This Tuesday marks the spring equinox, officially bringing an end to winter. Does that mean your ski and snowboard season is over? Absolutely not! The days are longer, the crowds have shrunk, and the winter storms have given way to sunshine and warm temperatures. If you haven’t taken a trip to the California High Sierra this year, now is the time! The Sierra Nevada are home to some of the best spring skiing on the planet and amazing outdoor events. It’s time for High Sierra spring festivals.

WinterWonderGrass & Alpine Meadows Music Series

WinterWonderGrass Tahoe
Winter Wondergrass Tahoe | Photo by Dylan Langille © WWG All Rights Reserved 2016

Spring ‘dual days” are king in North Lake Tahoe. From spring skiing to outdoor festivals, the activities are endless. Enjoy bluegrass, brews, and brisk mountain air? Then the WinterWonderGrass Festival from April 5th – 7th is right up your alley. Want to do some spring skiing AND hear a bit of music? Come enjoy FREE live music in the village at Palisades Tahoe with music-filled weekends at Palisades Tahoe running from March 17th through April 27th. Talented musicians take center stage not only at Alpine Meadows, but all-around North Lake Tahoe. It’s a spring experience filled with great skiing and exceptional FREE live music.

Spring is Loaded with Fun on the Southern Shore of Tahoe

Photo by: First Track Productions / National Hockey League – Image appears courtesy: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Spring means Sun, Snow, & Good Times with Friends & Family on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe. Throughout March and April, you’ll find a smorgasbord of one of a kind events like the Gunbarrel 25. Taking place on Heavenly’s legendary mogul run “The Face”, it’s set for March 23rd. This long-time tradition challenges participants to lap the run 25 times in one day! More of an “après” person? No problem. There’s fun to be had right next to the slopes like the Subaru Winterfest at Sierra-at-Tahoe on March 23rd & 24th. A one-of-a-kind music and mountain lifestyle tour that invites everyone regardless of if you enjoy skiing to bask in their love of adventure and all things winter! Be sure to see the full schedule for the entire list of events going down all over town.

Owens Lake Bird Festival & Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival
Image appears courtesy: Visit Mammoth

Love nature? Join Friends of the Inyo and their partners over the weekend of April 20th for the annual Owens Lake Bird Festival in Lone Pine, CA. This festival celebrates migrating shorebirds as they move between hemispheres. More a film buff? The five-day Mammoth Lakes Film Festival showcases 50 films that will unlock your creative mind and get you thinking bigger than ever before.

Yosemite & Woodcarving

yosemite falls
Photo by: Kim Lawson – Image appears courtesy: Visit Yosemite | Madera County

If you want to take in Mother Nature’s cascading fireworks as in the roar of waterfalls in Yosemite, a visit in spring is in order. This is waterfall season! Be aware that reservations are required starting on April 13th if you want to visit. The beauty doesn’t stop there though. Take a day trip through the foothills surrounding Yosemite to immerse yourself in the blooming of wildflowers as far as the eye can see. Then marvel at the intricate craftsmanship at the Oakhurst Woodcarvers Rendezvous happening from April 14th – 20th. This event showcases artistic talent of the region and even gives you an opportunity to learn how it’s done. After all, Oakhurst is known as “The Carved Bear Capital of the World.”

Train A Frog To Jump Its Way To History

Calaveras Frog Jumping Contest
Image appears courtesy: Calaveras County Visitors Bureau

Out of the legends of the High Sierra, one that still catches the imagination of visitors to this day is Mark Twain. And it all started with his story of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” which happened in the town of Angels Camp. In honor of the story that launched Mark Twain’s career, the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee is held annually on the 3rd weekend of May. Across its four days, you’ll find classic fair events such as a rodeo, carnival rides, livestock competitions, and of course the event’s star of the show, the frog-jumping contest.

Pond Skims Anyone?

Cushing Crossing skier skiing across the pond with crowd in foreground at the Spring Skiing Capital
Image appears courtesy: Palisades Tahoe

Nothing evokes springtime more in the High Sierra than a pond skim. A way to celebrate a great winter of skiing. An opportunity to dress up in funky costumes and attempt to cross a chilly pond of water. First up is the Kirkwood Slush Cup on Saturday April 6th where the old tradition has been renewed. Then on closing day at Heavenly Mountain, it will hold their Pond Skimming Championships at the base of World Cup near the California Lodge. Current scheduled day is Sunday April 7th. Last but not least is the grand poobah of pond skims that all other resorts envy and attempt to emulate – the Cushing Crossing at Palisades Tahoe. Every year, they gather a celebrity judging panel and amazing emcees for this spectacle. No matter which one you go to, expect big spills and laughable thrills that you don’t want to miss.

Spring means your opportunities for a multi-sport day of adventure & fun in the California High Sierra are boundless. Start the day on the slopes followed by a warm bike ride & finish it off with any one of these amazing High Sierra spring festivals. How’s that for well-rounded awesomeness?

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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