A Brief History of Ouray Ice Park

ourayIceNext month, the Ouray Ice Park will once again open its doors to welcome visitors of all ages looking to try something new. This perennial Ouray favorite does not require admission and it features more than 150 ice and mixed climbing routes to explore. With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at the park’s history to discover more about how it emerged into one of Ouray’s major highlights.

Ouray established itself as an ice climbing destination way back in the 1970s, but informal development of the Ouray Ice Park didn’t begin until 1991. A pair of individuals named Gary Wild and Bill Whitt used PVC pipe, various garden hoses, and shower heads to kick-start development of the park.

It wasn’t until 1996 when Ouray Ice Park officially began showcasing the sport of ice climbing. The following year, Ouray Ice Park, Inc. (OIPI) was established as a non-profit organization consisting of nine volunteer board members well-versed in ditch-digging and plumbing systems.

By the 2000s, Ouray Ice Park had gone high-tech, boasting a then state-of-the-art water supply tank to improve ice farming efforts. The OIPI was now overseeing the Ouray Ice Festival, which celebrated its 15th anniversary back in 2010.

This update is provided by Twins Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs. Our Ouray lodging, full-service hotel has seven different room types including rooms for couples or families with children. Our amenities include Ouray Colorado hot springs, a free breakfast, spectacular vistas of the mountains, and much more. For additional information about us or Ouray, please call 800.207.2700 or visit us at 125 3rd Avenue Ouray, Colorado 81427.

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