Adirondack Trailmix--Lake George in Winter

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Vier of adirondack mountains near Lake George

(All photos courtesy Lake George Winter Carnival, some by Josh Beeles, as noted on face of photo.)

Many summer visitors to the Adirondacks' Lake George area look around during the summer festivities, and then ask natives, "So what do you do around here in the winter? Hibernate?"

Lake George residents would answer, "Not a chance!"

Their summer hospitality just puts on its winter woolies and shows visitors how hardy mountain folks enjoy winter. Volunteers work all year planning the Lake George Winter Carnival, this year celebrating its 55th year. Every weekend during the month of February, visitors to the region will find myriad outdoor winter activities to engage and entertain them. Some come as spectators, while others jump right in – both figuratively and literally. "Jumping in" might involve hurling your normally sane self into the frigid waters of Lake George, or racing a snowmobile headlong across the ice, building up enough speed to leap across an open patch of water…or not!

 Swimmers in Lake George during Winter Carnival

Swimmers dash into the icy waters of Lake George during the annual Winter Carnival

male swimmer wearig hat in Lake George in winter

He's got his hat to keep him warm. (Josh Beeles photo)

Others prefer participating in the annual outhouse race. Say race organizers, "Yup, you guessed it. It is exactly what it sounds like. Local teams work diligently to build their most creative, hilarious, and aerodynamic outhouse. Teams compete against each other in a fun race for the fastest outhouse team."

outhouse race with team wearing hula skirts at Lake George carnival

Speed is good, but, for some, the outhouse race is all about style.

Sled dogs traverse Lake George, with Steamboat moored in background.

Sled dogs traverse Lake George, with Steamboat moored in background.

Weather permitting, a large number of the Lake George Winter Carnival activities are held on the ice, including sanctioned motorcycle, car and ATV races, and dogsled races and rides, as well as  the ice diving scuba demonstration.  Asked what happens if the lake is not frozen in February, decades-long volunteer Lou Tokos said, barely skipping a beat, "We just move the activities up onto land!" The committee does its best to hold every event, weather and ice permitting.

Motorcycles race over ice on Lake George

Motorcycles race on Lake George's frozen surface, giving new meaning to to the expression "breakneck speed." (Josh Beeles photo)

Those with a taste for food events will not be disappointed, as the extremely popular cook-offs are featured all four weekends of the carnival. On February 7-8, you'll find vendors competing for the best chili. On February 14-15 barbecue takes center stage, to be followed the next week by a chowder cook-off, and finally a chicken wing competition. And there's even a restaurant competition. For the less sophisticated foodie, toasting marshmallows to make s'mores by a lakeside bonfire is a favorite activity. 

bonfire on the shores of Lake George in winter

Visitors warm themselves by a toasty fire, sometimes making
s'mores as they await the fireworks display.

 Chainsaw artist wiht castle he created at  Lake George carnival

 Chainsaw artisan poses with his creations in front of an ice palace.

Some events and activities are held every weekend of the carnival, including fireworks displays over the lake, helicopter rides, ATV-drawn wagon rides, Lake George Dog's Got Talent Show, ice carving, wood carving,  the Wish Lantern Fly-Off, Pony rides and numerous kids' activities and a youth hockey scrimmage.

There's fun for every member of the family at the carnival, so bundle up the kids and find the Lake George Winter Carnival about one hour north of Albany, NY, via Adirondack Northway (I-87), exits 20, 21 and 22. We suggest you reserve lodging in advance, using your favorite search engine or checking out or

 For updated carnival information see










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