Ice: It’s Not Just for Whiskey! Welcome to the Ouray Ice Fest

By January 11, 2013 Mountain Life, Outdoor, Ski No Comments

Some may mark January as a time for New Year’s resolutions. Others see it a holy month (football fans). Then there are us mountain folk of the skirt-wearing variety. …

We know January is the coldest month in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, making it the perfect month to kick some serious ICE.

This January 10th-13th don’t miss the Ouray Ice Festival. This is the first of a three-part installment on all-things ice for the Ice Fest weekend.

With over 200 routes and setting in the beautiful Ouray, CO , the Ice Fest consistently draws thousands to learn about what most (outside of the outdoor community) might see as a fringe sport. There will be winter weather this weekend (thankfully) so dress for the cold and snow.

It’s hard to believe that the Ouray Ice Festival turns 18 this year! One of the nation’s most popular ice festivals, Ouray brings people in from all over the world to Colorado’s very own “little Switzerland” to experience the unique Ouray Ice Park.

We’ve compiles a Diva’s Guide to the Ouray Ice Festival – read on:

  • This season the Ouray Ice Park is planning on the best fest yet. By adding a speed climb event as well as a 25 ft. overhanging tower to heighten the elite mixed climb route, this year is sure to take the fest to the next level.
  • The Hari Berger Speed Climbing Comp, hosted by Lowa will take place on Sunday, January 13.  The Ouray Ice Park claims this new comp “will be fast and furious at our most spectator friendly venue ever.”  Sounds like it’s one not to miss. Same with the new mixed climbing wall, both events feature men and women categories that are sure to be fierce, fun, and entertaining.
  • Every walk of life is welcomed at The Ouray Ice Fest with its array of clinics, sponsor booths, and events. Whether you’re a spectator, beginner, or veteran there’s something to learn and new to see at this years fest. Emily Harrington is very familiar with the event, being last year’s women’s categories winner. Emily, is fairly new to the sport but with another year under her harness, she’ll undoubtedly be one to watch as she defends her title. Check this video out of Emily’s new experience and journey on the ice.

We couldn’t offer a true Mountain Diva perspective without shouting out THE Colorado climbing Divas- Chicks with Picks.

Kim Reynolds, founder and Head Chick, is nothing short of an amazing and inspiring Diva. She’s kind of one of the first Mountain Divas. … She’s built Chick’s Climbing from an ice climbing program for women to a year-round, go-to climbing epicenter for women. Read all about this amazing organization here.

Chicks Climbing specializes in supporting women to grow into self-sufficient, confident and skilled climbers. The team at Chicks Climbing are huge supporters of the Ouray Ice Park, which is a non-profit and maintained by and operated by volunteers. To date, they’ve raised roughly $12,000 for the park.

Here’s a little more beta on the Fest from MTN_Diva:

– For the weather and ice conditions click here for the forecast. It’s looking snowy and cold (sounds exciting!) so if you happen to forget your warm digs or break gear, stop by Ouray Mountain Sports. They’ve got a killer selection of women’s goods and sweet-a** apparel and hats, as well as the functional gear Diva’s need.

– Don’t miss the silent auction/expo at the Ouray Community Center in the evenings and be sure to visit the Ouray Brewing Company! If you’re hanging with the fam try the Buen Tiempo Mexican Restaurant and Ouray hot springs for a more mellow and relaxing night!

This years Ouray Ice Fest is bound to knock you on your ice (okay last one…swear). Check back with us on Sunday night to hear how our Divas fared in the competition! Here’s the competitor line up of both the men and women who’ll be swinging tools this weekend!


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