Lake Geneva, Wis.

Sculptors will transform blocks of snow into creative sculptures as 15 teams from around the world compete in the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship Wed.-next Sun. at Riviera Park and Flat Iron Park. The captivating event is the highlight of the 25th annual Winterfest that runs simultaneously. Festivalgoers can enjoy ice skating, human sled races, an ice castle (weather-permitting), an ice bar, fire spinner performances, a film fest and more (visit fest).

Ely, Minn.

The Ely Winter Festival, an annual 10-day celebration, will be held Feb. 6-16 at Whiteside park and nearby sites. Snow fans can attend the International Snow Sculpting Symposium, featuring top professional sculptors showcasing their designs. Attendees can also enjoy an art walk, ice fishing, sports tournaments, a medallion hunt, fat tire bikes, arts and crafts workshops, music, an amateur snow sculpting (preregistered required) and more. Admission fees vary. (ely

Albert Lea, Minn.

Head south of the Twin Cities for a day of winter fun in the 11th annual The Big Freeze, Feb. 8. Held downtown and at other locations, the family festival will be filled with outdoor and indoor events starting with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. at First Lutheran Church. Throughout the day enjoy ice fishing, ice skating, a Polar Plunge, sledding, pond hockey tournament, chili cookoff (noon-2 p.m.), picture taking with Elsa (11 a.m. -noon), live music and a Big Island Rendezvous and Festival Historical Faire (

Colleen A. Coles