Nederland is a small mountain town along the Peak to Peak Highway in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. With the proverbial one stop light, one might blink and miss it. But each year in March, thousands of people descend upon the sleepy town to celebrate the life, or more accurately, the death, of Bredo Morstoel.
Originally from Norway, Morstoel’s body made its way first to California and then to Nederland, Colorado after his death in 1989 where he stayed on ice in a shed for years in a pseudo cryogenic state on the property where his daughter and grandson lived. I don’t want to spoil or steal the whole story so if you want to check it out hopefully you’ll find the true story of Grandpa Bredo Morstoel as amusing as I do.
So for over a decade, people have been celebrating the story of Grandpa Bredo with an annual festival fittingly known as Frozen Dead Guy Days. It’s three days packed with frozen themed games, music, drinking, a polar plunge, coffin races and even a themed ball.
I braved the 50 mph wind gusts and below freezing temperatures on Saturday and made the trek up the mountains from Denver. Only fitting that the weather seemed in a state of harmony with the aptly named festival. I got exactly what I was looking for from the day. Live music, camaraderie, drinks to keep me warm, a pool side seat to the polar plunge, a few snow flurries, a nice warm fire, more drinks, more camaraderie and a bunch of people running around carrying coffins dressed in costumes.
There are rumors that this year may be the last festival but the same rumors say that a non-profit may be formed to keep the festival going. With the threat of this being the last one, more than 25,000 people showed up throughout the weekend to celebrate Grandpa and his “cryonic” legacy.