Winter Events

Mark your calendar for these entertaining, unique and zany Alaska winter events, which bring national attention to Alaska and small cities scattered throughout the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys each winter.

Check out the Calendar of Events for dates and other events happening in the Matanuska Valley this winter.


Colony Christmas Celebration
Palmer, Alaska
A charming, three-day hometown holiday celebration and 70-year tradition for Palmer, Alaska, held annually the second weekend in December. Enjoy horse-drawn and reindeer sleigh rides, light tours, gingerbread houses, tubas, fireworks, Christmas carolers and more.

Talkeetna Winterfest
Talkeetna, Alaska
Talkeetna hosts several unusual events during the year including a month-long winter celebration each December with famed Wilderness Woman Competition and the Bachelor Auction and Ball.


Willow Winter Carnival
Willow, Alaska
This annual winter festival covers two back-to-back weekends, the last weekend of January and the first weekend in February. Highlights include dog sledding, skijoring and cross-country ski races, as well as zany Alaska competitions such as outhouse races, log sawing and ax throwing. Indoor games, kids activities, a talent (or not) show and live entertainment draw festival-goers indoors for a quick warm up.


Iron Dog Snowmobile Race
Wasilla to Fairbanks, Alaska
On the second weekend in February, the Mat-Su Valley hosts the beginning of the longest and toughest snowmobile race event in the world - the Iron Dog. Teams of two snowmobile racers ride from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks, covering more than 1971 miles of unforgiving Alaska terrain. Festivities held throughout the week include the Alaska Snowmobile Safety & Educational EXPO at the Wasilla Sports Complex.

Susitna 100
Big Lake, Alaska
A 100-mile extreme winter race through the remote Susitna River Valley on ski, bike or foot.

Iditarod Trail Invitational
Athletes from across the globe race 350 or 1150 miles along the Historic Iditarod Trail by bike, ski or foot in the world's longest human-powered endurance race from Knik, Alaska to McGrath or Nome.

Jr. Iditarod Sled Dog Race
Settler's Bay to the Yetna Station Roadhouse
Dedicated young mushers from around the world blaze the Iditarod trail in a 160-mile junior sled dog race held annually the weekend preceding the start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.


Mat-Su Valley Pike Derby
Valley lakes and streams
The Houston Chamber of Commerce and the Houston Lions Club host a one month ice fishing derby with prizes for the most number, pounds and lengths of pike, as well as longest, heaviest, shortest and lightest pike. Fish will be cooked at the derby awards banquet and donated to local food pantries.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
Mushers and their sled dog teams travel along the Iditarod Trail in a race to Nome, covering more than 1,100 miles of extreme terrain in the "Last Great Race." After a ceremonial start in Anchorage, the race officially begins in Willow the first Sunday in March.

Cabin Fever Reliever
Trapper Creek, Alaska
Drive north to Trapper Creek the second Saturday in March for crisp, clear Mount McKinley views and a Cabin Fever Reliever celebration for the whole family.

Check out the Calendar of Events for dates and other events happening in the Matanuska Valley this winter.