For some people, Christmas just isn't Christmas without snow. So what do you do if you live in a warm climate? Or if your chances for snow aren't as favorable as you'd like? If you're up for a vacation, consider visiting one of these five places guaranteed to have a white Christmas.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Take in spectacular scenery behind a team of sled dogs. Photo by Mount Washington Resort.
The Home of the World's Worst Weather averages an icy 16 degrees for a high temperature on Dec. 25 with a low of -1. With ten out of the last eleven years fielding at least an inch of snow on the ground, you can bet that on the mountain you'll be able to experience a white Christmas. The Mount Washington Resort offers alpine skiing, nordic skiing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, ice skating, snow shoeing and a variety of other snowy winter activities to keep you plenty busy if you're looking for an active holiday.
If Mount Washington's temperatures didn't scare you away, then maybe you'd be up for a visit to Fairbanks. With an average high of 4 degrees and a low of -14, Fairbanks has had an inch or more of snow on the ground every Christmas for the past 30 years. There are plenty of Christmas activities to suite a variety of tastes for your family this holiday season. Go in early December to watch the Design Alaska Holiday Symphony performed by the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, the Fairbanks Symphony Choir, the Northland Youth Choir and the Jubilee Bells.
After attending the symphony you can take a quick 20 minute drive to North Pole, Alaska, and tour Christmas in Ice. Local and international ice sculptors put together amazing displays of holiday-themed ice installations. Along with the art work of brilliant ice sculptures, there's also a kid's park with an ice maze and ice slides to keep the children entertained.
Northern Lights by Fairbanks. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Manners
If you're looking for a little more activity then look no further than Mt. Aurora Skiland. Skiing and snowboarding are offered on the mountain from November to April. Or you can purchase a ticket to watch the mountain's namesake, the Aurora Borealis. From the mountain you have a 360-degree view of the Alaska skies to watch the spectacular Northern Lights from mid-August until mid-April.
Photo by Zoe Rudisill
If Alaska is a little far from home for you, why not stay in the contiguous 48 with a trip to Marquette. Averaging temperatures of 24 to 9 degrees on Christmas Day, Marquette's snowiest Christmas ever was in 2004 when they accumulated 11.7 inches. Do some holiday shopping as you stroll through downtown Marquette visiting its many unique shops and restaurants. Or if you're looking for a little nightlife, downtown also offers a variety of bars for you to visit. Rent skates at the Lakeview Arena and get some holiday ice skating in. Go skiing or snowboarding on Marquette Mountain. Whatever you're interested in, there's a way to find it in this Great Lakes location.
Salt Lake City, Utah
The bobsled track at Olympic Park. Photo by Jim Kelly
While there's only about a 50 percent chance of an inch of snow or more on the ground in the town of Salt Lake City on Christmas Day, you can bet there will be plenty of powder in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. Seven world-class ski resorts dot the mountains, all offering incredible snow, challenging trails and boasting affordable prices. The location offers perfect powdery snow. Moisture from the Great Salt Lake is carried into storms, and thanks to the high levels of salt, creates fluffier, lighter snow to fall into the nearby mountains.
For those who are really obsessed with winter sports, not only do Salt Lake mountains offer incredible adventure, but you can also take tours of the 2002 Winter Olympic Park. See where the games were hosted, take an 80-mph ride in a bobseld guided by a professional racer, take the world's steepest zip line down past the K 120 ski jump hill. For winter sport enthusiasts looking to have an adventures holiday, look no further than Salt Lake City.
Are you looking to really get away and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit? Check out Finland's Santa Claus Village.
Santa's Palace at Santa Claus Village. Photo by Daniele Zanni
High temperatures don't peak above the 20s in December, so there should be plenty of snow to coat the ground at this winter wonderland. Located above the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus Village offers children a chance to meet Santa in his office. It also hosts a Christmas Exhibition that showcases the different ways the holiday is celebrated all over the world. If you're looking for something a little more adventures, crawl into Santa Park, a series of caves that Santa and his elves call home. While at Santa Park you can also attend Elf School, go into Mrs. Claus' Gingerbread Kitchen, go on sleigh rides or visit some of the many shops the area has to offer.
The following locations offer 90 percent or higher chances for a white Christmas:
Lake Placid, New York
Lake Placid Olympic Center. Photo by skabat169
Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains is the town of Lake Placid, N.Y., a place where you can expect to see some snow. Temperatures can be quite cold for Christmas time, averaging highs only in the 20s or 30s. For a town that typically sees feet of snow every winter, it's a safe bet that it will be falling by Dec. 25.
Not only does the location offer the great opportunities for typical winter activity vacations with ski slopes nearby, for those really into winter sports Lake Placid offers some must-sees. Host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid is the home of one of the U.S. Olympic Committee training centers. You can see the Olympic ski jump, bob sled, luge, and skeleton track, and also visit the home of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" hockey game. Downtown you can find shops, restaurants and bars, where you may be hanging out by an Olympic gold-medal athlete.
Located in far northern Maine, Caribou has a great track record for white Christmases. Like Lake Placid, Caribou will rarely see a Christmas Day with temperatures higher than the low 30s, usually in the 20s. Historically the town sees about a 96 percent chance of snow on the ground by Christmas Day.
Within miles of ski slopes, Caribou is a great destination for nature lovers. The Nylander Museum of Natural History is located in town. Not far are the official North Maine Woods, a great place for those who love the great outdoors. The town holds Christmas dances and choral concerts, making this destination a great Christmas stop for those who wind to wind down and get back to nature.
Quebec City, Quebec
QuebecAdabra at Notre Dame des Victoires Church. Photo by Jason Simpson
If your not much for the outdoors, consider Quebec City. The city has numerous spectacular holiday events, including QuebecAdabra, a holiday festival lasting from before Christmas through the New Year's Eve celebrations. There are numerous shopping opportunities with craft fairs, the German Christmas Market, and all of the shops and stores that exist year-round. From music to nativity scenes to multiple demonstrations and displays, and the spectacular Light Event, you'll never run out of things to do. And with a 95-percent chance of snow by Christmas, you can almost guarantee that there will be a snowy backdrop to your activities.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
View from British Landing. Photo by mackinacislandgal
Located right by Marquette, Mackinac has been named one of the top ten islands in the world by the Conde Nast Traveler. What makes the town so incredibly unique is its commitment to historical preservation. The island itself is a national historical landmark. No cars are allowed on the island. Travel through town on a snowmobile or horse drawn carriage for a quaint and quiet look at the winter scene.
With plenty of shops and restaurants downtown you'll find plenty to keep yourself busy. Holiday parades and tree lightings also take place on the island to celebrate the holidays. They also host a Christmas Bazaar, making this location one that is dedicated to keeping your holiday season full of activities and Christmas spirit with hay rides, caroling, and servings of cookies and cocoa.