There’s still ample opportunity for fun in the snow in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, Utah, and California with dog races, polar bear swims, snow sculpture, and festivals.
Every March, mushers from around the world enter the IDITAROD TRAIL SLED DOG RACE (www.iditarod.com) along a gold rush–era supply route from Anchorage to Nome. This year, more than 100 sled drivers and 1,600 dogs will brave 1,150 miles of icy mountain passes, dense forests, frozen rivers, and bleak tundra. They may also face an outcry from activists concerned for the sled dogs, who can suffer injuries and sometimes death. The race starts March 4. Here are more spring events.
CELEBRITY WINTERFEST South Lake Tahoe, Calif. March 10–12. Cheer as skilled athletes with developmental disabilities compete on teams with celebrities and staff from sponsoring groups. Heavenly Mountain Resort, (775) 586-7000, www.skiheavenly.com.
NORTH LAKE TAHOE SNOW FESTIVAL Tahoe City, Calif. March 3–12. The 10-day event has a torchlight parade, polar bear swim, snow sculptures, and dog races. (530) 583-7167, www.tahoesnowfestival.com.
SNOW BLAST North Powder, Ore. March 18. Build a dummy, strap it to skis, and send it flying in the dummy race. Or enter the on-snow mountain bike race. Also, a tri-tip dinner, bonfire, and fireworks. Ski Anthony Lakes, (541) 856-3277, www.anthonylakes.com.
SNOWMOBILE HILL CLIMB Inkom, Idaho. April 7–9. Ride the chairlift to the mountaintop to watch intrepid competitors coax their 225-horsepower snowmobiles up a harsh 75-degree grade toward $50,000 in prizes. Pebble Creek Resort, (208) 775-4452, www.pebblecreekskiarea.com.
SNOW RODEO Essex, Mont. March 18–19. Join the competition or just watch this wild rodeo on skis. Bareback "bronc ride" on an inner-tube stallion or rope a wooden goat while speeding down a slope. (406) 888-5700, www.izaakwaltoninn.com.
SPRING CARNIVAL Brian Head, Utah. April 14–16. Try pond skimming—a snow run with a water-ski finish. Brian Head Ski Resort, (435) 677-2035, www.brianhead.com.
SPRING SNOW GAMES Jackson Hole, Wyo. March 10–12. Head into the heart of the Tetons to compete for prizes (ski gear, lodging, and the like) in races, raffles, and scav- enger hunts. Caribou-Targhee National Forest, (307) 353-2300, www.grandtarghee.com.
URBAN IDITAROD RACE San Francisco. March 4. Join hundreds of "dogs" (city revelers) pulling their "sleds" (grocery carts).
WINTER CARNIVAL White Pass, Wash. March 4–5. Enjoy the huge snow castle for kids and a live-action contest featuring snow sculpture artists from several Western states. Also, games, races, and obstacle courses for all ages. White Pass Ski Area, (509) 672-3101, www.skiwhitepass.com.
Photography by Kathleen Goyette
This article was first published in March 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.