12 Winter Festivals that Light Up the Festive Spirits of North America

Winter Festivals in North America 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

There can be nothing as beautiful as lighting up your winters with the festive spirits to combat that chilly weather. Call them carnivals, festivals or fiestas, these occasions can definitely add warmth to your otherwise dull and grey winter mornings and evenings. With a range of activities and delectable food to relish, winters can bring that charm and love to your lives. Come January and the whole of North America brightens up with festivals that keep people engaged and happy. The best way to begin your New Year, these festivals will make you forget the sad moments of the year passed by. Let us have a look at these winter festivals in North America:

1. Winterlude, Ottawa

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: January 29- February 15, 2016

Held in Ottawa, this winter festival becomes the North America’s largest snow playground exhibiting snowflake kingdom. Here, you can also skate on the world’s largest skating rink, on the Rideau Canal. The Rideau Canal Skateway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the world’s longest rink stretching 7.8 km through the center of Ottawa. Cozy fires, hot cocoa and energy-fueling snacks (Beavertail pastries!) keep you warm during rest stops. There’s a flurry of activity during the three week carnival, including snow carving, a snow playground, super slides, skiing events, concerts and exhibits.

2. Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, Colorado

 

When: February 3-7, 2016

The Steamboat Springs hosts the oldest continuous Winter Carnival across the west of the Mississippi. Skijorring is an event where horses pull contestants on skis down Main Street. Jumps, slalom courses and shoveling add to the challenge.

3. Stowe Winter Carnival, Vermont

 

Image Source: StoweWinterCarnival/Facebook

When: January 16-30, 2016

Chill out with ice carving demonstrations and competitions, or jump into to ski races, snow golf and snow volleyball, as a spectator or a challenger. Ice Carving competition is world class, as are the ski races. Don’t miss the infamous Snowvolleyball and Snowgolf tournaments. The Kids Carnival Kaos keeps the youngsters thrilled, while music and dancing parties keep the adults rocking.

4. Whitefish Winter Carnival, Montana

Image Source: whitefishwintercarnival/facebook

When: February 5-7, 2016

The Whitefish tradition began with the coronation of King Ullr and the Queen of the Snows and has been going on for over fifty years. Highlights of this carnival include a Penguin Plunge for charity, an old fashioned parade down main street, a pie social, torch-light ski processions and horse-pulled Skijorring events.

Plan your trip and be a part of these awe-inspiring festivals with TripHobo Trip Planner.

5. Carnival de Quebec, Canada

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: January 29- February 14, 2016 

This festival is the Mardi Gras of the Canada. With an ice hotel, International Ice Sculpture qualifying events, multiple parades all lit up in the night, ice canoe races, and a living snowman, you’re going to be hard pressed to do the week before Lent any better than this. 

6. Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, New York

Image Source: saranaclakewintercarnival/Facebook

When: February, 5-14, 2016

The 10 day annual festival was named the #2 top winter carnival in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2012, a big accolade for a homespun community carnival. It features wintry sports, varied performances, two parades and three sets of phenomenal fireworks. Arctic golf, a frying pan toss, snow rugby and snowshoe softball are just some of their unique events.

7. Frozen Dead Guys Days, Colorado

Image Source: frozendeadguydays/Facebook

When: Mar 11 - 13, 2016

Polar plunges, coffin races and more, the frigid Frozen Dead Guy Days of Colorado's best-known corpse is one of the wildest, wackiest festivals anywhere. Each March, thousands of revelers gather to celebrate the story of Grandpa Bredo Morstoel , a Norwegian who died in 1989, with an array of icy events and off-the-wall contestsfrozen salmon tosses, coffin races and polar plunges among themfueled by lots of cold beer in downtown Nederland, a town of 1,227 residents at 8,230 feet high in the Rocky Mountains.

8. Ice Magic, Lake Louise

 

Image Source: N A I T/Flickr

When: January 15 - 24, 2016

Lake Louise hosts an annual competition for the world’s top international ice carvers aptly known as "ice magicians”. These are feats of engineering as well as artistry. The amount of hard work and dedication that goes into creating these fleeting masterpieces is astounding. There’s plenty of fun for the family beyond the sculptures, such as horse-drawn sleigh rides, cross-country skiing and skating on stunning Lake Louise.

9. Mammoth Mountain Pond Skim, California

 

Image Source: youtube.com

When: Throughout December and January

California’s Mammoth ski resort hosts an annual shivery Pond Skim event, where snowboarders swoosh into a frigid splash zone. Skimmers are encouraged to dress up in costumes before heading down the hill.

10. Fur Rondy, Alaska

 

Image Source: Arctic Warrior/Flickr

When: February 26-March 2, 2016

Fur Rondy offers wild and wacky winter fun with plenty of frontier spirit. The outhouse race and blanket toss are always crowd pleasers. The highlight is the Running of the Reindeer event, Alaska’s antlered version of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls.

11. Idaho Fire and Ice Festival, Idaho

 

Image Source: lavafireice/Facebook

When: February 5 - 7, 2016

Idaho’s Lava Hot Springs is the setting for this annual winter carnival, designed to help you beat the winter blues. Tubers brave the elements to race down the Portneuf River in the annual Polar Bear Float. Foot racers don crazy costumes to run down main street, followed by a toasty soak in the town’s hot springs.

12. St. Paul Winter Carnival, Minnesota

 

Image Source: stpaulwinter/Facebook

When: January 28-February 7, 2016

This carnival was started as a rebuttal to a New York reporter who disparagingly compared the city to Siberia and declared it unfit for habitation. In typical northern style, the Minnesotans set out to prove him wrong. Expect to see ice sculptures, a royal court, a winter tri-athalon, a frozen film festival, a beer dabbler with more than 120 breweries participating, three parades, a treasure hunt, and an ice palace.

So which one of these winter carnival entices you enough to explore North America? Let us know.

*fb cover pic: wikimedia.commons  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NEHA KAPOOR NEHA KAPOOR

A lover of literature, Neha wants to understand world through the prism of books. Nuances of words, spoken or written, entice her to delve into the human psyche. A voracious reader of Partition and feminist literature, she desires to deconstruct and unlearn the congealed forms of knowledge system.

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