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Wintersköl in Aspen

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Around Town Family Fun Festivals Outdoor Activities Winter Activities

Aspen’s Annual Wintersköl (mid-January of each year) is the perfect time to offer a “toast to winter” in the Colorado Rockies. The magic of winter in Aspen includes gorgeous scenery, bright bluebird days, thick blankets of snow, unbeatable skiing and boarding, and ultimately, never-ending adventure in the great outdoors.

When is Wintersköl 2020?

Wintersköl 2020 will be taking place from January 9–12, 2020.

How Did Wintersköl Begin?

Wintersköl is more than a simple winter festival; it’s a weekend-long celebration of all things winter, filled with unique on-mountain and in-town activities. This annual Aspen party is still going strong after 69 years (as of 2020).

When you enjoy today’s Wintersköl events and activities, be sure to thank the ingenuity and independent spirit of the founders of this event - Aspen residents in the early 1950s. The first Wintersköl winter festival was held in 1951 to celebrate "Aspen's unique Nordic lifestyle." According to a January 1977 Snowmass Affairs magazine article, Aspen’s citizens decided to create a January celebration for the month when the town became unbearably slow and quiet.

Since that first celebration, Wintersköl has become a beloved annual tradition. The entire Aspen area — from Ashcroft to Aspen Highlands to Snowmass — has gotten involved in planning and participating in Wintersköl festivities. Some of Wintersköl’s most anticipated events include Wintersculpt (a snow sculpture contest), the Canine Fashion Show and of course, the annual fireworks display.

What is the Wintersköl Theme?

Each year, a theme is chosen by the Wintersköl Committee.  This year’s theme is "Legendary Past, Visionary Future.” 

A few Wintersköl themes from past years are:

  • “Together We Move Mountains” (2019)
  • “Better Together” (2018)
  • “Our Cup Runneth Over” (2017)

What is Wintersköl Royalty?

Each year, community members nominate individuals in the Aspen community to be chosen as Wintersköl King and Queen. Each nomination must include a paragraph explaining why the nominee was chosen, and how the nominee meets a list of criteria from the Aspen Chamber.

The nominee must:

  • Exemplify the Wintersköl spirit of community involvement and goodwill.
  • Have made a significant contribution to the community.
  • Have embraced life in our mountain town and its variety of activities.
  • Will be present during the entire 2020 Wintersköl celebration.
  • Has not served as Wintersköl royalty in the past.

What is Wintersculpt?

One of the annual Wintersköl highlights, Wintersculpt is an outdoor team event. Each year, community members are invited to gather teams and compete in this 48-hour snow sculpture event. Each sculpting team works through the day (and often night) to transform an 8-foot cube of snow into a competitively creative sculpture. Once the sculpting period ends, a panel judges each team’s sculpture based on execution, creativity, and rule-following. During the entire process the public is welcome to stroll through the area and watch snow art being made.

Anderson Ranch Arts Center also invites local middle school teams to participate in a KIDSCULPT snow sculpture competition, where students work with a 4-foot (versus an 8-foot) cube.

What Else Happens at Wintersköl?

Specific Aspen and Snowmass Wintersköl activities vary from year to year, but some events return consistently.

  • Awards luncheon for the ACRA Business and Nonprofit of the Year Awards, the Molly Campbell Award, and the Defy Ordinary Awards
  • Story Book Hour and hot chocolate for children at the Little Nell
  • AVSC Rail Jam
  • Aspen History Film Screenings
  • Apple Strudel Downhill Race (“Where Everybody Wins!") at Highlands
  • Torchlight Ski Descent & Wintersköl Fireworks Extravaganza
  • Naturalist Nights
  • “Sundown at the Sundeck” bonfire celebration on Aspen Mountain
  • Ullr Nights winter wonderland party at Snowmass Mountain’s Elk Camp
  • Wintersköl Free Public Ice Skate at Lewis Ice Arena
  • Winterfest and its Canine Fashion Show
  • Wintersköl BINGO at the library
  • Musical artists at the Belly Up

Need More Wintersköl Details?

Come to Aspen and experience Wintersköl for yourself this January. Contact the Aspen Square Condominium Hotel concierge staff for more details on Wintersköl and other Aspen events happening while you’re here. Our concierge team is always happy to assist you with planning your stay at Aspen Square Hotel. Call 1-970-925-1000 x3515, or email concierge@aspensquarehotel.com.

If you’re not an Aspen Square guest, call the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) at 970-925-1940 for more event specifics.