Leavenworth is having its 28th Annual Bavarian Ice Festival on January 15 and January 16, 2011. The event takes place in downtown Leavenworth and at the Leavenworth Ski Hill. The Ski Hill is located just a few miles north of town on Ski Hill Road. King 5 News' chief meteorologist Jeff Renner is the emcee for the festival. The Leavenworth ice festival is one of the city's most popular events of the year.
Leavenworth Bavarian Ice Festival events include snow sculptures, a dog pulling competition, dog sled races, snowshoe races, a chili cook off, and a rail jam on Sunday with Stevens Pass snowboarders competing for best tricks in the snow. The festival goes on throughout both days and no reservations are needed. The event is capped off by a fireworks display on the night of Sunday January 16. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for ages 7 to 17, and children under 7 are free. Family, friends, groups, and teams can participate in the events.
Leavenworth Ski Hill offers a great value for families. As of January 13, 2011, it has a base of 37 inches of snow with the convenience of being just a few miles from town. The ski area offers two rope tows for downhill skiing, a ski jumping hill, a tubing hill, and 26 kilometers of cross–country ski trails. The ski area has a family rate of $35.00 for lift tickets for two adults and two children ages 5 thru 17.
Leavenworth has had below average temperatures and above average snowfall thus far this winter season. However, warmer air has moved into the region and above average temperatures are forecasted for the weekend. Saturday's high temperatures is expected to be in the upper 30s with high temperatures Sunday near 40 degrees. Rain showers are expected both days. A 34–degree low temperature is forecasted both days.
Because temperatures are forecasted to be above freezing, it would be advisable to arrive at the Leavenworth ice festival early before the sculptures begin to melt. Visitors may also wish to visit the Lake Chelan Winter "Fire & Ice Festival", which runs January 14 thru January 16, 2011.
Lake Chelan's ice festival includes a parade, sleigh rides through historic downtown Chelan, ice skating, snow games, music, homemade chili, a bonfire on the beach of scenic Lake Chelan, and a fireworks display over the lake on the evening of January 15th. Chelan's second annual Winterfest Wine Walk coincides with the event. On Sunday January 16, there will be a snow sculpting competition, more music, and an awards ceremony for the best sculptors.
Chelan, Washington, which has about 4,000 residents, is a popular tourist destination located about one hour northeast of Leavenworth. Temperatures in Chelan are expected to be similar to what is forecasted for Leavenworth.