin Plunge? Test your sledding skills in the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race or sit back and watch the Rail Jam competition in Pagosa Springs.
Ski Joring & Crystal Carnival in Leadville: March 6–8, 2015
A fearless skier navigates an obstacle course connected by towrope to a horse and rider galloping at top speed, and it all takes place in the middle of town, in addition to a winter carnival with other snowy activities.
Colorado Ice Festivals
Though they don’t linger too long during Colorado’s sunny winter months, frozen masterpieces created by gifted ice artisans leave a lasting impression.
Ouray Ice Festival: Jan. 8–11, 2015
Though it’s an ice festival of a different sort, Ouray’s celebration is one of the most spectacular. Each year, 3,000 climbers descend on the town to ascend the Ouray Ice Park’s mile-long frozen gorge, while spectators watch in amazement.
Budweiser International Snow Sculpting Championship: Jan. 27–31, 2015
Teams from around the world spend a week in Breckenridge gently coaxing intricate sculptures out of 20-ton blocks of snow.
Cripple Creek Ice Festival: Feb. 13–15, 21–22, 2015
Artists deftly use chainsaws to carve clear creations along Cripple Creek’s main street, while families frolic through an ice maze and sip hot chocolate.
Ski & Snowboard Competitions
• USSA Grand Prix in Copper Mountain: Dec. 5, 2014
• Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge: Dec. 11–14, 2015
• X Games Aspen: Jan. 22–25, 2015
• FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail & Beaver Creek: Feb. 2–15, 2015
• Audi Power of Four Ski Mountaineer Race, Snowmass: Feb. 28, 2015
Other Colorado Winter Events
• Denver Christkindle Market: Nov. 21–Dec. 23, 2014
• Downtown Boulder's Switch on the Holidays: Nov. 23, 2014
• Estes Park's Catch the Glow Parade & Celebration: Nov. 28–30, 2014
• Greeley Lights the Night Parade: Nov. 29, 2014
• Olde Country Christmas in Elizabeth: Nov. 29, 2014
• Olde Golden Christmas in Golden: Nov. 29–Dec. 24, 2014
• Denver Parade of Lights: Dec. 5–6, 2014
• CU Presents: Boulder Holiday Festival: Dec. 5–7, 2014
• 52st Annual Georgetown Christmas Market in Georgetown: Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14, 2014
• Winter Arts & Crafts Show in Craig: Dec. 12–13, 2014