Imagine fire and ice blended together creating a kaleidoscope of colors on a snowy winter's day. Sculptures carved in Ice in the form of Whales and Castles. Winter time boosts a bevy of great entertainment where you can watch Sled Dogs race, view incredible art in the form of Ice Sculptures and themed balls where you can transform in a Fur Trapper. National Geographic lists these events as the top ones on the planet and in North America.
During the month of February, Anchorage, Alaska is the home for the annual Fur Rendezvous Festival. A two week festival that includes Dog Racing, Ice Sculpting contests and the Miner's and Fur Trapper's Ball. It all began back in the 1930's to help prevent the residents from going stir-crazy and mad when darkness encroaches upon the state, the town gathered some sport's tournaments to coincide with the Miner's and Trappers bringing their goods into town. Almost 90's later the annual event has transformed into quite the spectacle for local residents as well as visitors from other places. The Dog race's as well as Reindeer races draws folks from around the world. There is even snowshoe softball and a frostbite footrace. So, if you find yourself heading due north for a winter escape mark February 22-March 3 on your calender .
Upstate New York at Saranac Lake is the host for the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. Traditional sport competitions, Nordic and Alpine Skiing , Children's skating and curling are just a few of the events that are featured. Fireworks and parades are a big part of the carnival and this year there is even going to be ailens from outer space. The real star of the show is an ice castle that is built by the volunteers with thousands of blocks of ice that is harvested by Lake Flower.
Canada's Ottawa becomes the focal point of the annual Winterlude, the frozen Rideau Canal Skateway, where the Beaver Cup Hockey Classic is held , a winter triathlon (8-km skate, 5-km ski, and 5-km run), various demos for skating and even a bed race. Kids and their parents will want to head for the Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau for its snow slides. In the evenings, local chefs and winemakers show off Ontario’s bounty in multicourse dinners. Feb.1-18 are the dates for the festival this year.
Beginning January 24, St. Paul, Minnesota becomes the star of it's annual winter carnival. Once named the Siberia of America by a reporter way back in 1886, a group of the town's boosters decided to take this likeness and show the city off for it's most famous feature. Games, Tobaggan rides, and a towering castle of ice are just a few of the carnivals attractions. There will be torch lilt parades, marathons if you can imagine your breath freezing while running through the snow, and other entertainment for the entire family.
It might dip into the low 20's, however that does not stop folks from heading to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for the Bon Soo Wnter Carnival. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the carnival, the quarky and fun festival highlights such events as downhill canoe races, and burn slides. For those brave enough to freeze their buns off, there is the annual polar bear swim in the frigid water's of Lake Superior. This year the festival will be from February 1-10.
The Dartmouth Winter Carnival in Hanover, New Hampshire was born into fame back in 1955. Originally it was used to attract woman to the famous university prior to going coed in 1972. Ski competitions horse drawn sleigh rides are only a few to mention that attract folks to this event. Pajama race's and Human dog sled race's are also some of the highlights for this fun affair. The Carnival will be held this year from February 7-10.
The Quebec Winter Carnival has the title of the largest winter carnival of it's kind in the world. A festival of deep traditions , both the elite and amateur's will commence to race canoes on the icy St. Lawrence River, and artists from all over the world will compete in one of the oldest snow sculpture competitions. The Ambassador of this festival is Bonhomme, a snowman for whom the artists pay tribute to in the competitions. Adorn in Red hats and tooting red horns, festival goer's will parade through the festival routes flashing their matching red scarves. For a bit of warming up, you can feast on nips of caribou and taste a cocktail of brandy, vodka, sherry, and port. all happening February 1-17.
Mountain biking and Ski -jumping are just a taste of what Steamboat Spring Winter Carnival have in store for visitors. One event that stands to be quite the show, the muzzle -loading biathlon, clad in vintage fur outfits partaker's will compete in Nordic Skiing and marksmanship which only draws the most serious of contenders.A parade, tubing party, and unique street contests, which include a donkey jump, a shovel race, and a 25-yard dash involving dogs pulling tots on toboggans. The lighted man is a must see who wears a battery powered suit that weights 70 pounds. The star studded carnival will be held from February 6-10.
Heading north, Montana's Ski town of Whitefish will host the Whitefish Winter Carnival Surpassing the 50 year mark, residents of this western Montana mountain town, home of the Big Mountain, partake in Fiesta Pescado Bianco. The weekend event will showcase street and ski parades and an event known as skijoring (in which skiers are towed by horses) also there will ice hockey and the annual Penguin Plunge,an icy dip in Whitefish Lake. Every year there is a troop of prankster snowmen known as the Yetis whose attempt to spoil all the fun by kidnapping the snow queen and perpetrating other high jinks. The Carnival this year will February 1-3.
Well with all these blistery festivals no doubt that there is one which appeal to your adventure and maybe even a plunge with the Polar Bears.