For true Coloradans, snow doesn’t keep us indoors.
Just wear layers (The secret to being the right temperature with our ever changing conditions)
Colorado is home to winter carnivals, ice-carving competitions and beautiful lighting ceremonies throughout the Rockies and the front range.
A fantastic list was just posted by Colorado.com and we’ve added a few of our own favorites as well.
WINTER CARNIVALS IN COLORADO
Coloradans consider winter our most privileged season, and we love to celebrate all that comes with it at winter carnivals across the state.
Vail Snow Daze: Dec. 5–11, 2011
This bash welcomes the ski and snowboard season with a Dummy Demolition Derby, free concerts and a rockin’ street fair in Vail Village. Last year’s headliners featured Weezer, O.A.R. and Dwight Yoakam.
12 Days of Aspen: Dec. 20–31, 2011
Concerts, carriage rides and caroling fill Aspen with family fun. Ice-skating, a snowman-making contest, a bonfire, fireworks and Aspen Academy Screenings add to the revelry.
Grand Winter Sports Carnival: Dec. 30, 2011–Feb. 11, 2012
Fraser, Granby, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling and Winter Park hold a six-week celebration of winter sports with ski-jumping competitions, fireworks, snow-sculpture contests, skijoring (dogs and horses), a fishing tournament, toboggan races and much more.
Estes Park Winter Festival: Jan. 13–16, 2012
Downtown Estes Park glows with winter lights, and winter fun includes a chili cook-off, scavenger hunt, snowshoe event, igloo making, stargazing, carriage rides and tons of other family activities.
Winter Park Snowfest: Jan. 21–22, 2012
Winter Park‘s fest takes the form of a birthday party for one of the area’s colorful early residents — a gal named Mary Jane — with live music, fireworks, a snow-sculpture contest, sledding races, snowshoe treks and much more
Steamboat Springs’ Winter Carnival: Feb. 8–12, 2012
Steamboat has reveled in their bounty of trademark Champagne Powder since 1914. The carnival features ski-jumping competitions, dog-sled pulls, cross-country obstacle races, a tubing party and a spectacular fireworks display.
STORYTELLING BY THE CAMPFIRE. Gather around the campfire to hear some of the tallest tales in the West recounted by master local storytellers. With free hot chocolate and s’mores, families are sure to be spellbound by this après-ski activity. Beginning December 14, 3:30–4:30 p.m., meet on the Snowmass Village Mall, FREE! All ages welcome, 970-922-2233.
COLORADO ICE FESTIVALS
Though they don’t linger too long during Colorado’s sunny winter months, frozen masterpieces created by gifted ice artisans leave a lasting impression.
Budweiser International Snow Sculpting Championship: Jan. 24–Feb. 5, 2012
Teams from around the world spend a week in Breckenridge gently coaxing intricate sculptures out of 20-ton blocks of snow.
Crested Butte’s Rock on Ice: Dec. TBD
Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s base area comes to life with sculpting performances, an ice-sculpture garden and a dueling chainsaw competition.
Ouray Ice Festival: Jan. 5–8, 2012
Though it’s an ice festival of a different sort, Ouray’s celebration is one of the most spectacular. Each year, 3,000 climbers descend on the town to ascend the Ouray Ice Park’s mile-long frozen gorge, while spectators watch in amazement.
Cripple Creek Ice Festival: Feb. TBD
Artists deftly use chainsaws to carve clear creations along Cripple Creek’s main street, while families frolic through an ice maze and sip hot chocolate.
OTHER FREE WINTER EVENTS in Colorado
- Olde Golden Christmas in Golden: Dec. 2–17, 2011
- Olde Country Christmas in Elizabeth: Dec. 3, 2011
- 51st Annual Georgetown Christmas Market in Georgetown: Dec. 3–11, 2011
- Winter Arts & Crafts Show in Craig: Dec. 9–10, 2011
- Mayors Tree Light – Parker CO: Friday November 25, 2011
- Christmas Carriage Parade the theme this year is Beary Special December Dec. 10 2011, 12-4 p.m.
- Great Fruitcake Toss in Manitou Springs: Jan. 14, 2012
- Yule Night in Ouray: Jan. TBD
- Castle Rock Star Lighting Nov. 19, 2011 – 5:00 p.m.