5 winter festivals worth the trip

From Montana to Vermont, here’s where to get your fill of icy parades, parties, climbing and more.

Winter provides the opportunity to enjoy festivals and gatherings that celebrate all things icy and cold. Here are five places where you can chill out with carvers, climbers and history makers:

1. Ouray, Colo. — This southwestern Colorado mountain town, known for its picturesque jagged peaks, is home to one of the country’s premiere ice festivals. Competitors of all levels, climbing companies and spectators gather for the event and the opportunity to demo the latest ice tools, apparel and gear. For many, the highlight is watching the world’s best ice and mixed climbing experts battle for the top prize. Jan. 18-21, 2018; OurayIcePark.com.

2. Whitefish, Mont. — The annual Whitefish Winter Carnival kicks off with the coronation of a king and queen, followed by a Penguin Plunge (a hole is cut into Whitefish Lake). Visitors are welcomed by mountain men, penguins and Viking divas, otherwise known as the costume-clad volunteers who share stories and point the curious toward the old-fashioned Main Street parade, an ice-sculpting contest, a kid’s carnival, a pie social and a pancake breakfast. You can also expect a torchlight ski parade, skijoring, cross-country ski races, and a figure-skating demonstration. Feb. 2-4, 2018; whitefishwintercarnival.com.

3. Washington Crossing Re-enactment, Bucks County, Pa. — George Washington’s daring 1776 Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware River and defeat of the opposing troops in Trenton is considered an important turn of events in the Revolutionary War. This scene is re-enacted twice during December, as thousands gather on the banks of the Delaware River to garner a glimpse of the past. You could still catch the Dec. 25 date; washingtoncrossingpark.org/park/crossing-reenactment/

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4. Stowe, Vt. — The annual Stowe Winter Carnival offers a seasonal wonderland of family fun. Expect kooky sporting events, ice-carving competitions, ski movies, Kids Carnival Kaos and Snowgolf and Snowvolleyball tournaments. Jan. 13-27, 2018; stowewintercarnival.com

5. Aspen, Colo. — With a nod to the town’s Nordic heritage, local Aspenites began celebrating the popular winter festival, Winterskol, in 1951. Surrounded by the peaks of the Elk Mountains, visitors celebrate the “toast to snow” with four days of festivities including a quirky…

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