By Matt Kroschel

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – For the 53rd year in a row Ullr (ooh-ler) Fest takes over downtown Breckenridge and things are getting wild, probably from the lack of oxygen and ample amounts of liquor.

Ullr Quick Facts

Who is Ullr?: Ullr is the Norse god of snow.

“I’m not sure I’m saying this right.”: Ullr rhymes with ruler.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

What is Ullr Fest?

Think of it as a town-wide snow dance in Breckenridge. Locals and visitors don the icon of Ullr Fest — Viking helmets — and participate in a series of events including the Ullympics, a notorious Main Street parade, pond hockey, and more. It’s this community’s way of showing a little love to Ullr, all in the hopes that he’ll bring more snow to the mountains of Breckenridge.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ullr Fest

CBS4’s Matt Kroschel helped judge the Ullr Fest Parade Thursday afternoon on Main Street.

Ullr Fest takes place Jan. 13-16.

LINK: http://UllrFest.com

In 2013, the Breckenridge Distillery began the tradition of the pre-parade shot ski — each year attempting to break the unofficial record for world’s longest. Additional events include family ice skating party, Ullympics (group ski racing, anyone?), Breck’s Got Talent, Ullr Bike (winter/fat bike race, new in 2015)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

• New for 2016: Ullr Ice Plunge — Test your mettle with the new frosty water swim in Maggie Pond on Friday. Hangover breakfasts, a DJ, $0 entry fee and toasty prizes (you’ll need it) reward those who brave the icy challenge.
• Ullr Bike: The momentum continues — grab a headlamp and get pedaling.
• Ullr Shot Ski expands: Guinness may not recognize alcohol-related records, but that won’t stop Breckenridge Distillery. In 2015 they poured shots for 777 people (over 100 more than in 2014!) on the record-breaking shot ski, which was composed of 254 individual skis bolted together. The uber-long tradition continues in 2016.

 

A LITTLE HISTORY

Breckenridge’s story begins in 1859 with gold-seeking prospectors. We’ll fast-forward to the 1960s when the pioneers came in the form of skiers whose Norwegian roots run deep. Trygve Berge and Sigurd Rockne — the same pair who founded what was to become Breckenridge Ski Resort — also started Ullr Fest, then known as Ullr Dag (Ullr Day in Norwegian).

The story says it’s all about paying homage to Ullr, both thanking him for Breckenridge’s bountiful snowfall and honoring him in hopes of more snow. That’s true, but we’ve also got the hunch that a handful of snowed-in locals wanted an excuse to throw a theme party.

Today we’ve traded the Aquavit for Ullr Schnapps and Breckenridge Distillery libations. The themes that started it all — snow and Vikings and Breckenridge — continue in the form of Bedazzled Ullr helmets, fake fur clothing, a Viking’s take on the Olympics, and a parade that celebrates life in a ski town.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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