Ullr Breck – Norse God of Snow

Valmont Coatings - American Galvanizing

Galvanizing not only protects Ullr from corrosion, but also provides great aesthetic appeal. The steel embodies the strength of a god while the silver zinc coating sparkles like flakes of snow in the sun.

A product of Norse mythology, Ullr is known as the God of Snow, Patron Saint of Skiers, the son of Sif and stepson of Thor, the God of Thunder. Cold-loving, bow-wielding Ullr (pronounced Oool-er) is said to be an expert skater, skier and hunter who would glide around the world and cover the land with snow. He is the one snow fans send prayers to prior to vacations and recreational weekends to ensure adequate conditions for their winter sport of choice. Breckenridge Ski Resort has been paying homage to this Norse God since 1963 with Ullr Fest, a winter celebration where guests bundle up, chant his name, participate in a rowdy parade, burn old skis in raging bonfires, and more. For many, it is a highlight of the year, and now a 25-foot tribute sculpture will watch over the festival and skiers all throughout the season.

In the fall of 2018, with the help of BreckCreate’s Art Council, CEO and Co-Owner of Breckenridge Grand Vacations Mike Dudick and his wife Anna cast an international call for sculptors who wanted to tackle the personification of Ullr. Three finalists were selected, from the more than 174 submissions, and invited to participate in Ullr Fest. Ultimately, Andy Scott, well-known for his elaborate sculptures around the world, was selected with his concept of a larger-than-life, 25-foot tall, one-ton design made of 1” pieces of welded steel. The entire sculpture took just over a year to complete, and fitting to his name, snow flurried as Ullr was installed on November 10, 2020.

Andy Scott has accumulated a wealth of knowledge through decades of installations in all environments, so he understood this sculpture would need protection from the elements, including heavy snow year-round. He has worked with various coating systems throughout the years, but none live up to the reliability and longevity of hot-dip galvanizing. Not only would hot-dip galvanizing protect Ullr from corrosion, but it was also highly regarded for its aesthetic contributions.

Environmental responsibility was another important factor considering the Norse God’s connection to the Earth. Steel and zinc are naturally occurring, abundant elements, in fact, iron ore is the 4th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust while zinc is 24th. Zinc also naturally occurs in the air, water and soil. Furthermore, galvanized steel is 100% recyclable meaning Ullr can keep giving back to the Earth even after his expected lifespan.

Andy Scott selected a trusted galvanizer, dedicated to producing quality results that he used successfully for past projects. Familiar with processing limitations, the sculpture arrived at the galvanizing facility in two sections, specifically fabricated to meet the capacity of the hot-dip galvanizing kettle. The intricate components required delicate handling and close attention to detail. Out of the kettle, Ullr glistened with the newly formed, smooth zinc coating. He was then fully assembled at the installation site.

Ullr now stands tall, watching over the Colorado mountain where Breckenridge visitors will be able to pay homage to the Norse God of Snow and send prayers for good ski conditions. The hot-dip galvanized masterpiece will be at the heart of Ullr Fest and bound to be heavily photographed by visitors, employees and media for decades to come.

This project was powered by a CIC Pittsburgh Galvanizing furnace.