Strength and Beauty
The steel used for the Ullr Breck sculpture 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 know 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.
With the help of Breck Create’s Arts 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 in the fall of 2018. With over 174 submissions, three finalists were selected and invited to participate in Ullr Fest. Well known for his elaborate sculptures installed around the world, Andy Scott was ultimately selected for this challenging project. His concept depicted a larger than life, 25-foot tall, one-ton design made of 1” pieces of welded steel. The entire sculpture took just over one year to complete. Fitting to his name, snow flurried as Ullr was installed in Breckenridge on November 10th, 2020.
The wealth of knowledge Andy Scott has accumulated through decades of artistic installations in all environments ensures he understands any complications the final destination could present. For this project, the sculpture would be exposed to the elements, including heavy snow, year-round thus corrosion protection was necessary. Andy has worked with various coating systems throughout the years but none live up to the longevity and reliability of hot-dip galvanizing. Not only would galvanizing protect Ullr from corrosion, it was also highly regarded for its aesthetic contributions. The steel embodies the strength of a God while the silver zinc coating sparkles with flakes of snow in the sun. Environmental responsibility was another important factor considering the Norse God’s connection to the Earth. Steel and Zinc are naturally occurring, abundant elements. 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 even after his expected life-span.
Andy Scott selected trusted galvanizer Valmont Coatings American Galvanizing due to the high quality work successfully completed for previous 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 very 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.