Outdoor enthusiasts don’t need much convincing to come out and explore. However, the winter can sometimes be less inviting to some people. That being said, you can always get back in the mood by attending winter festival. Throughout the winter months, there are dozens of festivals all over the US. These festivals give you the chance to gain the skills you need for your own winter hiking trip, while also having an awesome time.
Alpenglow Mountain Festival
The Alpenglow Mountain Festival happens twice a year, and the winter edition is nine days of everything backpackers love about the wintertime. The is one of the best festivals celebrating human-powered mountain sports. There are clinics, exciting events, and many presentations and films. You can also take part in backcountry ski touring, snowga, and snowshoeing. There’s truly something here for anyone just looking to have a good time. Though anyone can come, the festival aimed at beginners and intermediate enthusiasts who want to work on their skills. It all takes place in Lake Tahoe’s ‘playground’. With nine days of fun, surely you’ll find something here that inspires you.
Dates: February 20th-28th
Where: Lake Tahoe
Alaska is undoubtedly one of the best places to do some backcountry winter exploring. The Fur Rendezvous, or ‘Rondy’ festival, is no exception. This is one of the most famous festivals, which has been going on since 1935. Though many people come here to watch the famous dog-sled races or blanket tosses, you can touch your own adventurous side while you’re, too. Participate in snowshoe softball, outhouse races, and the Running of the Reindeer, which is similar to the Running of the Bulls in Spain. There’s also a ‘frostbite’ marathon, which will definitely be good training for when it’s time for your own winter trek.
Dates: February 26th-March 6th
Where: Anchorage, Alaska
Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival
The Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival is going into its 14th year, and shouldn’t be missed. If you love exploring the backcountry during the winter time, then this festival is perfect for you. Here, you can experience everything from a comfortable instructional ski clinic, to an exciting, guided backcountry adventure. Keene is absolutely gorgeous during the winter time, though it does get rather snowy! Make sure you bring your gear.
Dates: March 5th-6th
Where: Keene Valley, New York
Backcountry Film Festival
The Backcountry Film Festival is the only thing that can lure outdoor enthusiasts inside. That’s because this is one of the most unique film festivals there is, in that it sheds light on a genre we would love to see more of. See what the backcountry is like around the world and how it impacts individuals everywhere. Buy your ticket knowing that you’re helping to support the outdoors. Starting this winter, you’ll have something really enjoyable to look forward to.
Dates: Beginning January
Where: Multiple cities
Teton Valley Great Snow Fest
If you’re not watching the Backcountry Film Festival at the Teton Valley Great Snow Fest, there’s plenty more to experience. The festival, which is now in its 5th year, is known for celebrating winter recreation that has a history in this area. Outdoor enthusiasts that attend this festival can enjoy a few nights’ stay in Grand Teton. You’ll learn why this destination should be on every backpacker’s bucketlist, especially during the winter. The diverse festival schedule features everything from an Avalanche Awareness Clinic, to Backcountry Skiing 101 and even Wildlife Viewing.
Dates: January 22nd-31st
Where: Teton Valley, Idaho
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
Saranac Lake is a very popular destination during the winter time. Here you can do everything from winter hiking, to snowshoeing, and even winter camping. It’s no surprise that the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is great for families who want to introduce their kids gradually to the outdoors during the winter. Kids can enjoy events like an outdoor scavenger hunt, snowshoe softball, and cross-country ski races. This is hands down one of the best festivals of its kind in the world. Plus, there’s some great backcountry to explore while you’re here in upstate New York.
Dates: February 5th-14th
Where: Saranac Lake, New York
Ouray Ice Festival
Ouray Ice Park is the ‘hottest’ destination for backpackers during the freezing winter. Located in Colorado’s backcountry, ice climbing is what draws visitors here every year. If you’re not quite ready for that, then come for the Ouray Ice Festival. This festival will give you a chance to practice like the pros, while scoring some awesome new winter hiking gear in an auction. If you missed the festival this year, there’s clinics going on until the end of winter. Additionally, Colorado is one of the best places to experience the winter wilderness. Make sure to make the most of your visit.
Dates: January 14th-17th
Where: Ridgway, Colorado
Now at the end of January, there’s only a little time left to enjoy winter to the fullest. Get outside and experience one of these winter festivals, so you can take advantage of all the remaining opportunities.