SnowFest: North Lake Tahoe’s Quirky Winter Fun

Luaus, snow sculpting, and other high-altitude high jinks are set to go down near the big water.


C'MON WINTER... you can do this. You got this. We just know, having seen it in past years, that you can deliver a whole skyful of flakes to North Tahoe ahead of Friday, Feb. 27, which is the official kick-off day for that wackily weirdly whimsicadoodle of a multi-day party, SnowFest. You know SnowFest, of course, dear winter -- you've made it quite chilly and cold and full of flakes in the years it has been around (it kicked off in '82, you'll remember). So while this season has seen its days of dearth in the whole frozen precipitation department, we're just betting you'll bring it. Because while many an outdoor-focused festival hopes for fine weather, well... SnowFest is not that festival. There are several doings that revolve around snow -- and several that don't -- and some really divine drifts for the week-plus bash would be amazing. Okay, winter, that's out of the way. Now, what will your faithful fans do once they're stationed in North Lake Tahoe, from Feb. 27 through March 8? They'll...

EAT CLAMS, BUILD SNOW SCULPTURES... join an Arctic Paddle, meet the Squaw Valley Avalanche Rescue Dogs, cheer on the Tahoe Donner Ididarun, and throw their woolly hat into the ring on a lot of different things. There are a few dozen to-dos during the week-plus SnowFest run, but many of them deal with a) food b) animals c) snow d) more cute animals e) cocktails f) entertainment and g) the enjoyment of brisk temperatures and active pursuits. If you're down with any or all of those categories, and you hold a deep Tahoe devotion (who doesn't, though?), and you have a phone line to winter and you can talk up the whole "make it snow a whole bunch" request on a lot of people's minds, SnowFest could be your bag. Think of it as the kind of small-town festival that usually takes place at the height of summer. Except it isn't summer, and the small town has a strong ski-and-water element, and it is North Lake Tahoe, one of the most delightful -- and daffiest, at least during SnowFest -- places around.

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