Feb. 23 to March 8, 2017 | SnowFest celebrates winter

Dustin John, a guide at Lake Tahoe Snowmobile, rips through fresh powder in the Mount Watson back country off Brockway Summit on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. John recently led a tour some of Tahoe Weekly’s staff to Mount Watson. Read more in this edition. Photography by Austin Taylor | LakeTahoeSnowmobiling.com

We’re nearly halfway through the winter season in Tahoe, which means it’s time for the annual winter carnival – SnowFest – to return to North Lake Tahoe from March 3 to 12. Started 36 years ago to celebrate winter and to get visitors to come to Tahoe after the Presidents’ Day holiday, which once marked the end of the ski season to many visitors (can you imagine?).

Today, SnowFest remains a celebration of the winter season with themed events from the ever-popular Polar Bear Swim, The SnowBall Drop, Paint the Snowman at the North Tahoe Arts Center to the ice sculpture competition, Wine ‘n’ Ice. And, many are excited that the fireworks on opening night on March 4 will be held off Commons Beach in Tahoe City this year.

When I first moved to Tahoe it was a tradition I quickly adopted to come early for the pancake breakfasts in Tahoe City and Kings Beach (the first Saturday is centered in Tahoe City, with the second Saturday in Kings Beach), followed by the parades, and then hitting the after parties around town. It’s a celebration of all the things we love about winter, and a time to spend with family and friends, new and old. This year, I’ll be attending with my 4-year-old nephew, Anikin, who will be joining in with his nursery school to walk in his first SnowFest parade on March 5.