Let’s be honest, I prefer summertime over bitter, cold, dark winters. But living in Idaho you learn to find ways to stay busy to chase away those winter time blues. Southern Idaho is the best place to have fun in the winter. Surrounded by mountains to ski, board, and snowshoe, natural hot springs to hike to, and winter events that draw crowds from all over the states! If I am going to spend my winter somewhere other than California or Arizona, it might as well be Idaho.
This year for some winter fun, we decided to head up a little bit north to McCall. Each year they host a week long winter carnival! I had never been before and it was my good friends birthday so we piled 18 of us into an Airbnb and celebrated his big 26 at the carnival! It was the perfect way to shake off my winter slump. I actually enjoyed the snow for once!
Know Before You Go:
Book your room early! Over 60,000 people pile into the tiny town of McCall during this week so room and board goes quickly. Also, they have about 3 taxis in the whole town. So plan your transportation well. We learned this one the hard way. Taxis were not available for an hour and a half and we were cold, wet, and ready to go back to our Airbnb!
Dress appropriately! There are many activities to do in the snow while you are there. Snow shoes, snow pants, and a winter coat are a must! You won’t be the only one bundled up. It looks like a day on the ski hill once you get down by the lake. And if you decide to venture across the frozen lake like we did, wear good shoes! Water still seeps up through the ice and boy is it cold.
What to do:
There are so many activities and the hardest part is fitting them all in! If you go the first weekend like we did, I recommend getting downtown in time for the opening ceremony. That is where they announce the snow sculpture winners and make sure everyone has a map and list of times and events. There are even fireworks that first night!
The next day we started out at the parade. It was basically like Mardi Gras but covered in snow. They throw out beads and leis and have all sorts of dancers, bands, and floats. Then these same dancers and bands perform around town throughout the day at different businesses! Next we went to the beer garden and ice bar to get a few drinks before checking out all of the snow sculptures!
We split up into groups and went exploring for the best snow and ice sculptures in the town. The businesses each sponsor one of the sculptures so as you follow the map from business to business you see all sorts of awesome designs! Each one is very unique and different from the one before. It was AMAZING to see what these arts could do.
In our down time we visited the food line where food trucks were line up down the block offering everything from noodles, to bbq, to turkey legs! So much delicious food, so little time. I was in heaven at the food line! Next, we went and played on the frozen lake! Very fun, but a little intense. It was covered in snow and with all the people out there, water had begun to seep up through the ice. Well worth the awesome pics we got though!
One of the events that we missed but I REALLY wanted to see was the start of the dog sled races! On Monday the race begins and they run a 250 mile trail! How cool is that?! There is live tracking over the next two days and on Wednesday they all begin to arrive back around 1AM and there are festivities celebrating the race! Next year I want to make sure that we are there for that event!
There are so many awesome things going on that the main thing is finding the time to do them all! I would love to go for the whole week next time we have the chance to go. This is definitely an event we will be going back to. I would recommend anyone within a day’s drive to visit the carnival! And this event is so kid friendly! I will definitely be bringing my kids to this one day.