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. 11–13, 2015
This bash welcomes the ski and snowboard season with free concerts, a rockin’ street fair and a tree-lighting ceremony in Vail Village. This year's headliners include The Wallflowers, Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R. and Rusted Root.
12 Days of Aspen: Dec. 20–31, 2015
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. 13–16, 2016
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-skating and fat-bike racing.
Wintersköl in Aspen: Jan. 14–17, 2016
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 soup cook-off), a canine fashion show, winterfest, broomball and fat-biking competitions and much more.
Estes Park Winter Festival: Jan. 15–18, 2016
The Estes Park Events Complex comes alive with winter fun, including a chili cook-off, ski and snowboard demonstrations, ice-skating, beer and wine tasting and tons of other family activities.
Winter Park Winter Carnival: Feb. TBD, 2016
This fest is a birthday party for one of the area's colorful early residents — a gal named Mary Jane — with live music, fireworks, ice-skating lessons, sled races, horse-drawn carriage rides and more in Winter Park.
Steamboat Springs' Winter Carnival: Feb. 3–7, 2016
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. 12–14, 2016
Are you brave enough to submerge yourself in the San Juan River's Penguin Plunge? Test your cooking skills in the Anything Goes Chile Content or sit back and watch the Nordic Club races in Pagosa Springs.
Ski Joring & Crystal Carnival in Leadville: March 5–6, 2016
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. 14–17, 2016
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. 16–30, 2016
Teams from around the world spend a week in Breckenridge gently coaxing intricate sculptures out of 20-ton blocks of snow.
Ski & Snowboard Competitions
• USSA Grand Prix in Copper Mountain: Dec. TBD, 2015
• Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge: Dec. TBD, 2015
• X Games Aspen: Jan. 28–31, 2016
• Audi Power of Four Ski Mountaineer Race, Snowmass: Feb. TBD, 2015
Other Colorado Winter Events
• Denver Christkindle Market: Nov. 20–Dec. 23, 2015
• Downtown Boulder's Switch on the Holidays: Nov. 22, 2015
• Estes Park's Catch the Glow Parade & Celebration: Nov. 27–29, 2015
• Greeley Lights the Night Parade: Nov. 30, 2015
• Olde Country Christmas in Elizabeth: Nov. TBD, 2015
• Olde Golden Christmas in Golden: Nov. 14–Dec. 31, 2015
• Denver Parade of Lights: Dec. 4–5, 2015
• CU Presents: Boulder Holiday Festival: Dec. 4, 2015
• Georgetown Christmas Market in Georgetown: Dec. 4–5, 12–13, 2015
• Winter Arts & Crafts Show in Craig: Dec. 11–12, 2015