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In Ouray, ice is hot

Weekend’s winter wonderland welcomed worldwide

For 21 years, the picturesque hamlet of Ouray has hosted one of the biggest ice climbing celebrations in the world, the Ouray Ice Festival. Home to the renowned Ouray Ice Park, a mile stretch of the Uncompahgre Gorge up to 150 feet deep with walls of sheer ice, the town every winter draws climbers from all corners of the world. The nonprofit park is maintained by a small team of operators known as ice farmers, and the 150,000 to 200,000 gallons of water used every night to farm the ice is overflow from the city’s water supply tanks. More than 7,000 feet of irrigation pipe is used to accommodate the more than 200 individual climbing routes. The free park is generally open from mid-December to mid-March and attracts a steady stream of visitors vital to Ouray’s winter tourism economy. The festival, which includes climbing clinics, equipment demonstrations and exhibits, runs through Sunday.

If you go

For a full schedule and more information on the Ice Park and the Ouray Ice Festival, visit www.ourayicepark.com/ouray-ice-festival.

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