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VINOTOK: CRESTED BUTTE, CO
First, locals select the town’s most eligible bachelor to be the Green Man, whose main duty is to dress up like Peter Pan and kiss all the young maidens he pleases. Then, after two days of pig roasts and parties, the festival culminates with the burning of the Grump, a nearly two-story metal-and-cloth effigy.
(September 22-24, crestedbutte.com)
PRAY FOR SNOW: SEATTLE, WA
Last year some 400 diehards showed up at a downtown bar for the annual preseason party of the Alpine Hut (a local ski shop). Festivities included bar-top dancing in retro-skiwear, drawings for season passes, and a T-shirt contest-dry, not wet. Um, ladies, if you want it to snow, you’re gonna have to get your shirt wet. Oh well, there’s always next season.
(November 16, alpinehut.com)
ULLR FEST: SUGARBUSH, VT
This 13-hour party kicks off at the Green Mountain Lounge in the afternoon, when locals dress up like Norse gods and-you guessed it-start burning stuff. Eventually, the hardiest Vikings (and a few stumbling civilians) pay a dollar and hop the “Mad Bus” for a tour of Mad River Valley’s pubs.
(November 26, sugarbush.com)
IGNITE YOUR SEASON: BLUE MOUNTAIN, ONTARIO
While most resorts embrace Ullr, Blue Mountain worships a disco-inspired version of Skadi, the Norse goddess of snow and skiing. Featuring every-thing from dancers (fire, break) to sacrifices (ski, snowboard), the party wraps up with outdoor screenings of the latest ski films.
(December 17, bluemountain.ca)
GRIZ DAYS: FERNIE, BC
When the “Griz,” a 300-pound flannel-clad mountain man, finally emerges from his den in March, some 3,000 people show up for his three-day-long coming-out party. The highlight is Saturday’s Extreme Griz contest, when Griz look-alikes compete in beer-chugging events and arm- and leg-wrestling duels before everyone tucks into roasted pig.
(March 3-5, fernie.com)