Spring staples: Seasonal fun you won’t want to miss in Lake Tahoe
If the past week’s weather is any indication, we’re finally creeping upon warmer months and snow-free skies — hopefully. January and February were definitely more miraculous than March in terms of precipitation (knock on wood — the month is merely halfway over), but all the snow leftover from the handfuls of Atmospheric Rivers we’ve encountered can still be seen nearly everywhere you look.
Warm temperatures AND snow? It must be spring in Tahoe. On Monday, March 20, winter comes to an end, bringing in new seasonal trends you have to experience during your time in the basin throughout the next three months.
From catching the biggest college basketball tournament to enjoying happy hour, Tahoe’s scenery and a multitude of recreation opportunities, here are things you can’t pass up during spring at the lake.
The NCAA tournament kicked off on Tuesday, March 14, and is in full swing until the championship game on Monday, April 3. While the beginning of spring is sure to be at least a little snowy, for all those gamblers and college sports fanatics out there few things beat securing a spot in a Stateline casino with a beer in hand and cheering on your favorite teams (and, of course, hoping your bracket stays intact).
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino hosts viewing parties in the Vinyl Showroom from March 17-19 and March 23-26. Enjoy drink specials such as $4 Vodka Red Bulls, $3 Bud Light Drafts and $2 Bud Light Cans while watching the games on HD projection screens and multiple 65” HD televisions. William Hill Sports Book betting and reserved seating are also available — call 775-443-7008 for more information.
On the opposite side of U.S. 50, MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa opens its Opal Ultra Lounge on Friday, March 17 for NCAA viewing. A $20 cover includes all-you-can-eat stadium-style food. Go team!
Heavenly Spring Loaded
During the same time frame as March Madness are Heavenly’s Spring Loaded events. From March 25 through April 8, Heavenly Mountain Resort will be the site of pond skimming, Unbuckle Après Parties, DJ Cat pop-up parties, outdoor concerts and more.
Be sure to keep tabs on Gunbarrel 25, currently scheduled for April 1 — skiers and boarders alike are challenged to complete at least 25 laps on the lengthy mogul-covered double-black diamond run Gunbarrel.
Learn more at http://www.skiheavenly.com.
Fire Pit Happy Hours
Spring is defined by brisk mornings and evenings, despite the temperature climbing dramatically (high of 50 degrees in Tahoe … is it summer?) during the day. After shredding the gnar, keep the cool factor high by hanging out at a fire pit in your ski gear during happy hour and staying warm.
Popular hangs near Stateline include Basecamp Hotel’s beer garden, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Alpine Union and Base Camp Pizza Co., located in Heavenly Village. Other spots to check out include Ski Run Marina and restaurants such as Himmel Haus and MacDuff’s Public House — while not all of these spots feature outdoor seating, they definitely make for a great place to grab an après-ski brew.
One of the great things about Tahoe is the ability to play in nature year-round. As the snow thaws, the flowers will begin to grow, making springtime hikes the perfect way to take in the scenic beauty of the region.
Popular places to visit include the trails near Sorenson’s Resort, located in Hope Valley, as well as Apple Hill, just outside Placerville, and Winnemucca Lake. Don’t forget your cameras — the scenery is sure to be primed for Instagram.
The Business EXPO
With the end of March comes one of the most popular South Shore events of the year — the annual Business EXPO, presented by the Tahoe Chamber. Discover new products and services offered through various businesses while networking with the community and enjoying food and drink samples, as well as some giveaways.
The event is held Friday, March 31, from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance to save $5 — learn more online at http://www.tahoechamber.org.
Recreation is prevalent throughout the year here in Tahoe, but spring offers some of the best conditions for enjoying the natural playground. Shed your layers and enjoy sunny spring skiing, or strap on the snowshoes and go for a nice stroll near the lake under blue skies.
Mountain biking and rock climbing are picking back up again, and golf courses will be opening in April and May — so it’s time to consult the trail maps and check out your course of choice for details on exact opening dates.
With so much to do, it’s no wonder spring is one of Tahoe’s four best seasons.