Winter has officially arrived in New Hampshire and snow is starting to pile up around the state. Accompanying the snow is an often overlooked splendor of winter—the ice! As soon as the mercury drops, the state’s 1,300 lakes and ponds freeze over and transform our natural landscapes into dazzling winter wonderlands. There’s just something about that glossy, mirrored surface that simply inspires. So bundle up and hit the road to discover these five icy adventures that celebrate all things frozen!
Opening January 2024
Preparing for its 11th winter in New Hampshire, when the Ice Castle in Woodstock opens this season, it will be with a brand-new castle design and new ice sculptures! The 25-foot-tall LED illuminated fortress features slides, caverns, tunnels, and crawl spaces. The ice bar that was introduced last season will return, along with horse-drawn wagon rides, a light walk, and a winter fairy village. The NH Ice Castle is one of only six constructed across North America!
Concord NH Winter Festival
January 26-28, 2024
Celebrate winter in New Hampshire’s Capital City at this year’s Winter Fest! This event, now in its 6th year, is a family-friendly event that takes place the last weekend in January on the New Hampshire Statehouse lawn. Meet some of the region’s most talented ice carvers during demonstrations Friday night, then stop by Saturday for the ice carving competition, outdoor curling rink, vendors and food trucks, and weather permitting a free trolley that will bring visitors to and from the Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament at White Park.
Jackson Snow Sculpting Competition
January 26-28, 2024
A favorite winter tradition returns to the Mt Washington Valley again this year: the Jackson Invitational Snow Sculpting Competition. Expert carvers from all over New England and beyond come to participate in this annul event. Sculptors have two days to turn the massive 8-foot by 4-foot cylinders of snow into frozen works of art. Spectators can watch the artists in action at the Great Glen Trails/Mt Washington Auto Road. The event begins at noon on Friday the 26th and wraps up at noon on Sunday the 28th.
Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest
February 2-4, 2024
Considered one of the premier ice climbing events in the US, the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest is a celebration of ice climbing and winter mountaineering. The festival welcomes climbers from all different backgrounds and all levels and abilities. No experience necessary to try this sport, stop by and learn about it from the pros, and sign up for a course with experienced guides and see for yourself why the Mount Washington Valley is one of the finest waterfall ice climbing destinations in North America.
Keene Ice & Snow Festival
February 3, 2024
Get outside and embrace winter at the Keene Ice & Snow Festival. Head to downtown Keene where a dozen ice carvers will be turning massive blocks of ice into magical wintry sculptures. This year marks the 20th year the city has hosted this annual event. In addition to the ice carving there are plenty of other free family activities including snow sliding, a children’s train ride, roaming circus acts, s’mores, sugar on snow, and much more.