Viking energy at ULLR festival

Getting from the Denver airport to Breckenridge at an altitude of 9,600 ft  in the mountains has been a real challenge.  The highway was shut down going down the mountain, and closed returning from the airport.

There was no snow in Denver, but the highway up the mountain was closed due to an avalanche.

My fiancé was determined not to spend yet another night at the Econolodge by the airport, so we braved the back roads returning from the airport along with all the other locals.  A two hour drive turned into four hours with speeds of 40 mph.

We followed a mountain shuttle driver who picks people up at the airport.  Thank god we were able to follow his lights in the driving snow.  It was the kind of snow that hypnotizes you over long periods of driving.

When we arrived home our cars were buried by 2 feet of snow. Our  plough driver said he needs to bring in a front loader to remove the snow, as there is too much to just plough.

They closed the ski area at “A Basin” because there was TOO Much snow.  Who ever heard of that happening?  The local radio tells us there has not been this amount of snow since 1917, over a hundred years ago.

I started to wonder how men and women survived 100 years ago in this snow.  We had ordered home-chef delivery and our box was somehow at our door buried in snow.  It reminded me of the miners who had groceries delivered by mule train once a month, and often found boxes of frozen food in the snow bank in spring – and the food was still frozen.

My fiancé shovelled for 2 days straight and we are expecting another storm this weekend.

Now we find ourselves saying “what have we done moving here”?

We arrived and stopped at the store for eggs. Inside there were 5 or 10 people wearing viking helmets.

They told me today is the start of ULLR festival.  ULLR is the god of snow.

We were told to go into town and get our viking helmets for the parade.

My fiance ran to town and came back with two viking helmets covered in jewels and fur, with only 5 minutes to spare before the festival began.

We put our helmets on, grabbed our dogs and headed down to the main street.  There were 1,000 people lined up to do “shotski”.  That is a series of skis bolted together the length of the town, with 3 shot glasses per ski velcrod to the ski.  Everyone had viking helmets on.  There was a master of ceremonies counting down.  Everyone took their shot of whisky off the ski at the same time.

This was followed by a viking parade, where they chanted “ULLR, ULLR, ULLR”

Then there was a huge town bonfire where they burned all the old christmas trees.

It was great to return to this crazy energy.  We went to the irish pub and had fishbites and listened to live music and danced in our viking helmets.  Where else could you do this?

This gold rush town is true to its roots of wildness and self-expression.

My fiance said this is a town where you can be yourself.  I reflected upon the accounts of women in the 1800’s who said that they were able to be themselves, no longer confined by society’s expectations.

This bubble  in the mountains called Breckenridge is a unique town, with unique energy.  It just makes you want to stay up here in the mountains until spring. Who knows what summer will bring.

What a crazy adventure this is!

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