Celebrate the waning days of winter on the north side of turquoise-blue Lake Tahoe with Tahoe City SnowFest’s 10-plus days of activities: Watch the Snow King & Queen parade, dress up your dog for the pet costume contest, or soak up the energy from the area’s festive bars and restaurants.
The annual late-February/early-March festival first launched in Tahoe City in 1982, as a way to show people that the Tahoe area’s good ski conditions last well past February. Over the years the late-winter festival steadily grew, and today the self-proclaimed Mountain Mardi Gras kicks with off four big events in three days: the crowning of this year’s queen, fireworks at Commons Beach, a parade (look for entries like the Unicycling Unicorn), and the Polar Bear Swim—a 250-yard jaunt in the 39-degree waters of Lake Tahoe, followed by reviving snacks and libations at the nearby Gar Woods restaurant and bar.
At the end of the festival, watch the annual Tahoe City Dog Pull (formerly the Ididarun), where a variety of dogs compete in a wagon-pulling race on a snow run. In between there are dozens of events, typically including a torchlight parade, concerts, pancake breakfasts, bar parties, a hot wings eating contest, ice-carving, milk-jug curling, and even a luau. While most activities—check out the calendar—are centered around Tahoe City, some of the festivities are also staged at nearby alpine resorts, including Palisades Tahoe, Homewood Mountain Resort, and Northstar California ski resort. All of them also provide venues for fundraising and educational events for non-profit organizations in the area.