ULLR is locally celebrated as the Nordic god of snow, but according to Norse mythology, he is the stepson of Thor and the god of snowshoes, hunting, the bow, and the shield. There are weeks in Breckenridge where one could be forgiven for assuming Ullr is the god of sharing adult beverages in the snowy outdoors while watching parades and burning things while wearing pelts and horned caps. For long time locals, Alden Spillman is the physical embodiment of the Norse god, and has dressed as Ullr for the annual UllrFest for as long as anyone remembers - certainly before his daughter, who is now a grown woman, was born. Alden, a photographer and historian, is said to have the best collection of early ski town photos. His imposing physical presence and authentic pelts and helmet are always a highlight of any Breckenridge event he graces. If you ever have a chance to attend a show of his Breckenridge photography- GO! These priceless records of Breck in the 60’s a and 70’s with dirt roads and hand painted ice cream trucks and hippies making a home in the Victorian town are an important part of American ski heritage. Check @BreckenridgeHeritageAlliance on Facebook for more.
Ullr has been called the god of winter and the god of snow as well as the other things Wikipedia tell us, and that is why Breckenridge is a town that celebrates Ullr. Each January a week long Ullr Festival with events for all ages and interests is held in Breckenridge, including a rowdy parade on Main Street and a bonfire featuring Christmas trees saying their ultimate goodbye. (This writer reminders the less informed days of yore when it was believed that burning ski equipment was a sure way to please Ullr and guarantee more snow. As a young and broke ski bum, the gear deemed burnable was often better than my current set up and always shocking. And also the toxic smoke, but those were different times…) In 2019 the festival is January 9-12, and family friendly- but retains enough of its rowdy early days to be true to its roots. The parade and festival are on January 10th and the jewel in the crown, but certainly not the only event on the docket.
See the entire 2019 Ullr Fest schedule here. Breckenridge Associates Real Estate’s Main Street Office is a great place to gather to join in the parade festivities!