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Thousands Drawn to Annual Ouray Ice Festival


by Editor

March 18, 2002

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

Reprinted with permission from the Ouray County Plaindealer

Expectations of more than 2,000 climbers and spectators were met at last weekend's Climbing Magazine Ouray Ice Festival.

Ouray Ice Park Board member Gary Wild said over the five days of scheduled Ice Festival events, no less than 250 people per day were climbing at the Ouray Ice Park.

"The combined number of spectators and climbers was in excess of 2,000," said Wild, adding that parking spaces were filled immediately each day at the nearby Twin Peaks Motel parking lot, as well as at any available spots for a block around the area.

"I've never seen parking at that level in this town," Wild said. "The school ran the shuttle service to the Ice Park and were so busy they had to get a larger van. Frank Leonardi did an excellent job of getting people to and from the events."

Wild also complimented Ouray Police Sgt. Tony Chelf and his crew for their work in keeping vehicles where they belonged. "We had no problems with people parking up on the highway," Wild said.

Wild said Ice Park Board members heard nothing but positive comments about how the Ice Festival was organized and conducted. He said Ice Park Board President Erin Eddy was present during the entire festival, seeing to the sponsors and finding out about any problems or suggestions.

"Erin scored huge points on behalf of the Ice Park," Wild said. "It's hard to imagine it [festival] getting any bigger, yet there is always room to make it better."

Wild said one occurrence that caught everyone's attention took place last Friday, during set-up of sponsor booths, when Ouray Mountain Rescue Team and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to a fallen climber. "Spectators and sponsors told me that they were extremely impressed by how that job was done," he said.

Exhibition events on Saturday and Sunday drew raves too, Wild said. "The exhibition climbs were truly exceptional," he said. "Mike Gilbert put in about 50 hours to set up the routes and he did a wonderful job. The climbers said that they loved the routes."

Overall results, first through ninth, of the men's Ouray Ice Craft International Invitational Exhibition:
Raphael Slawinski, Canmore, Canada; Guy Lacelle, Quebec, Canada; Jared Ogden, Durango; Sean Isaac, Canmore; Sven Krebbs, Montrose; Scott Semple, Canada; Doug Heinrich, Salt Lake City; Scott Adamson, Orem, Utah; and Rich Purnell, Vail.

Overall results, first through seventh, of the women's Ouray Ice Craft International Invitational Exhibition:
Kim Csizmasia, Canmore, Canada; Lucy Creamer, United Kingdom; Sue Nott, Chamonix, France; Airlie Andersen, United Kingdom; Jen Stewart Grimes, Minneapolis; Meg Hall, Bozeman; and Kim Reynolds, Ridgway.

Wild also noted that about a dozen major media representatives were at the Ice Festival - including the festival's title sponsor, Climbing Magazine, Outside magazine and Hooked on the Outdoors magazine. He added that an Outdoor Life television network crew videotaped all of the exhibition climbs. A program about those events is expected to appear on that television channel some time in the spring.

"I was also contacted by National Geographic's Adventure magazine," Wild said. "They were looking for a cover shot and commissioned three local photographers. If they get the right shot, it will be fun to see Ouray's Ice Park on the cover of that magazine."

By Patrick Davarn
Ouray County Plaindealer
Staff writer

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