For the 26th annual festival, organizers will be going a different direction with their first ever Virtual Ouray Ice Festival and Competition. The event will run from Jan. 21 to 24, 2021.
There will still be the Elite Mixed Climbing Competition, with some changes. The application process will open up on the website by Dec. 1, and up to 100 athletes will be permitted to compete. There will be at least two qualifying routes in additional to the traditional finals route, which ascends the mixed line Mighty Aphrodite M8+ to an artificial structure above.
The artificial structure will be extended and expanded so competitors can kick into it. The final routes have not yet been selected. The competition will be closed off to spectators to keep athletes and staff safe, but will be livestreamed to the masses for the first time in Ouray Ice Festival history. The livestream will be hosted by climbers Liam Lonsdale and Will Gadd.
This year, to ensure the safety of all climbers within the Park, clinics will be spread out throughout the entire Ice Park season. Clinics will still be available during our Virtual Ouray Ice Festival, but in limited capacity. Some clinics may also be virtual.
Demos will also be spread out throughout the entire Ice Park season. Only a few of the top sponsors will be able to demo gear in the Park during our Virtual Ouray Ice Festival. Most sponsors will be demoing gear to climbers on select dates throughout the season.
All evening events will be going virtual this year. Attendees will be able to purchase an All Access Pass on the website in order to access all of our digital content, including a virtual presentations, virtual happy hours, a virtual auction, and more.
“Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding while we navigate these uncertain times,” the festival said.
“We ask everyone to please be flexible with us as we continue to work on this new event structure. Our main priority is the safety of our climbers, and plans may change as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve. We will keep you updated on this page, as well as on our social media platforms.”
Below are two videos from the Ouray Ice Fest 2018, when Gripped’s editor caught up with Conrad Anker and Anne Gilbert Chase.