Winter Carnival 101
There are a thousand different ways to enjoy Winter Carnival in McCall. I’ve had several people ask me what the highlights are, from a ‘local’s’ perspective.
Naturally, I can’t speak for ALL locals, but I am willing to share my personal favorites, as well as some FRESH ideas you might not have tried before. This year’s theme is “World of Wonders”, and if you plan right, that’s exactly what you’ll experience during your Winter Carnival adventure. Here are some tips:
FIRST WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS
1. Opening Ceremonies are a blast!
The fireworks show on Friday night is always awesome. There’s something special about the glow that comes off the frozen lake as the fireworks explode in the air.
What visitors may not know is that the entire McCall-area business community comes together (with the help of the city) to sponsor these spectacular shows. (Officially, the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, which presents Winter Carnival). I always stay a little bit warmer during the show thinking about the community spirit that goes into creating it year after year (after year).
2. They Say Everyone Loves A Parade
If you are not the exception to this mysterious rule, you’re probably already planning to check out the Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday, January 25th.
It’s a charming spectacle that always attracts a crowd, no matter the weather!
This year will be no exception, be sure to watch for the Brundage Mountain float and Bruno the Bear!
3. Everyone Deserves a Beer after a Parade
Well, at least those 21 & over. And if you want to sample the BEST local brews available all in one place, you will DEFINITELY want to head up to Brundage for our BEER & GEAR Festival, both Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th. We’ll be featuring craft brews from Salmon River Brewery, McCall Brewing Company, Broken Horn Brewing, Leaky Faucet Brewing and Payette Brewing. $1 for a taste, $5 for a pint.
Admission is free. Check out the details here.
4. Get a Bird’s Eye View of McCall
Even those who don’t ski or snowboard can enjoy the majesty of Brundage Mountain. We do sell single ride lift tickets for $10 for those who want to head up to the summit on foot to enjoy the view. You don’t need ski or snowboard gear, but you DO need to dress appropriately – snow boots – warm layers – definitely a hat. Lifts are open daily from 9:30 to 4:30. (And yes, you can enjoy your local craft beer as you ride up the chairlift.)
You can check out a list of all first weekend events here.
1. Snow Tubing at the Activity Barn
The Activity Barn is open every single day during Winter Carnival. It may sound like kid’s stuff, but I still have a blast every time I visit the tubing hill, especially tubing under the lights!
The Activity Barn is right off Mission Street, you can find directions and details on the extended carnival hours here.
2. Snow Sculpture Tour
The snow sculptures top most ‘must do’ lists for Winter Carnival, and mine is no exception. The only difference is that I try to find a mellower time to take the tour – usually during the week.
It’s always amazing to see the artistry and the fun creations that spring up each year around town. Of course, you can do this on weekends, too (it’s just a little trickier to find parking).
MORE MIDWEEK ACTION THAN YOU THINK
While the crowds in town are thinner Monday – Friday, there’s no shortage of fun events. We’ve got everything from art shows & wine dinners…to snow shoe golf and hairy leg competitions…a bunch of bingo and even the first of two IMPRESSIVE figure skating shows.
There’s definitely something for everyone, you can check out the full Winter Carnival events calendar here.
SECOND WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS
1. Diva Days at Brundage Mountain
Our Diva Day weekend started with $25 lift tickets for women 18 & up, and has grown into one of our favorite annual events! That great discount still stands, but we’ve added even more fun features, like slope-side yoga, chair massages and everyone’s favorite: SPA PACKAGE GIVEAWAYS from Spa Del Sol. You can check out all the details here, it’s totally worth doing, ladies!
2. Snowmobile Fun Run
Taking a chairlift isn’t the only way to explore our beautiful mountain environment. Grab your sled and head to the Bear Creek Lodge for the annual Snowmobile Fun Run. Here’s the scoop.
3. Closing Ceremony Fireworks!
That warm fuzzy feeling comes back around on Saturday, February 1 when the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau puts on ANOTHER great fireworks show to mark the conclusion of this year’s carnival.
You can support the cause, AND enter to win a brand new snowmobile by purchasing a $10 raffle ticket. Check out the details here.
You can check out a list of all second weekend events here.
If you’d like more information on what’s happening at Brundage or at the Activity Barn, you can stop by our Winter Carnival Office at Alpine Village. We’ll be there both weekends of Winter Carnival to answer questions or help you with a Select Card or Lift Ticket purchase. Learn more.
Whether you follow these tips or forge your own path through Winter Carnival, we hope you’ll bring lots of friends and join us as we celebrate our ‘World of Wonders’, McCall style!