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Ice Climbing to be Contested in North America for First Time

18 Feb, 2019


For the first time ever in North America, the world’s top men and women ice climbers will compete in the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Finals. From February 22-24, in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park, onlookers can watch elite athletes compete for world titles in multiple categories. Additionally, the weekend will feature Barbegazi – a free winter festival with fun for all ages, including axe throwing, a huge ice maze, a fat tire biking course, food trucks, an ice bar and beer garden, music and more.

“Hosting the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup and Barbegazi Winter Festival is a natural fit for Denver,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “As an outdoor city with the Rocky Mountains as our backyard, Denverites have a love for all things winter – and both of these events embrace everything there is to do outdoors during this time of year.”

Competitive ice climbing combines formidable, 50-feet-tall walls of sheer ice with artful technique and strength. More than 200 athletes from 26 countries will compete in two categories – lead and speed. The speed discipline, which spectators can see on Saturday, February 23, is an all-out vertical sprint to the top of the wall using ice axes and crampons. In the lead discipline on Sunday, February 24, ice climbers will employ artful technique and powerful strength to ascend the wall, often vertically, upside-down or hanging on by one point of contact.

The 2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Tour has traveled around the globe to Cheongsong, South Korea; Beijing, China; Saas-Fee, Switzerland; Rabenstein, Italy; and Champagny-en-Vanoise, France. The final leg of the 2019 World Cup Tour — to conclude in Denver, CO — will be the first time a World Cup Finals competition has ever been held in the U.S. and the first time any UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Tour event has been hosted in a major U.S. metropolitan city.

Barbegazi, which means “frozen beard,” is a free family-friendly, winter action sports festival produced by Tribu Expérientiel that will also take place in Civic Center Park from February 22-24. Activities during the weekend festival will include snowskating, fir throwing, arm wrestling, fatbiking, lumberjack games and more. Previously held in Montréal, Québec and Summerside, Prince Edward Island, the festival will make its first U.S. stop in Denver, coinciding with the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup to bring the best of winter sports and activities to the heart of The Mile High City.

The festivities begin on Friday, February 22 from 5-8pm (Barbegazi only); and they continue Saturday and Sunday, the 23-24, from 8am – 8pm each day. Click here for a video of what to expect during this extreme winter sports weekend.

For more information about both the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup and Barbegazi, including event schedules, go to www.visitdenver.com/ice.

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