Winter events, festivals bring excitement to Tahoe
The season's first significant winter storm delivered 5-7 inches of snow to Tahoe South area resorts and 2-3 inches at lake level, sending celebratory signals throughout the destination. The preseason forecasts are proving accurate as Tahoe prepares for a winter combining skiing and riding with scenic vistas and showroom headliners, film festivals, 24-hour entertainment, dining and gaming
“We’re all braced for a snow-filled season that complements South Shore’s ongoing investments, new attractions and amenities,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “On the heels of a huge summer and with the continuation of the revitalization renaissance, the promise of a big winter is already underway.”
Here are some upcoming events at Tahoe:
The Magnificent Valhalla Grand Hall goes all out in holiday decor during the annual Valhalla Holiday Faire, Nov. 20-22. More than 20 vendors and artists will offer an assortment of handmade crafts and other special items for purchase. Santa Claus visits while local school choirs and other musical groups perform.
Barton Health’s Festival of Trees and Lights gets into the season early with a spectacular celebration of lights, sound and motion. The seventh annual five-day family celebration includes Santa, Christmas tree decorations, and a Teddy Bear Brunch that transforms MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa Convention Center into a holiday wonderland, Dec. 2-6.
The fourth annual Light Up South Lake Tahoe is a Dec. 5 procession led by decorated fire trucks and snowplows along U.S. 50 beginning at Stateline and concluding with a Christmas tree lighting celebration at the “Y” (intersection of Highway 50 and 89). The parade begins at 6 p.m. The evening, hosted by the city of South Lake Tahoe, features a visit by Santa Claus, hot chocolate and cookies.
A Feast of Spanish Traditional Carols and Lullabies will be featured Dec. 4 at Lake Tahoe Community College and again Dec. 6 at St. Theresa Catholic Church. This production by LTCC’s Music Department and the Tahoe Choir highlights the sounds of guitar, marimba, harp and piano. The music inspires and welcomes the holiday spirit.
Snow sports and entertainment combine with Winter Ignite at Heavenly Mountain Resort for two weeks, Dec. 4-12. On-mountain activities feature Unbuckle Après Parties at Tamarack Lodge, Dec. 10-12 and Heavenly's famous DJ Cat, Dec. 12. Popular rock/indie duo, Matt and Kim, will perform a free concert in the Heavenly Village at 7:30 p.m. with an after-party at Peek Nightclub in Harrah’s.
The annual Tahoe Adventure Film Festival offers on-screen adventure films and non-stop on-stage party revelry on Dec. 11 at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. Designed to capture the intensity and passion of free-spirited outdoor adventure, the festival provides mountaintop cliffhangers and high-energy entertainment to ignite fervor for the season. The night includes guest speakers, action photo displays, break-dancers, DJs and a handful of surprises.
The Jingle Jog Fun Run encourages participants to show their holiday spirit by dressing up as Santa, elves and reindeer as they jingle their way to the finish line on Dec. 12. Prizes awarded for Best Costume and Most Ridiculous Costume.
Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus hosts its 10th annual production of Handel’s Messiah at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Dec. 18. The TOCCATA production is a celebration of the holidays and includes favorite selections from Messiah Parts One and Three, as well as seasonal carols.
Festivals and more
The spirit of the season kicks into high gear with Heavenly Holidays, a two-week festival, Dec. 20-31 at Heavenly Village. The event features caroling, live music, magicians, jugglers, photos with Santa and a parade with Heavenly mascot, Ripperoo.
The celebration crescendos Dec. 31 with live music from LA ALLSTARS BAND followed by a brightly-lit gondola ball-drop that descends down the mountain, fire dancers, ice carving and a festive fireworks show at 9 p.m. to welcome 2016. The party continues into the night at all of the casino nightclubs.
SnowGlobe Music Festival returns Dec. 29-31 with high energy, sights and sonic sounds that deck the halls and stretch the outer limits of imagination leading into the New Year. The three-day dance party outside at Lake Tahoe Community College features Jack U, Kaskade, Dillon Francis, Chet Faker, plus dozens of other acts. SnowGlobe will also feature dynamic fireworks displays and "big air" snowboarding and skiing demos between main stage sets.
Gourmet burgers, handmade pastas, mouthwatering steaks, fresh seafood, inventive small plates and decadent desserts are on the menu as area's restaurants roll out extraordinary culinary experiences for Tahoe South Restaurant Week, Jan. 8-15, 2016. As part of California Restaurant Month, the culinary adventure connects foodies with the South Shore's most notable locally-owned eateries, each recognized for their classic favorites and distinctive dishes. Establishments will feature specially priced and prix fixe menus highlighting the theme "Made with Altitude." Diners simply visit their favorite spots throughout the week to enjoy the special menus. Passes, tickets or coupons are not required.
The Loft is a first for the California side as it combines a theater for nightly live entertainment, lounge and restaurant for families and adults. A family-friendly show, "Magic Fusion," will launch early December and run six nights a week with award winning magicians. Located on the third floor of the Heavenly Village Cinema, the stage will rotate to face the lounge and highlight DJs or solo acoustic artists as well. The restaurant will feature homemade Italian cuisine from four generations of authentic recipes, along with a full bar with craft brews, wine and cocktails.
The Heavenly Concert Series returns Jan. 23, with live music outside the Tamarack Lodge every Saturday from 1-3 p.m.
Entertainment and concert lineups at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe include Pablo Cruise, Nov. 28; Cheap Trick, Dec. 19; The Weight featuring former members of The Band, Levon Helm Band and Rick Danko Group, Dec. 30; STS9, Jan. 28; G Love & Special Sauce, Jan. 30; and Umphrey’s McGee with TAUK, March 24.
MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa features Jason Bonham’s Led Zepplin Experience, Dec. 5; and Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, Dec. 11.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe hosts Mojo Green, Nov. 27; Hot for Teacher, Van Halen tribute band, Nov. 28; Doobies, Inc., Doobie Brothers tribute band, Dec. 12; Strange Days, Doors tribute band, Dec. 19; and Cream of Clapton, Eric Clapton tribute band, Dec. 26.
How about some laughs to go with your holiday cheer? Check out The Improv at Harveys with host and emcee Howie Nave. The Improv presents top-tiered names in comedy every Wednesday through Sunday in the Cabaret Theater at Harveys Lake Tahoe. Upcoming acts include: John Henton and David Gee, Nov 25-29; Jim David and Suli McCullough, Dec. 9-13; Darren Carter and Chase Durousseau, Dec. 16-20.
A fleet of city and state snow removal vehicles around the Lake Tahoe Basin will be keeping the roads clear and safe for travel. Caltrans has current California road conditions at www.dot.ca.gov or 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) or 916-445-7623. For road conditions in Nevada, contact the Nevada Department of Transportation at http://nvroads.com or 877-687-6237. Travelers can also get up-to-the-minute online road information and more on their smart phones at NV.mobi.
For the most up-to-date information on snowfall, mountain base depths and road conditions in South Lake Tahoe, check area ski resort web sites and cams or call snow phones: Heavenly Web Cams – 775-586-7000; Sierra-at-Tahoe Web Cams – 530-659-7475; Kirkwood Web Cams – 209-258-3000 and Heavenly Village Web Cams.