As Coloradans, we tend to have a love-hate relationship with ice. It’s beautiful when it’s hanging off trees after a snowfall, but dangerous when it’s under our feet and tires. Celebrating its 10th year with a “Safari in Ice” theme, Cripple Creek’s Ice Festival is an out of the ordinary event that is sure to make you see ice in a new way. Best of all, the event is free.

Photo courtesy of Colorado Springs Community on Facebook.

Dozens of 160-pound ice blocks will be delivered to Cripple Creek’s Bennet Avenue to be carved into immaculate masterpieces by hand, chainsaw and other tools. In past years, themes have included Old West, Medieval and Under the Sea among others.

Attendees will be able to climb on several ice sculptures to take photos and kids will have tons of fun on slides, in mazes, and at carnival games all made out of ice.

During both event weekends, live music will flood the streets and local vendors will fulfill any shopaholic’s needs. The ice bar with a liquor luge ensures you will always have a drink in your hand.

Photo courtesy of Visit Pikes Peak on Facebook.

After the event — or if you are just looking to take a break and warm up — Cripple Creek is one of only a few gambling cities in Colorado and has plenty of Gold Rush history to learn and enjoy. Plenty of hotels and casinos line the roads and bets tend to be way less expensive than Vegas and Blackhawk. Dollar craps, anyone? 

Carving begins the evening of Wednesday, February 8, vendors will be set up on Friday, February 10 and the festivities begin on Saturday, February 11. Then next weekend — February 18 and 19 — will be chock-full of sculptures, music and fun as well.

For more information and the live music schedule, go here.