Each year, the charming Colorado town of Ouray, also known as Switzerland of America, plays host to one of winter’s most exciting events – the Ouray Ice Festival! January 18 – 21, 2018 marks the 23rd annual festival in this southwestern Colorado town. From novice to old pros, ice climbers from all over the world descend upon Ouray each year for this three-day, three-night festival. Mark your calendar for this fantastic fundraiser benefitting the Ouray Ice Park.
Ouray Ice Festival Schedule
If you will be heading to the San Juan Mountains to attend this year’s Ouray Ice Festival, brush up on all the happenings for weekend so you don’t miss any great events. Don’t miss the kick-off party on day one, Thursday, January 18. Location, time and price are still TBD, but check the website in a few weeks for more details.
Friday is when things really start to heat up. Head to the Ouray Ice Park for the Outdoor Gear Expo, open from 8:00am – 3:00pm. In between drooling over incredible gear at the expo, hop into one of the ice festival clinics brought to you by the San Juan Mountain Guides, available at 9:30am and 12:30pm. Walk-up climbing will be available all day, 10:00am – 3:00pm, at the Ouray Ice park near the upper bridge. Walk-up climbing is also free! As the sun starts to set on day 2 of this exciting festival, stick around for presentations, a silent auction and beer from Upslope Brewing Company. All the details are TBD, so check back in the coming weeks for more details.
Kick off Saturday once again with the Outdoor Gear Expo, Clinics and Walk-up Climbing, all happening at the same times and locations as Friday. While you are keeping busy with clinics and the expo, the kids can join in on the free kids Climbing College from 10:00am – 3:00pm at the Ouray Ice Park. If you need a little motivation, head to the top of the Gorge to witness the Ouray Ice Festival Elite Mixed Climbing Competition from 9:00am – 3:00pm. The afternoon wraps up with more presentations, a live auction, beer and the Jeff Lowe Award, once again brought to you by Upslope. Round out the evening with the Petzl Party at the Community Center from 10:00 pm – 1:00pm. Check back for the party theme in a couple of weeks!
Sunday will once again bring the Gear Expo, the Clinics, Walk-up Climbing and the Kids Climbing College. At 9:00am, the Hari Berger Speed Competition, sponsored by LOWA, kicks off at the Ouray Ice Park. Stick around until 2:00pm for the Asolo Awards Ceremony at the Lower Bridge to see if your favorite climber will take home the prize!
Ouray Ice Festival Clinics
Whether you are an ice climbing fanatic, or fresh to the sport, this exciting event will be one for the books. Ouray will transform into an ice climbing mecca and attendees will be able to soak up the knowledge of the pros and have the opportunity to demo the latest ice tool, gear and apparel from the leading retailers of the outdoor industry. Check back in December for details of the All Access Pass to ensure entry into all of the exciting events this year. For a list of all the available clinics from the San Juan Mountain Guides, as well as all the full day seminars available, check out the full schedule here. Make sure to register early, as clinics will and already have booked up! Happy climbing!
*Featured image courtesy of Summit Post.