Six competitions for snow addicts

Jordan Bissell, Special to CNNPublished 7th January 2015
(CNN) — Yeah, yeah, we know that hot cocoa's great (hello, brandy hot chocolate is a thing), but winter is the only season when you can jump around in snow like a little kid and not look like a drunken fool.
Turn off the "Law & Order" reruns, put on your marshmallowy-est puffy jacket, and go outside!
Here are our six recommendations for snowy competitions to watch or compete in, if you're brave enough to try.
Autonomous Snowplow Competition, Minnesota (January 22-25)
Shaping and carving snow is one thing, but actually dealing with the thick blankets covering the ground is an art in and of itself.
At the fifth annual ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition in St. Paul, Minnesota, the event coordinators have cleverly made a competition that is actually exciting and entertaining out of just cleaning up snow.
Competitors -- often college students -- design, develop and build their own snowplows. And if that isn't impressive enough, the machines must be controlled electronically during the competition. Each snowplow navigates a course and clears a designated path in the snow.
Visitors can watch in awe (and maybe with just a teensy bit of jealousy) as the teams are judged on their creations' designs, presentations and performances.
Cannington Dog Sled Races, Canada (January 24-25)
The Cannington Dog Sled Races are the perfect event for any snow lover or dog lover.
If you prefer to keep the beasts at a safe distance, you can appreciate their power and agility while watching them speed through the snow. If giving plenty of cuddles and kisses is more your speed, head over to the petting zoo for a more personal experience.
The Ontario race is open to everyone: professional racers, kids and teams with mixed breed dogs.
If this show of speed and control still doesn't impress you, watch the skijoring races, where people must not only balance on skis but be simultaneously pulled across the snow by dogs. It's very impressive to those of us who can't even manage to get the knack of "normal" skiing.
U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition, Wisconsin (January 26-31)
If you see a blank sheet of snow as merely fodder for a massive snowball fight, the 2015 U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, will blow your mind.
At this prestigious event, artists showcase their ability to tame blocks of snow into stunning masterpieces. They work with ladders and scaffolds to gently carve and smooth their blocks until the image within shines through.
The single-block sculptures are larger than life, often standing even taller than the artist, but they must fit within a 12-foot circle.
These sculptors are the best of the best. The winners of each state competition come to Lake Geneva to vie for the winning title. The winner also receives an invitation to compete in the Association International de Sculpture sur Neige et Glace-sanctioned Snow Sculpting Competition.
Alpine World Ski Championships, Colorado (February 2-15)
If you're one of those Winter Olympics fans who has to catch each mogul and every exhilarating run down the slopes, just imagine how incredible it would be to watch it all in person.
At the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, you will be able to admire every snowflake and gasp along with the crowd -- and every devastating wipeout -- as the world's most talented skiers navigate the slopes.
Even if skiing isn't really your thing, the town of Vail will be the perfect winter wonderland during early February. Musical phenoms Michael Franti & Spearhead, Phillip Phillips and American Authors will all be performing during the championships.
Spend your free moments sampling Sierra Nevada beers at the Winter Beer Camp or checking out the International Experience Celebration, where each new day brings a whole new spread of international food and drinks.
U.S. National Toboggan Championships, Maine (February 6-8)
At the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, the competitive tobogganing is a far cry from what most of us did sliding down our driveways on old cardboard boxes.
Here, the competition is fierce, and many of the sleek toboggans are handcrafted to ensure the fastest runs possible.
Although watching other people whiz down steep hills on small wooden planks is certainly entertainment enough, the town of Camden is offering a bevy of other kinds of entertainment during the weekend of the championship.
Test your culinary prowess at the Chili Challenge, show your creative talents during the Costume Contest parade, and snuggle around the bonfire.
For older guests, the 2nd Eva Down the Chute Beer & Wine Tasting is the perfect way to mix the magic of snow and the magic of alcohol. Taste a cornucopia of beers and wines, and vote for your favorite brewer as the alcohol keeps you from feeling the snow's frosty bite.
World Wheelchair Curling Championship, Finland (February 6-13)
Perhaps you've watched curling teams compete in the Winter Olympics and thought to yourself, "Really? That's a sport?"
But just add a wheelchair into the equation, and the whole thing gets infinitely more impressive and more captivating. At the World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Finland, that's just what you'll see.
Only one new rule sets the wheelchair athletes apart from the traditional curling competitors: no sweeping. Besides that, every skill and strategy is the same.
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