Isak Heartstone troll trail breckenridge

22nd August 2019  360 Blue

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Breckenridge Isak Heartstone Troll

By Kristi Stanford

Odds are high that most visitors to Breckenridge will have one activity in particular on their fun-things-to-do list, and that will be to visit Isak the Troll in his new location following his resurrection in May 2019.

Who knew a giant wooden troll would create such controversy, tug the heartstrings of all who met him, and even be loved by those who never got the chance to see him last year?  Isak Heartstone was built with great love but with little forethought location-wise as a temporary piece of art for the Breckenridge Arts Festival in August 2018. Only weeks after his debut, town officials and neighbors near where Isak was stationed were taken by surprise at his enormous popularity which resulted in traffic jams, illegal parking, and neighborhood trespassing.

After some back-and-forth decision making, Isak was removed in a swift and piece mill fashion on November 15, 2018.  Thomas Dambo, the artist who built Isak and thousands of troll-loving fans took to social media to express outrage of Isak’s removal.

Isak the Troll to return to Breckenridge
Isak’s sad disassembly

Many of the Breckenridge-bashing complainers were not fully informed in the backstory. Additionally, they chose to overlook the fact that a strong love of art and culture indeed existed which brought about Isak’s birth in the first place. The Festival which brought Isak to life is part of Breckenridge’s annual celebration of all forms of art.

Isak’s deconstructed remains went into storage in a secret location. Afterwards, a committee was assembled by town council to determine Isak’s fate. A great deal of research, polling, and discussion over the next 3 months ensued to ensure Isak’s new location would come with a sense of adventure yet be easily accessible to people of all ages and abilities while not disturbing any nearby residents. A mind to educating his visitors about care for our beloved environment was incorporated into the plans for his re-birth.

In early March 2019, the new location for Isak’s future home (near the Breckenridge ice skating rink, see map below) was announced along with outlines of why other locations were ruled out. The committee has also implemented plans to ensure that those who visit the troll do so in a responsible and sustainable manner (leave no trace, trail etiquette, etc.). Visitor behavior and travel patterns will be closely monitored to ensure sustainability.

New Troll location in Breckenridge
New Troll Trail Map

Isak’s reconstruction took place in May. The site and trail are now complete and open for visitors. We are also excited that our future guests will have the opportunity to meet Isak in person on a fun trail adventure.

Directions: Take the free bus or the trolley to the Ice Rink on Boreas Pass Road. The Trollstigen trailhead is in the far left corner of ice rink parking lot to the left (west) of the ice rink.

There are a handful of other trails in the area. Feel free to explore these as well, but always stay on the trail.

When you visit Isak, please be mindful of these important guidelines:

  1. LEAVE NO TRACE! This means leaving no evidence behind that you were ever there. No trash. Always stay on the trail. 
  2. NO CLIMBING ON ISAK.  Isak will not last long if visitors climb on him. We want to keep him around as long as possible, so Be Kind, Do Not Climb. 
  3. DOGS MUST BE ON A LEASH.  Trolls do not like to be peed on.
  4. NO DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY/VIDEOGRAPHY. Per town ordinance drone use is prohibited.

Providing our guests with fabulous vacation rentals is our primary function, but we also strive to provide our guests with the best insider knowledge to help them make the most of their time here in Breckenridge.

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