From National Parks, to winter festivals, to sky resorts… The United States has a wide offer when it comes to snowy winter experiences. Here are five must-see winter vacation spots to add to your bucket list.
1. Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska
Alaska is a paradise for winter sports lovers and winter fans! Anchorage has plenty of snowy scenery with endless activities options, from ice climbing to glacier hikes to dogsledding to cross-country skiing. If you travel there in March, do not miss the famous Iditarod dog sled race, firstly held in 1973. After visiting Anchorage, jump on the Aurora Winter Train that connects Anchorage with Fairbanks. During the ride you’ll cross postcard landscapes full of snow! Once in Fairbanks, visit the Aurora Ice Museum. Built in 2005, the museum is home of the world’s largest year-round ice environment and is made of more than 1,000 tons of snow and ice. If you want to learn more about Alaska’s native cultures and natural wonders, visit the Museum of the North. Lastly, spend the night under the sky and let yourself be amazed by the Northern Lights, which are usually visible between September and March.
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
With smaller crowds and less traffic, winter is the perfect season to enjoy the Yellowstone National Park. Starting from November, most park roads and areas are closed to traffic and can only be accessed through snowmobile or snowcoach tours or cross-country skis. The scenery is incredible: Marvel at frozen lakes, colorful mineral pools, steaming geysers and white forests. The rich wildlife populates the park’s valleys; you will be able to easily spot elks, bison, and coyotes. One of the most popular sites is the Old Faithful geyser, which is the perfect spot to take amazing photographs.
3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnesotans embrace the frigid winter season by organizing lots of events and festivals. Minneapolis’ winter outdoor events have been combined together into a 10-day-long fest named the Great Northern Festival. The festival includes a diverse program that celebrates Minneapolis cold season, such as family-friendly activities, winter carnivals, ice sculptures, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, and the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival. This last celebration is Minneapolis winter icon. It includes the famous Luminary Loppet, which draws more than 10,000 people annually to the Lake of the Isles. During this event, skiers traverse the frozen lake illuminated by lanterns, candles and torches. Next year, the Great Northern Festival will be organized between January 28 and February 7, while the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival will be held on February 6 and 7, 2021.
4. Magic Mountain Ski Area, Vermont
Magic Mountain Ski Area is a popular ski destination located on Glebe Mountain in Londonderry, Vermont. The area was developed as a ski destination by Hans Thorner, who chose Glebe Mountain as it reminded him of his native Swiss Alps. Opened in 1960, it remained virtually unchanged throughout the years. This ski resort is perfect for beginners, intermediate and professional skiers. It has 39 ski trails that cover an area of over 135 acres. The place has many learning centers that offer ski lessons for kids and adults. The post-ski life can be enjoyed at the Black Line Tavern. The Tavern is home to Southern Vermont’s most lively aprés scene, including live music, food and drinks, and fabulous mountain views.
5. Breckenridge, Colorado
Breckenridge is a town situated in the Summit County, Colorado. The downtown area of Breckenridge has a charming atmosphere, thanks to its well-preserved 19th-century Victorian buildings occupied by shops and restaurants. But what makes this city so popular is the Breckenridge Ski Resort, one of North America’s most popular spots for winter vacations. Created in 1961, the ski area boasts more than 150 trails. There is something for everybody, from expert skiers and snowboarders, to beginners or intermediate skiers. This is why it is a great option for families. The city of Breckenridge is also home of the International Snow Sculpture Championships. Sculptors from all around the world participate to this event, which is held every year in January. During the competition, artists may only use hand tools, their creativity and inspiration. The result is a temporary outdoor art gallery right in the city center!