Randy and I have been attending the Ouray Ice Festival for some time now, and we love the city of Ouray, CO. If you haven’t been the “Switzerland of America” it should make your list of places to visit in Colorado. The town is full of rich mining history and even has several hot springs and incredible trails to rock crawl with your four-wheeler. In the summer, the town has incredible drives through the mountains, wildflower hikes, biking and more. In the winter, the town buzzes with winter festivals, outdoor activities and the Ouray Ice Climbing Park which is a world-class engineering marvel. The ice park is home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs and is only 15 minutes walking distance from town. Oh, did I mention its FREE? The park itself is free for climbers of all skill levels to enjoy, and there are many guides who use this park for guiding purposes. Every year the town hosts one of the best ice climbing festivals in North America- the Ouray Ice Festival.
Randy and I heard about it three years ago. We ventured up to the fest, just to see it. It was a super snowy day and we saw some of the competitors, it was amazing to watch. Just as a spectator the fest was full of energy, booths galore, people everywhere, and so much to see. The following year, we started checking into the event a bit closer, and decided to partake in one of the clinics. We decided to take beginner clinic to get solid techniques for future climbing, and it was such a blast! We were hooked and climbed again twice that year with private guides and also at the Bozeman Ice Festival. Subaru also saw the buzz around ice climbing and so this year, we were able to come in at a sponsorship level. The official Car Sponsor to be exact! To me this is an incredible opportunity to be able to sponsor such an event with so many people (most of which either were Subaru die-hards, or were interested in joining the Subaru fam!)
During the Ouray Ice Festival, it was an absolute joy to be able to connect with people at our booth about Subaru and talk with them about the Subaru Adventure Team. They were interested in what we were doing, and thought the adventure team was a kick-ass way to encourage others to adventure out more and experience new things, much like Randy and I did learning to ice climb. We must have given out hundreds of beanies, water bottles, stickers and shirts! It was really great to see a sea of green Subaru Adventure Team bags and blue Subaru water bottles. Each booth had their own giveaways, gear demos, swag, and even libations to celebrate such a fun sport.
Every day was filled with excited new ice climbers, and pro-athlete climbers all among each other enjoying a world-class event. There are competitions like speed climbing and mixed climbing that showcase some serious climbing skills. At the end of each day there are special events for attendees like the famous Petzl Party, spaghetti dinner, presentations, and more.
This year’s “theme” was Women in Climbing and it was really great to hear women climbers like Kitty Calhoun, Angelika Rainer and others represent the sport and talk about their experiences. It really amps me up to know that everyone starts somewhere and gives me confidence in my own abilities. In fact, one of my friends stopped by the event, and we even roped her up to try out the free Adult-Only wall and to ice climb for the first time! I love being able to help others and to encourage others to try something new. I think that’s what I love most about Subaru Adventure Team- inspiring others to go beyond comfort zones and really press their boundaries. Even my own. The weekend was a whirl-wind but one that is engrained in many, including myself. Next year, we’re going to try out some advanced ice climbing clinics and footwork techniques, and look forward to sponsoring the Ouray Ice Festival next year as well!