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Pajarito Mountain ready for Ullr Fest

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By Phil Scherer

Pajarito Mountain will host its annual Ullr Fest this weekend, signaling the official end to the summer season and beginning the preparations for ski season. 

Ullr Fest, which was described by Pajarito employee Jeffrey Bold as “big and boisterous,” is the mountain’s fall festival, which is aimed at “appeasing the mythological snow gods,” and bringing about a successful ski season. 

In Norse mythology, Ullr is the winter god. He is regarded as the Patron Saint of skiers, and it is believed that skiers must please him to bring about a successful season.

“The real goal of this event is to hopefully bring the snow for the upcoming season,” Bold said. 

The event kicks off on Saturday, with a guided 10-mile hike from Los Alamos to Pajarito Mountain led by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center and the Los Alamos Mountaineers set to begin at 7:45 a.m. To register for the free hike, go to peecnature.org or call 662-0460. 

The ski lifts will begin running at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and will run until 3 p.m. 

The cost of a ski lift ticket for the event is $25. 

There will be numerous events taking place all day, including a downhill mountain bike race and a poker run race.

People participating in the poker run will receive a playing card each time they go up the ski lift, and can collect an unlimited number of cards while the ski lifts are open. 

At the end of the day, the participants will compare their cards to figure out who collected the best poker hand.

New this year will be the addition of free mountain biking lessons both days of Ullr Fest from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The lessons are intended for guests ages 15 and up. Those interested can register in advance by calling Bike Park Director Hogan Koesis at 970 507-0657. Registration will also be available on the day of the event on the mountain. 

From noon -5 p.m., the New Mexico Brewersfest will be open for a $15 charge, giving people access to 11 local breweries. 

Inside the beer garden, people will be able to sample from all of the breweries and purchase from the ones they like. 

Atomic City Transti will provide a free shuttle from Los Alamos High School to Pajarito Mountain, leaving every 30 minutes from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend, with previous years ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 or more. 

Though the summer has been good on the mountain, Bold said that the employees are excited to begin preparation for the ski season. 

“A lot of people get excited,” Bold said. “Change is always a good thing.”

At the conclusion of Ullr Fest, the mountain will not be open again until ski season, which is scheduled to begin the day after Thanksgiving, a day Bold referred to as “White Friday.”

Bold said, “We are hoping for a lot of snow and a successful ski season.”