No, your eyes are not deceiving you, in a few weeks time over 200 athletes will descend upon Civic Center Park to ice climb. The UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Finals will take place in the park February 22 – 24, bringing athletes from 26 countries and erecting a 50-foot sheer ice wall for the sake of competition. Coupled with the competition, the park will also be transformed into Barbegazi, a free winter festival complete with axe throwing, a huge ice maze, a 300-foot-long Fat Tire biking course and a snowball target range. Likewise, food trucks, an ice bar, beer garden, music and fire pits will also be included in the festivities.
Come February, it will be the first time Denver has hosted the World Cup. The qualifying round for the finals took place last weekend in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Speaking on the experience of watching ice climbing, CEO of the American Alpine Club, Phil Powers, couldn’t hold back his enthusiasm.
“Competitive ice climbing is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever watched; the stamina, skill, and seeming impossibility of it all makes for an outstanding spectator experience. They’re up there doing crazy moves, wielding sharp tools and they hang on forever,” said Phil Powers, American Alpine Club CEO.
The event will be held at Civic Center Park, 101 W. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80202, and will be free and open to the public. Festival hours are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Check out the full event schedule below:
Friday, Feb. 22
The opening ceremony and reception: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23
Speed finals: 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24
Lead finals: 4 p.m.
Editor’s note: The article has been updated to accurately reflect that the World Cup has come to North America.