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Sandstone Ice Fest Wrap-Up

Posted on: December 16th, 2009 by Great Lakes Section

As reported by Tony Vavricka, Event Director for the Sandstone Ice Festival

A big thanks to everyone who helped to make the Sandstone Ice Festival a great event. This was the fifth year of the festival; Dawn Glanc was the guest speaker, there were some awesome sponsors, and there is a very good possibility of an ice park coming soon.

Having a world-class athlete as the guest speaker was a new feature for the event. Dawn Glanc was great; she hung out all three days of the event, giving climbing tips and encouraging everyone tied to a rope. Her slide show was excellent and inspiring, covering the dream of a beginner to the winning of the 2009 Ouray Ice Festival.

As the Sandstone Ice Festival grows, so does the sponsors list. Demo gear showed up from Black Diamond, La Sportiva, Scarpa and Petzl. Cozy, warm demo parkas were provided by Mountain Hardwear. Thanks to all the sponsors that donated goodies to the door prizes: Atomiks, Mad Rock, Grand Casino Hinckley, Redpoint Nutrition and all the other sponsors that added to the fun. Thanks to Peace Coffee and Surly for providing beverage samples and thanks to the Days Inn for giving the room discounts.

Every year the event introduces new climbers to the challenges of moving on ice. The ice climbing clinics at the festival filled quickly this year thanks to the clinic instructors; Kiri, Amy, Rubens, Jon, James, Dean, Kaija, Kendra, Gina and Matt.

Besides the ice climbing, winter sports lovers showed up for the winter camping and the great hiking and skiing on the trails that lead into Banning State Park. Blake Cazier of Positive Energy Outdoor (ed)Ventures brought a couple dogs and a sled. My 6 year old daughter, Lily, went for her first dogsled ride (Thanks Blake!). Ski Pulks were also made available by designer Ed Bouffard.

Thanks to Greg Martin for all he has done for this festival and the past events. Besides organizing the volunteers and helping with the set-up and tear down, Greg was available to help with all the big and little decisions that go along with planning a large event. Greg’s positive perspective made opportunities out of the many hurdles involved in the planning of the Ice Festival.

Even though the ice was thin this year, everyone was having a great time climbing and enjoying the winter. The community support of the festival is strong and steps are being made to make ice farming possible in the near future.

Read more about the Sandstone Ice Festival on Nora’s blog at

-Tony Vavricka
Event Director
Sandstone Ice Festival


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