Shake Your Winter Blues With Colorado Winter Festivals

Posted on January 27, 2022 by Bailey Crumpton. Tagged: Colorado Culture, Things To Do In Denver

Bust those seasonal blues and plan something fun for you and a friend! Colorado has so much to offer year-round, but if you’re not from here you really should know that we have just as much fun in the winter as we do in the summer. Festivals are happening all over the state, many this year are opting to be fully outside to stay up to date with Covid-19 precautions. Whatever your comfort level, there’s something for everyone on this list- take a look!

Annual Winter Festivals Happening In 2024

When we think of classic Colorado Winter Festivals, there are a few gems that come to mind. From the Ouray Ice Festival and Cowboy Downhill in Steamboat that happened last weekend, to all the events ahead, Colorado blends culture with cooler temperatures for some of the most unique events in the country. Keep reading for more info on Breck’s snow sculptures, Winter Wondergrass in Steamboat, and Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland outside of Boulder!

Breckenridge’s International Snow Sculpture Championship

First up, Breckenridge’s International Snow Sculpture Championships is a crowd favorite, and free too! Teams from the US and globally hand-carve 25-ton blocks of snow into enormous, intricate works of snow art. Did you know no power tools are allowed? Talk about talent! In total, each team gets 96 hours to contribute their piece to the outdoor walkable gallery.

More Info: Viewing week for the sculptures is January 22 - 31, 2024. Outdoor sculptures will be on display 24/7 until the event concludes on February 2nd at 7:00pm. In the past this event has required visitors to make a timed entry reservation to help with crowd control from 10am-4pm on its final weekend, so keep an eye out if you're planning ahead.

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Frozen Dead Guy Days- Nederland

From their website: “Frostifarian Friends we’ve missed you so and are hoping you will join us on a voyage to the new FDGD Festival Frontier. None of us know for sure exactly what it will feel or look like but we do know there will be great music, excellent artists, fantastic food, craft beer, a frozen dead guy and bacon.” If this intro doesn’t mark the strangeness that is 2023 and ongoing events, we’re not sure what else does. Nearly everything happens outside despite the cold, and this traditional festival is a grand time with many unusual and very on-brand for Colorado events. Some of them include coffin racing, a polar plunge, frozen turkey bowling, and snowy human foosball. Don’t forget 3 days of live music!

More Info: 2024 dates are TBD, get more ticket info here.

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Steamboat Springs' Winter Carnival

Steamboat’s Winter Carnival is one of legend. In fact, this historic event even made the Top Ten Winter Carnivals in the World list by National Geo. Steamboat’s carnival features ski-jumping competitions, dog-sled pulls, snow sculptures, a parade, a s’mores party, a cross-country obstacle races and a spectacular fireworks display, and more. There are so many events happening that it would take us a minute to list them all.

More info: Happening February 7 - 11, 2024, the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival has many events that require pre-registration to join. Make sure to reserve whichever events you or your family/friends want to participate in. There is a small upfront cost and you must have a button/buff to view or participate in events.

Winter Wondergrass Festival- Steamboat

Another great event out of Steamboat, The WinterWonderGrass Festival has also gained popularity, and is an unmissable event for those who enjoy bluegrass and beer. Enjoy sips from over 20 CO breweries, and tunes from 25 bands over 3 days. This year’s festival headliners include Trampled by Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Kitchen Dwellers, The Travelin’ McCourys, and more.

More Info: March 1-3, 2024. Children under 12 are free and seniors over 75 enter free for this event. The rest of us will need tickets, you can find them here.

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Other Unique Events Across Colorado

UllrGrass in Golden

When: TBD

What: Dig up you’re Viking horns and fury coats for this family-friendly winter music and beer fest in Golden. Just a short drive west of Denver, you can catch the UllrGrass Park Parade, music from local and national bluegrass musicians and tons of local food and craft vendors.

11th Annual Front Range International Film Festival

When: Feb 18th, 2024

What: The 11th Annual Front Range Film Festival features ‘Colorado Craft Cinema’ with a focus on Colorado filmmakers and locations as well as a curated collection of domestic and international films. Explore current events and issues, experience the rush of extreme outdoor adventures, and travel to the far reaches of the globe during FRFF in Longmont, CO.

Colorado Pond Hockey Tournament

When: TBD February 2024

What: Anyone can enter this ice hockey tournament sponsored by PBR in Silverthorne! There are over $10,000 in cash prizes, and it’s followed by the Après Ice Party.

Carnivale & Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off

When: 2024 Dates TBD

What: In an ode to Martigras, known hippie town Manitou Springs hosts their version of Carnivale. It kicks off with CarniBall on Friday night, followed by the 26th Cajun Gumbo Cook-Off and a parade downtown if you’re in the Colorado Springs area.

Leadville Ski Joring and Crystal Carnival

When: March 1-3rd, 2024

What: Call it the mini version of the Steamboat Winter Carnival, Leadville’s biggest event of the year includes a crazy type of ski joring where a skier holds onto ropes that are attached to a horse, and then pulled down Harrison Avenue in downtown Leadville. Fastest time wins. Visitors can also enjoy skiing, sledding, and ice skating. More info here.

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Skate It Out With Local Ice Rinks

When: Anytime

What: There are many spots in and around Denver where you can go ice skating for a romantic date night, or a chance to laugh at your friends as they gracefully land on the ice. Open through February 20th, The Downtown Denver Rink is back open again! If you’re willing to drive a bit further, you can also skate at the Longmont Ice Pavilion, the Historic Downtown Louisville rink, Beaver Creek in Avon, and Fort Collins’ Old Town Square. In February, Acacia Park‘s rink will also let you rent “ice bumper cars”—what??

Bust A Move With Danceportation & Other Meow Wolf Special Events

When: Various nights throughout the winter

What: Meow Wolf Denver, Convergence Station will host Party Portal: Danceportation. Featuring DJs on three stages throughout the exhibit, music starts at midnight and wraps up around 4am, with alcohol service until 2am. Danceportation is the brainchild of a newly formed partnership between Meow Wolf and Live Nation that’s expected to bring other unique events to Convergence Station in 2024.

Transport Yourself Through Time With A Magical Sleigh Ride

When: Anytime

What: If you haven’t been on a mountain sleigh ride adventure, we highly recommend it. There are different places you can go, like Breckenridge and Keystone, but some rides happen at night, and lead you under the stars to a cabin in the woods with warm soup and a live band. No, really. Not into horses? There’s always dogs and dog sledding!

When it comes to things to do in Colorado, we really could go on all day. Maybe it’s our love for this great state, or the fact that Coloradans really never slow down, but either way we are always trying new things to enjoy life. Let us know what you’re doing this winter on social media, we’d love to know!

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