The Story of SnowFest!
In the spring of 1981, Bob Everson, Marketing Director at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, approached the Tahoe City Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors & Convention Bureau with the suggestion the North Tahoe Community host a winter carnival. In the early 80s, skiers visited Tahoe primarily during the months of December through February and missed the incredible snow pack that was available in March.
A meeting, to present the idea to interested community individuals was called late in June. Attendees at the meeting included the local service organizations, ski resorts, merchants and lodging property owners. The idea was received favorably and a second meeting was scheduled for mid-July. On July 4, Bob Everson was killed in a boating accident on Lake Tahoe. At the next meeting, it was determined that the community would move forward with an event called “SnowFest!” in honor of Everson.
The mission of SnowFest! was to promote Tahoe’s incredible weather and skiing early in March, to encourage tourism to the area at a traditionally off-season time of the year, and to provide an opportunity for the locals to get out and enjoy Tahoe at its winter’s finest.
The Success of SnowFest!
SnowFest! became extraordinarily successful. It was named one of the Top 100 Events in the United States by the American Business Association, and the Top 10 Events in California by the California Department of Tourism. It received media coverage throughout the country in national publications and attracted tourists from across the U.S. and Canada.
In 2000, SnowFest! found itself deeply in debt after some management challenges. In 2003, a group of interested community members made the decision to keep the magnificent event alive. The decision was greeted with great enthusiasm by the public. Under the new name of “Snow Festival,” this celebration of winter and life in the High Sierra continued to thrive.
Renamed “SnowFest!” again in 2008, the event consists of approximately up to 100 events throughout the North Lake Tahoe area including a torchlight parade, laser show and fireworks, parades, pancake breakfasts, concerts, bar parties, ski races, dog and pet events, an ice-cream eating contest, a luau, Mardi Gras party, ice carving, a polar bear swim and much more. It is truly an opportunity to go out and play with friends, neighbors and visitors.
SnowFest! provides a venue for fundraising and educational events for many of the area non-profit organizations. In 2006, some of those events included the Rotary Club Ski Challenge, Kiwanis Irish Stew Feed, North Tahoe Firefighters’ Auxiliary Pancake Breakfast, the Vertical Express for Multiple Sclerosis, the Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue Great Ski Race, Tahoe Women’s Services presentation of The Vagina Monologues, Sunnyside Resort’s Luau benefiting their scholarship program, Lake Tahoe School Children’s Science Exploratorium, Arts for the Schools’ presentation of “The Jungle Book, the North Tahoe community Family Resource Center’s Family Snow Feast and Fiesta and several others. In addition each year, several young ladies vie for the title of Snow Festival Queen. The girls are sponsored by local non-profits with proceeds going to everything from Project Graduation to Rotary, Kiwanis, North Tahoe High School Band Program, the Junior/Senior Prom and the Firefighters Auxiliary.
SnowFest! is proud to consist of an all-volunteer Board of Directors for SnowFest! 2019.
Who Are the Miners?
The Snow Festival Miner krewe were developed as characters for SnowFest! as a result of the original legend which stated that eons ago, Old Man Winter froze the lake year around. While burrowing, Snow Slippery found the Miners in the gold mines of the Comstock near Virginia City. Snow Slippery brought the Miner krewe to the lake and the heat they brought with them from the mines returned the seasons to Lake Tahoe. The black “soot” on their faces represents the Miners who brought the seasons back to Lake Tahoe!