While most snow festivals feature man-made sculptures, the snow monsters of Zao are entirely natural. Created in rare circumstances that require specific weather and tree formation, the snow gathers in such a way that monsters are formed in the mountains. They can be seen for months during winter, but February is the peak time as they begin to melt in March. With incredible views from the rope-way and plenty of skiing opportunities, you can get your monster fix pretty easily. The hills are illuminated in the winter evenings, and the resorts offer night snowmobile tours to see them. The festival weekend includes a parade of skiers gliding down the mountain with glowing torches in each hand as well as mascots and fireworks displays on the Saturday evening!
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