The winter snowpack looked good in December, but the past two months have proved to be record-breakers in the dry column. Still, optimism remains high, the snow makers have been churning out white stuff, and the annual North Lake Tahoe SnowFest will go on as scheduled, beginning tonight and running through March 10.
Ski events and parties take place all around the North Shore. Here are some popular happenings:
At the base of Squaw Valley's KT-22 tonight at 6:30, participants in the "torchlight parade" will ski down the mountain. A fireworks display follows at 7. The DJs Space Cowboys will perform on the mountain's sun deck.
The Winter Festival Parade starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and runs through downtown Tahoe City. Parking is always tight, so snag a spot early and attend the annual North Tahoe firefighters breakfast. This year it will be served from 7 to 11 a.m. at the new station, 222 Fairway Blvd., and includes pancakes, sausage, juice, and coffee for $8, $5 children under 12, and free for children under 3.
One of the more fascinating or bizarre, or even insane events is the Polar Bear Swim. Participants swim 225 yards in Tahoe's 40-degree water. It takes place at Gar Woods Pier at 2:30 p.m. Saturday; $35 to enter, nothing to stay warm and watch.
Sunday features winter "bowling." At the Tahoe City Golf Course, contestants ride saucers into 10 large inflatable clowns. Teams of three compete. Register online or at the course (starting at 10 a.m.) Saucers fly at 11. (Full schedule of events at tahoesnowfestival.com )
The festival's musical highlight is jam band moe. The band plays two 8 p.m. shows at the Crystal Bay Casino on Tuesday and Wednesday. Plan a long evening because the shows (with opening act) are listed as being 4 1/2 hours long. ($30; crystalbaycasino.com)
Tiësto in Reno
Dance music mega-star DJ Tiësto has dropped "DJ" from his name and is going simply by Tiësto. After playing the Staples Center in L.A. on Saturday, he'll head to Reno for Thursday's show at Lawlor Events Center.
During a recent phone interview, the Dutch musician said he "would never have expected" his success but is enjoying it. In addition to his concerts, he has a new set of headphones by AKG, a new line of clothing by Guess, and is involved in AIDS awareness causes through Dance4Life Foundation and Bono's Red charity.
At the Reno concert, he promises "a great show with great supporting acts," which will include Tommy Trash, Quintino and DJ Eric Lobe. It's at the Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada campus on North Virginia Street. (6:30 p.m.; $40, $45; ticketswest.com )
Out and about
Half of "You've Got That Loving Feeling," Righteous Brother Bill Medley is also a master solo entertainer, having logged years of experience in the old Nevada cabaret scene. Seeing him used to cost $5 and that included two drinks.
He's more expensive these days. Catching his act Saturday at Thunder Valley in Lincoln will cost $44.50. He's worth it. (8:30 p.m.; thundervalleyresort.com )
Seven-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau plays Cache Creek in Brooks on Saturday (8 p.m.; $49, $59, $75). The Imperial Acrobats of China fly Sunday with three shows starting at 3 p.m. ($20 or free with club card); cachecreek.com
The G. Love and Special Sauce show Saturday at Harrah's Tahoe will start earlier than usual (7 p.m.) General admission standing only ($37.95; Ticketmaster ).
Boomtown, Reno Events Center: Great White, March 30. (800) 648-3790.
Cal Neva Resort Frank Sinatra Showroom: Too $hort, today. (800) 233-5551.
Carson Valley Inn Valley Ballroom: the Four Preps, March 29-30. Cabaret Lounge: The Steppen Stonz, today-Saturday; Steve Lord, Sunday-Wednesday; After Dark, Thursday-March 9; Joe Buoanno, March 10-13; Midnight Express, March 14-16; Chili Sauce, March 21-23. (775) 782-9711.
Eldorado, Reno Showroom: "Magique," Tuesdays-Sundays, through April 14; "Menopause the Musical," Tuesdays-Sundays, April 19-July 14. BuBinga Lounge: (800) 648-5966.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe South Shore Room: G. Love and Special Sauce, Saturday; Jose Feliciano, March 9; Elvin Bishop, April 6; Local Natives, April 13. (800) 427-7247.
Harveys, Lake Tahoe Rondell Sheridan, Todd Sawyer, today-Sunday; Scott Kennedy, Carlie and Doni, Wednesday-March 10; Jackie Flynn and Kevin Flynn, March 13-17; Bob Gleib, March 20-24. (800) 427-8397.
Horizon, Lake Tahoe Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays-Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.
MontBleu Resort, Lake Tahoe MontBleu Theatre: Rob Schneider, March 23. (888) 829-7630.
Silver Legacy, Reno Grand Exposition Hall: Aaron Lewis, today; Yes, March 9. (800) 687-8733.