Frozen Dead Guy Days

With Sunday afternoon all to myself, I decided to attend an unusual festival commemorating a man in Boulder County.  He is not celebrated for how he lived or even for how he died. He is extraordinary because of his last wishes. You see, Bredo Morstol has been kept on ice in a Tuff Shed in Nederland, Colorado while being cryogenically preserved since 1989. He would like to be revived someday in the future. In 2001, the town began celebrating Frozen Dead Guy Days in his honor.

The infamous Tuff Shed

When Morstol died on November 6th,  1989 while residing in Norway, his body was flown to Los Angeles where it was suspended on liquid nitrogen.  His grandson, Trygve Bauge had him shipped on ice to the tiny hippie mountain town in 1993. Trygve and his mother rigged up a frozen storage unit in a broken down shed behind their house. Liquid nitrogen is used in cryogenics to keep the body at around -320 degrees. Trygve’s homemade unit only uses ice and refrigerates at a mild -109. In the meantime, Tyrgve took in another willing participant, Al Campbell from Chicago, and froze him too.

When Trygve was deported to Norway 1994 followed by his mother, they panicked. Who would look after Grandpa Bredo? What if the power went out and they began to melt? All hell broke loose when the town of Nederland found out about the frozen dead guys. Officials wanted to pull the plug on the chest freezer. Not having any previous legislation on the books, they relented and “grandfathered” Morstol in. The other body was shipped to his family. Trygve hired a man to watch over the frozen grave where Grandpa Bredo rests in peace today. The town of Nederland replaced the shack with a donated Tuff Shed. After all the excitement died down, the town could see the humor in the situation and a festival was born.

This year the frozen frolics kick off was Friday night. It began with an opening ceremony that included the Skeleton Dancers followed by Grandpa’s Blue Ball. They held a contest for the Ice Queen and Grandpa look-alike. On Saturday, the wind that Boulder is quite famous for blew down tents and the organizers postponed many of the outdoor events. At noon on Sunday, I drove up Canyon Drive to Nederland.

Come on guys! It looks so easy!

When I arrived at Frozen Dead Guy Days, I had missed the Parade of Hearses, but had plenty of time to jump into the action. When I ran up to the crowds, the men were just finishing up the Frozen Wet T-shirt contest. While the winner pulled it over his head, others struggled to pry the solid sheet of iced fabric apart. One had bled all over his. Another still thrashed the now dirty and holey t-shirt on the ground.  These were grown men, but I thought, “How hard could it be?” so I signed up for the women’s round. I think my frozen t-shirt had been stored behind a couple of steaks. It was as stiff as Grandpa Bredo! I tried whacking it on the ground and peeling it apart with my own frozen fingers. Breathing on it or putting it under my arm still wouldn’t melt the iced-T. One of the ladies must have had one stored with the milk because after about 2 minutes she slipped it on. There was a flesh wound in our group too! Talk about frozen to the bone. My fingertips got so cold they were numb to pain!

Frozen solid!

While others attended the viewing of the award-winning film, “Grandpa’s Still in the Tuff Shed,” I enjoyed the spectacle of several participants who tried their hand at Icy Turkey Bowling. Lofting a 25 pound frozen bird into the air and knocking down 10 pins was no easy feat, but it sure was fun to watch.

You can see the turkey way up on that green roof and the pins in the distance. He bowled a strike!

I missed the NewlyDead Game, the Frozen Salmon Toss and Snowy Beach Volleyball to watch the Coffin Race which was the weekend’s main attraction. The cordoned off course included several slippery slopes, a dead man’s curve and a required Chinese Fire Drill. The 6 man/woman teams carried one of their teammates in a coffin while racing through the snowy course. The curve proved to be too much for some and several coffins blew out and lost their corpse. I would love to put together a team next year, but only if I get to be the corpse!

The race attracted huge crowds

The Nederland Boy Scouts with one in the casket giving the thumbs up!

The Frozen Assets team. Did you know that residents of Boulder have more advanced college degrees than anywhere else in the U.S.? Hard to believe…

The Frozen Lederhosen

Route 66 takes the lead!

Oopsy daisy…

Dead guy rising

We are super heroes and are super proud of our super underpants!

The returning champs. These guys want it!

The Chinese Fire Drill

Corpse down! I repeat. Corpse down!

From there I moved on to the Brain Freeze Tent. A jazz band played while I signed up for the Brain Freeze competition. It sounded like fun and I had skipped lunch. The first one to eat 5 Mr. Freezes would win. I think there must have been a technique that I wasn’t aware of. While eating my third icy treat, my frontal lobe throbbed in pain and two of the young women finished their fifth!

If I was that ugly, I would hide too!

The perfect souvenir!

Grandpa Bredo looks pretty cool!

OUCH!

Thank you sir. May I have another?

My teeth chattered as I hustled back to my car. A bitter and blustery wind seemed to roll down Eldora Ski Resort which now seemed to loom above the quaint town. It felt as if Grandpa Bredo’s cold fingers ran up my spine. I shook as I drove back down Canyon Drive to Boulder while the outdoor temperature on my car’s gauge jumped up to 60 degrees. Chilled to the bone, I kept the thermostat on Max Hot all the way home. I had officially become a Frozen Dead Guy!

One last look…

Grandpa Bredo’s Tuff Shed photo from Wikipedia, the rest by Susie Lindau

How do you like to spend your free time?

Do you have an unusual festival in your area?

98 Comments

Filed under Humor, Life

98 responses to “Frozen Dead Guy Days

  1. Pingback: Freshly Pegged – Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

  2. Pingback: A Wild Year in Pictures | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  3. I’m hitting ya again cause I trust your judgement. Tell me what you think of this Devine kid I posted up. Lemme know. And thank you lady.

  4. Frozen Dead Guy Days….this is brilliant! I’d love to go check that out sometime…and I’m always looking for a reason to talk my wife into a road trip to CO. I can hear that conversation now…”Hey Babe, wanna go to a festival for a frozen dead guy?!” lol

  5. What an incredible experience. I really must invite you on to my radio show – The Journey. As always with your posts, moments well spent.

  6. I’m diggin the pics, glad I came across the blog. Thought you might like to see the video I shot too, you can see it at http://www.youtube.com/hoffjesse I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff in my day, Dead Guy Days definitely ranks up there with the best. Reminds me great deal of a festival I went to in Alaska called “Chatanika Days,” only thing is they raced outhouses instead coffins. :-) Feel free to embed the video on your site if you like it.

    Jesse Hoff
    http://www.jessehoff.com

  7. That’s where all the Canadian power was averted to in 1989…Bredo may have missed his moment in time…
    Added you to Blogroll…

  8. These are my kind of people. This is the kind of local event that would give me some focus to help me through winter.

  9. OMG Susie! What a hysterical time you must have had – great post!

  10. If I really wanted to be frozen in time (without having to attend a Mets game), I would just slip my guy at Walmart twenty bucks and ask him to tuck me in the back of the freezer.

  11. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “pokies”.

  12. Very funny. Thanks :D

  13. Susie, since you asked, i like long walks on the beach, sunsets, and being suspended upside down in liquid nitrogen. what a small world! enjoyed this. continue…

  14. Wow Susie, no one can say that you don’t have boring life! LOL!

    That’s just hilarious! Frozen Dead Guy days. There’s just so much happening in Colorado these days. Who knew? But thank you Susie for letting us in on your many amazing adventures! :)

  15. Susie what fun you have had….
    may Grandpa Bredo see daylight and spook people around, when that day comes i would like to be in his team..
    hey about the corpse for next here, where do i sign..am dying to play living dead or something..please choose meeeee :lol:

  16. That was frigging histerical! There are some strange things going on in this world! And you’re such a great sport to be all curious and to be a willing participant. So funny.
    Sadly, with my free time, I…do what I’m doing now: networking. *weeps*
    As for odd festivals. I live in Kingsburg, California. We were basically settled by Swedish folks, so we have a Swedish Festival. It takes place every third weekend in May. Thousands show up for this deal, but there are no coffins.
    Some festvals get all the fun! ;)

    -Jimmy

  17. Hi,
    Wow, what a blast. Everyone is just having so much fun, that is just hilarious, the videos were great, I loved the post, and I certainly had a laugh while watching the videos. :lol:

    Up the top end of Australia ( and some other parts of OZ as well) they have cane toad races. Cane toads are an introduced species, and have breed like you wouldn’t believe, now a major problem. Anyway if you like to see what racing cane toads are all about I’ll put in a link.
    http://amazingaustralia.com.au/cane_toad_races.htm

  18. Incredible tale, Susie!

  19. Whoa! That is absolutely bizzare – I love it. So jealous we don’t have anything like that in the Seattle area. The turkey bowling and the brain freeze would be my favorite!

  20. Dude. How bizarre and weird…yet pretty fun. Sounds like you had an awesome time! All the contests and competitions sound pretty cool. Too bad I live in a metropolis with no brain freeze contests … :). Love the racing photos, especially the pink dudes.

  21. Flying fish and turkey bowling?! I am impressed. You guys really know how to keep yourselves busy during the winter. I think I might have to move there now. We have a Moxie festival, which is really boring and Moxie tastes really bad. You guys rock with the dead guy festival.

  22. Julie Catherine

    OMG, you do the absolute most funnest, cool stuff imaginable! LOL! Loved reading about this … for some reason I feel the need to put another sweater on now though, hehehe. Awesome! ~ Julie :)

  23. Hahaha, I’m glad to know NC isn’t the only state to have such weird festivals. We have the annual Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, NC and the National Hollerin’ Contest in Spivey’s Corner. Frozen Dead Guy Days sounds like it would fit in well here, if the weather would cooperate. Really enjoyed all the great pics!

  24. Any reason to have a festival! Sounds, and looks, like a whole lot of fun. Too bad Grandpa cannot be put on display to watch over it!

  25. lynnkelleyauthor

    Wow, this festival is a riot! And the history behind it is a hoot! I’m so impressed with all the festivities and contests. Oh, brain freeze – ouch! What an unusual event – and so much fun! I LOVE this post!

  26. I love that the town ended up embracing this oddity instead of leaving it as a blight to be embarrassed of. I think I’ll have to add this to my list of things I want to witness!
    Excellent job of showing it off!

    • Thanks so much Blankenmom! I am sure that you will enjoy it! Just don’t wear white corduroys like I did. They are sort of tan now… I went right after having brunch with my daughter!

  27. Hahaha, we have some insane festivals, but their explanation requires blog entries, so I’ll save them for future posts. :-)

  28. At first I thought you were kidding about this whole thing, but you posted the pictures to prove it. How incredibly fun! You folks in Colorado are okay in my book. Turkey bowling! What a hoot.

    This was such a post blog post, Susie! I’m glad you got to enjoy some of the festivities.

    And to think, I took my blog to Mexico this month. Who know I could have had so much fun in a cold spot?

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Thanks Patricia! There are stories everywhere. It happened to be a sunny day even though with the high elevation it wasn’t that warm. Nederlanders have really done a great job with this event. I am definitely going next year!

  29. My best friend lives in Parker. I’m going to have to ask him if he went, haha.

    • He should definitely go next year. It was a blast and everything was either free or really inexpensive. The only thing that made me balk was to get a tour of the Tuff Shed was $35 and it took 90 minutes. I decided that it would take up too much time. It is on private property, so people can’t just stop by…
      Thanks Jared!

  30. tedstrutz

    I read with great interest, since I had heard a ‘frozen dead guy’ report on the radio the other day. Your photo journalism, not to mention courage, is to be commended.

    p.s. the next time you participate in a Frozen Dead Guy Brain Freeze… put the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

  31. Real weird, real cool!! Mountain folks know how to have a blast. :)

  32. Amazingly weird… and yet, looks SO fun!

  33. The two unusual festivals that come to mind are the Camel Races and the Cheetah Run. The festival you went to sounds interesting as well as so much fun! Thanks for sharing and Have a Great Day:)

  34. Well, I definitely lead a boring life, your afternoon jaunts are amazing! What a fab story. What I can’t believe, is how he transported the frozen guy in the first place. It certainly wasn’t carry on luggage.

  35. hmcmullin

    Its amazing what people can come up with to entertain themselves in the winter. Sounds like fun – well, except maybe for the frozen t-shirt thing. Next you folks are going to start celebrating Alferd Packer Days.

  36. One thing I love about blogs: learning of events and experiences I might never otherwise learn about. This definitely fits that category, Susie. Sounds like an awesome fest!

    In Minnesota (where I grew up) we have the butter head extravaganza during the summer. Here in LA we have a fest for every culture, it seems: Parisian, Iranian, Turkish, Swedish… Fun stuff. :)

  37. Wow. I’m recommending this to my friend who lives in the Springs.

  38. EllieAnn

    this is awesome. I love it, what a quirky celebration.

    • It is! They have more fun with all the frozen dead guy puns. It is a great family event as long as you dress for it! The breeze could chill you to the bone….I was finally thawed out at noon yesterday!
      Thanks Ellie!

  39. OMG that is AWESOME!!! I had no idea and it looks like a TON of fun! Woot woot. Thanks for the FAB photos…and videos!! :-)

  40. What fun. looks like a blast. thanks for the chuckle.

  41. That has got to be the craziest and most fun looking festival I’ve ever heard of! You got some great photos of the activities. And no wonder you had the heater blasting the whole way home. Awesome post!

    • Thanks Audrey! It was so much fun. Next year I want the whole family to come and participate in the coffin race!
      Yesterday, I picked up that t-shirt and it was still cold!

  42. Makes me feel a bit squeamish.

  43. You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Nederland and Frozen Dead Guy Days. Thanks for including us in this year’s celebration

  44. Wow being frozen in ice for a few years hoping to be revived later sounds a lot like marriage. Actually well never mind … :-) Lovely post tho

  45. We have a local festival but nothing that insane!!!

  46. Dear Susie,

    Cool post:)

    Aloha,

    Doug

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