Dance Yourself Warm at the World's Best Outdoor Winter Music Festivals

If you don't mind a little snow, festival season can last all year long.

Think “outdoor music festival” and you’re probably picturing sweaty fun in the sun shenanigans, thousands of bodies packed in close vicinity with very little clothing. But winter—and music—enthusiasts have long known a secret: The best music festivals happen in the colder months, ideally in gorgeous locales layered with powder, places where you can dance virtually sweat-free, and hit the slopes in your downtime. Here, sucking down water in hydration tents gives way to all things après-ski in warm, cozy, fur-strewn chalets. And you never know what will be on offer: Some festivals are all in on ice luges while others are more reserved, favoring guitar strumming with a side of Alps. And at one, you can even learn to DJ yourself.

No matter the vibe, they all offer a pretty good opportunity to pull out your most outrageous cold weather gear. Neon snow suit? Of course. Furry bear costume? Don’t mind if we do. Barely anything at all? Sure—the more things change, the more they stay the same. Here are the best winter music festivals to keep the party going year-round.

fireworks exploding at an outdooor music festival

When: January 18–February 10
Where: Montreal, Canada
What to know: While it’s kind of a bummer that Montreal’s Igloofest—known as “the coldest celebration in the world”—isn’t actually a bunch of igloos you can dance in, they do have ice sculptures, ice slides ,and no doubt plenty of sweet, sweet ice wine. You’ll need it to fuel you through 10 days of acts like Kaskade, Marc Rebillet, 1000 Gecs, and more. And when you’re not dancing to keep warm, offstage events include themed ‘20s, ‘70s, ‘90s, and 2000s weekends plus free family-friendly daytime events in Old Montreal. And if after all that you still want more, stick around for Igloofest Quebec, which runs March 7 to 9.

a DJ in snow gear playing for dancers

When: January 20–27
Where: Les Deux Alpes, France
What to know: Set in one of the oldest ski resorts in France, Snowattack relishes in the art of Après Ski—fitting, as the concept was invented by the French. This year’s lineup is heavy on Hungarian artists, so you can hear something new at day parties, night parties, heck, every time of day parties in venues like Le Refuge des Glaciers, where you can perfect your clunky ski boot dancing 10,000 feet in the sky. Remember to pack some decidedly non-ski gear for activities like the giant bikini and costume slip—after a day indulging in apres festivities probably, it won’t seem too daunting.

a woman with a large glowstick in an ice cave
Enter The Snow

When: February 3–10
Where: Via Lattea, Italy
What to know: This one’s for the real ski enthusiasts: Located in the heart of the Alps straddling Italy and France, Enter the Snow comes with ski passes to explore 250 miles of slopes, a stocked freestyle park, and plenty of winter sports challenges. Rest assured you’ll get your fill of winter activity during the day, all so you can party on the slopes at night. (Or skip the sweat and just party on the slopes during the day.) Ski right into outdoor stages, sip Champagne on a rooftop, soak in hot tubs, and enjoy beat-thumping merriment. And if you’re looking for late night entertainment, the Boogie Woogie Club stays bumping till the wee hours.

A DJ in a cozy sweater in front of his crowd
Palm Tree Festival

When: February 23–24
Where: Aspen, Colorado
What to know: When Palm Tree Crew, founded by Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo and partner Myles Shear, first started throwing events in 2014, the name wasn’t quite so ironic. Their festivals popped up in Rio, St. Barths, and Croatia, places where there’s, you know, palm trees. But in 2023 they decided to transport their tropical vibes to the wintry landscape, where sun-starved revelers could admittedly really, really use it. Now in its second year in Aspen’s Rio Grande Park, expect headliners likeDavid Guetta, The Chainsmokers, and Kygo himself, among others.

two people in snow cheersing with beers

When: March 1–3
Where: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
What to know: A ranching community turned world-famous winter wonderland, Steamboat Springs is no stranger to outdoor winter festivals. And WinterWonderGrass is no exception, a three-day bash that bills itself as “part music festival, part beer festival, and part family reunion.” They’re not kidding—there’s a kids’ zone to keep the little ones occupied, plus free beer, wine, and spirits tastings for the adults. Offset tickling your taste buds with a hefty dose of mountain music, with acts like the folk-bluegrass The Dead South and virtuoso guitarist Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, a jamboree stage and a “pickin’ perch,” and free shows along the gondola’s route.

a firedancer entertains the crowd
Ollie Millington/Redferns/Getty Images

When: March 16–23
Where: Avoriaz, France
What to know: Pack your celebration gear: It’s the 10th anniversary of this week-long blowout ski slope festival, held at the only fully pedestrianized resort in France. Ski-in and -out, or ride a horse through if you feel like it. It’s all fair game as long as you leave your car at home. Five stages—including a massive open-air night venue—host a range of acts from EDM and drum and bass acts to headliners like UK rapper The Streets and The Ultimate Abba Party (find us there). Packages include access to a natural freestyle park in the forest, one of the only superpipes in Europe, and lift passes to the highest resort in Les Portes Du Soleil. And if you’re not so into the whole winter sports thing, there’s everything from a squash court and ice skating to indoor bowling, a cinema, and a heated water park (wait, no—find us there).

a DJ in front of some snow-capped mountains

When: March 16–23
Where: Alpe d’Huez, France
What to know: The famed EDM festival brings its over-the-top fantasy-inspired aesthetic to the ski slopes of France for its fourth year, complete with magical cocktails, plenty of melted cheese, and a stacked lineup including Armin van Buuren, Tchami, Malaa, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, and more. Rave in the snow during the day, then spend the night perusing multiple stages in the village of Alpe d’Huez. In your downtime, ski, snowboard, snowshoe, snowmobile, dogsled, paraglide, hit the Alpine track, or bundle up for some outdoor yoga. And you can even start your own journey to the next year’s stage at the onsite DJ workshop. You never know…

When: March 17–23
Where: Les Portes du Soleil, France
What to know: A straightforward name for a straightforward event, this rock and roll fest takes over Les Portes du Soleil. Known as an ultimate winter sports destination, with 12 ski resorts spread across France and Switzerland, it’s the perfect place to sprinkle your days on the slopes with acts like French musicians Talisco, Zaho de Sagazan, and more against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks.

people in super mario costumes

When: March 16–23
Where: Mayrhofen, Austria
What to know: Say you go to these music festivals, watch everyone cruising down the slopes, and long to get on them yourself, but you just don’t know how. In that case, Snowbombing is for you. There are plenty of pistes to satisfy the slope vets, while newbies can get in on the action too with daily lessons. You can also participate in festival activities like the Snowlympic Games, with challenges like snowball pitching and slippery tug of war, and find a festival buddy for life—or just the week—at Chairlift Speed-Dating. Of course, there’s also comedy acts and music from the likes of Fatboy Slim. Snowbombing splits its time between five outdoor mountain venues during the day, and in-town venues from the afternoon into the evening.

a man with a guitar playing in a tent in the snow
Zermatt Unplugged

When: April 9–13
Where: Zermatt, Switzerland
What to know: Typically, winter slope festivals lean heavily on the EDM—all the better to keep attendees warm. But Zermatt Unplugged opts to keep things cozy by warming your heart. Set on a series of indoor and outdoor stages in and around the Swiss ski village of Zermatt, here you’ll find acts like Grammy-winning jazz musician Gregory Porter, the ethereal Patrick Watson, and Angus and Julia Stone, whose fourth album took shape in Zermatt after a blizzard happily stranded them in the fairytale Swiss town. "It was like stepping into a completely different dimension," said Julia at the time—which pretty much explains what it’s like to experience this iconic mountain festival.

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Vanita Salisbury is Thrillist's Senior Travel Writer. She is currently trying out bear costumes.