3. Stowe Winter Carnival, Stowe, Vt.
First held in 1921, canceled for World War II and relaunched in 1974, the Stowe Winter Carnival is New England's best. The weeklong-plus event in late January is highlighted by a professional ice-carving competition that results in some of the most ornate temporary masterpieces in the art world. There's also the notably unprofessional Snowvolleyball tournament, Snowgolf and a Super G ski race. Wee ones will enjoy the Kids Karnival Kaos, an afternoon of games and family-friendly entertainment.
4. Whitefish Winter Carnival, Whitefish, Mont.
This standout February bash features a polar plunge in Whitefish Lake and a parade complete with a host of costumed revelers (watch out for the yetis), but the main event is undoubtedly the World Skijoring Championships. For those who have never heard of skijoring, here's a primer: A horse and rider propel a skier through a snow-covered obstacle course of jumps and gates. There are four classes (including a mule class), as well as a long jump.
5. Cordova Iceworm Festival, Cordova, Alaska
Held during the sun-deprived month of February, this festival celebrates Alaska's little-known iceworm, the dinky critter that tunnels through glaciers and cannot survive in warm weather. Beyond the Miss Iceworm Pageant, there is a race to see who is the speediest at putting on a survival suit and a parade highlighted by an elaborate oversized iceworm puppet and its numerous puppeteers, inspired by similarly serpentine Chinese dragon puppets.
Also of Interest
- Where to retire if you love the outdoors
- AARP New American Diet provides tips on how to stay fit
Visit the AARP home page for travel discounts, tips and more