The Cripple Creek Ice Festival will return in February 2023 after 2 years

Cripple Creek’s Bennett Avenue will once again be filled with elaborate ice sculptures and winter chasers.

The Cripple Creek Ice Festival makes its comeback after two years of hibernation. The event will be held from Feb. 18-26. The winter spectacle is an opportunity for ice carvers to showcase their work on an international stage.

“Thanks to all the support from all of those who love the Ice festival in the city and our various donors and sponsors, we are finally able to bring it back in 2023, which we're very excited about,” said Klaryssa Murray, Cripple Creek’s destination marketing coordinator.

The festival was first held in 2007. It attracts up to 30,000 visitors to the tiny mountain town. But the event was put on ice for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and budget concerns.

Various themes have been featured throughout the year. One year it was superheroes with sculptures of the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man hanging from ice webs between two blocks. Another year, the theme was Greek gods. Murray says this year there will be no theme.

“This year we do not have a theme so our carvers can carve to their strengths and get to pick whatever they'd like as long as it gets approved,” Murray said. “So those will be very cool. The sculptures can get rather large — which is super fun.”

The carving teams of four will also participate in a live head-to-head carving competition. Each team will have an hour to compete against each other in a stadium setting for a $1,000 cash prize each weekend. The public will vote on the best sculpture. The winner of the People’s Choice Award gets $5,000.