MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Sports/outdoors events 2018

January

  • (Jan. 5 – 7)Ice Festival

    Sandstone, MN

    There are ice-climbing and winter camping clinics, a chili cook-off, door prizes and use of demo gear in Sandstone Ice Park.


  • (Jan. 6)SISU Ski Fest

    Ironwood, MI

    This Finnish fest includes a 5K Fun Ski, 15km and 31km ski races, a snowshoe tour and a fat-bike demo on scenic bluffs and along the Montreal River.


  • (Jan. 6 – 7)Gunflint Mail Run sled-dog race

    Gunflint Trail, MN

    Mushers travel two legs of 50 miles, starting and ending at the Trail Center Lodge on the Central Gunflint Trail.


  • (Jan. 6)Foot of the Lake Synchronized Skating Classic

    Fond du Lac, WI

    Watch 85 synchronized-skating teams from across the nation compete at the Blue Line Family Ice Center.


  • (Jan. 19 – 20)Crashed Ice World Championship

    St. Paul, MN

    Red Bull Crashed Ice is returning with the extreme sport of ice cross downhill, or high-speed skating on a downhill course from the Cathedral of St. Paul.


  • (Jan. 19 – 20)Silver Mine Ski Jumping Championships

    Eau Claire, WI

    Watch top skiers from North America and Europe compete at Silver Mine Hill.


  • (Jan. 25 – 28)Winter Games

    Lake Okoboji, IA

    This resort area in northwest Iowa will offer human sled races, flag football on ice, indoor golf, snowball drop, stein-holding, horse-drawn carriage rides, a Freeze Yer Fanny Bike Ride, keg toss and fireworks.


  • (Jan. 27 – Feb 4)City of Lakes Loppet

    Minneapolis, MN

    For recreational skiers, the highlight of this big cross-country ski festival is the Feb. 3 Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles, with glowing ice pillars and "ruins.'' Afterward, there's a tent party with music.

    There are also classical and free-style races, ski games for children, a snow-sculpture contest and orienteering, ice-cycle, speedskating, snowshoeing and skijoring races, plus a beer garden and vendor village.

     

     


  • (Jan. 27 – 28)Norge Ski Jumping Tournament

    Fox River Grove, IL

    See some of the nation's best jumpers compete in this northwest Chicago suburb, which has trained much of the 2018 U.S. Olympic team.


  • (Jan. 28)John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

    Two Harbors, MN

    Watch the start of the marathon to the Gunflint Trail and the mid-distance race to Tofte.

     


February

  • (Feb. 2 – 4)Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

    Bayfield, WI

    Watch four races over two days and get in some skiing and snowshoeing on the side.


  • (Feb. 2 – 4)Duluth Ice & Mixed Fest

    Duluth, MN

    This annual festival in West Duluth's Quarry Park features such events as a free ice-climbing clinic for youths 12 and older, beginner and intermediate clinics for adult climbers, a fat-bike intro and presentations on mountain climbing. There's also a disc-golf course.


  • (Feb. 8 – 11)Winter Carnival

    Houghton, MI

    This snow fest at Michigan Tech University includes a human dog-sled race, snow volleyball and a tug of war and ends with a torchlight parade and fireworks at Mont Ripley ski hill.


  • (Feb. 10 – 11)Pine Mountain Ski Jumping Tournament

    Iron Mountain, MI

    This Upper Peninsula town on the Wisconsin border is where the international jumpers go; it's a stop on the Continental Cup circuit.


  • (Feb. 14 – 18)Michigan Ice Fest

    Munising, MI

    Watch ice-climbing demos and slide shows and take clinics for beginners at spectacular Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior.


  • (Feb. 16 – 17)Book Across the Bay

    Ashland/Washburn, WI

    The weekend starts with a Friday-night polka party in Ashland. On Saturday night, ski or snowshoe across Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay on a 10-kilometer route lined by ice luminaries. If you're not too fast, fireworks will fill the sky as you're approaching Washburn; a bonfire, chili feed and blues music follow.


  • (Feb. 16 – 18)Sax Zim Bog Festival of Birds

    Meadowlands, MN

    Listen to programs and go on field trips to see such boreal species as evening grosbeak, northern hawk owl, gray jay and particularly snowy owls. Register early for this festival northwest of Duluth.


  • (Feb. 22 – 25)American Birkebeiner

    Hayward, WI

    Watch the "Greatest Show on Snow,'' with races of all distances for all ages and abilities plus a ski expo, snowshoe hike, skijoring and vintage ski.

    On Saturday, watch the world's best skiers on the 51-kilometer marathon (55 kilometers for classic skiers).

    On Sunday, there's a ski-gear and fat-bike demo and an event for girls 8-18.

     


  • (Feb. 24 – 25)WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race

    Ely, MN

    There's a dog weight pull competition and mushers lasagna feed Saturday and the race to Tower and back on Sunday.


March

  • (Mar. 2 – 3)Candlelight ski/snowshoe/hike

    Around the region

    There's nothing better than skiing (or snowshoeing or hiking) through a twinkling forest or across a luminary-lined lake. There's usually a bonfire and hot chocolate to enjoy afterward.


  • (Mar. 3)Sleeping Giant Loppet

    Thunder Bay, ON

    Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is the setting for this tour and race, which includes live entertainment, food and a choice of four distances, 10, 20, 35 and 50 kilometers.


May

  • (May 4 – 6)Kettle River Paddle Festival

    Sandstone, MN

    Watch a kayak whitewater rodeo, take a paddling clinic, make your own paddle or join a group float. There's hiking and rock-climbing, too. In Sandstone's Robinson Park and Banning State Park.

     


  • (May 17 – 19)Chequamegon Bay Birding & Nature Festival

    Ashland, WI

    Based out of the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center, activities include bird-banding, hikes and expeditions, hatchery tours and kayaking tours of estuaries.


  • (May 20)Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon

    Libertyville, IL

    This 18.5-mile race and tour through forest preserves to Mount Prospect is for families and first-timers as well as competitors. There's also a 5.25-mile Minithon, and boats can be rented.


June

  • (Jun 3)Ride the Drive

    Madison, WI

    Ride, walk or skate a car-free five-mile loop along Lake Monona, around the State Capitol and through downtown. There are also activity villages, food and music.


  • (Jun 3)Ride for the Arts

    Milwaukee, WI

    This bicycle ride along the Lake Michigan lakefront includes routes of 5, 12, 25, 40 and 66 miles. The longest route goes as far north as Port Washington.

    The rides start and end at the Summerfest grounds, and there's a party afterward.


August

  • (Aug. 24 – 25)Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival

    Superior, WI

    The festival on Barker's Island begins Friday with a parade of teams, fireworks and a concert and continues Saturday with races in the harbor and family entertainment.