Who doesn’t love the venerable “shot ski,” that après-ski creation that lets a multitude of people throw back a shot of their favorite (or not-so-favorite) spirit simultaneously by tipping back glasses glued to the top of a ski. Good ones at ski town bars might have four, six, or more shot glasses lined up side by side, letting revelers shoot everything from tequila to kamikazes, then scatter to dance their snow pants off. Well, the town of Breckenridge, CO, and its world’s-highest Breckenridge Distillery, has thrown down the guzzling gantlet. At this year’s 59th annual Ullr Fest, a ritual appeasing the snow gods, the town broke the record for the world’s longest shot ski, which measured a whopping 2,401 feet in length.
In all, it involved 468 connected skis and 1,350 people, all lined up and down Main Street on Dec. 8 to kick off the festival with shots of Breckenridge Broncos bourbon blend (produced by Denver Broncos legends Jake Plummer and Karl Mecklenburg).
Sporting a belly-warming buzz, the winter worshippers then donned Viking helmets and other costumes and took over downtown with a rowdy parade to pay homage to Ullr, the Norse god of snow.
The 1,350 shots equal about 2,281.5 ounces of Breckenridge Distillery’s Broncos Bourbon Blend, or 143 bottles. Each participant was asked to pour their shot into their designated “glass” on their respective linked-together ski just before the countdown. Then, all heads tipped back—and into history books.
“It’s one of our town’s quirkiest and wackiest events,” says Breckenridge Distillery’s Jessie Unruh of the annual feat, which started in 2013. “It brings out long-time locals and out-of-towners, all wearing Ullr horns and dressed in fur or ‘80’s costumes. It’s pretty fun.”
The event began in 2013 when friends Litch Polich and Christian Slaugh came up with the idea to do the world’s longest shot ski, gathering up 60 skis from friends and shops, removing the bindings, bolting them together tip to tail and gluing on shot glasses. In the event’s first incarnation, 193 people hoisted a 313-foot-long ski.
Over the years, the number of skis and people have increased, to the point where they ran out of room on Main Street. So, Polich devised the “articulating knuckle,” made out of wood and door hinges, which allow the massive, millipede-like shot ski to be turned 180 degrees, running it back down Main Street in the opposite direction.
While proceeds from the event benefit the Breckenridge Mountain Rotary Club and other local nonprofits, the real benefactors are the participants, who guzzle their way into the Guinness record book and local lore.
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