Every year Ouray Colorado, popularly known as the Switzerland of America, holds the world’s largest gathering of ice climbers. This year’s 2018 Ouray Ice Festival was held from Jan. 18 through 21.

During these four chilly days the usually dormant, sleepy town hidden in the valley of towering mountains of Colorado comes alive with festivities.

The Ice Festival nearly doubles the population of Ouray for the weekend. This results in a massive surge of economic activity for the local restaurants, breweries, equipment rental stores and many more hole-in-the-wall shops that rely in the Ice Festivals yearly gathering, according to announcements made during the event.

Gear expos, silent auctions, ice carving and, of course, the ice climbing competition keep visitors entertained and active throughout the festival. Nathan Kutcher took home first place in the Ice Festival’s Mixed Competition.

With the growing popularity of ice and rock climbing, the festival may continue to grow for years to come.

Colton Newman is the photo editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at photoeditor@dailylobo.com or on Instagram @cnewman101.