When you think of Colorado, you think of Vail, Denver, even climbers think of Eldorado or Archangel. For thousands of people, Ouray, Colorado is quick-becoming an essential destination to test their unique skills at the Ouray Ice Festival.
Started in 1996 by Jeff Lowe the Ouray Ice Festival is the premier location to for ice climbers around the world to come and showcase their talents in North America. Over the last 20 years, the festival has attracted numerous visitors, vendors and professional climbers alike to the tiny city of Ouray, located right in the middle of what was former “mining country.”
With the days of the great western gold rush behind us, Ouray seemed to be heading towards becoming a destitute location with no real economy. This, of course, was until 1991, when two local businessmen decided that Ice was the key to their survival and began working with city engineers and exisisting infrastructure to gather and distribute ice to many of the neiboring mountainlands. This created an ice climbers dream, and as the sport has grown, the city of Ouray has begun to flourish and the little town of Ouray, became, what is considered, “Switzerland of America”