Snow Festival raises funds for charities | SierraSun.com

Snow Festival raises funds for charities

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Each year the North Lake Tahoe Snow Festival gives residents and visitors an excuse to eat pancakes, ski uphill or dress in silly costumes. But Snow Festival also offers local nonprofit agencies a special occasion for raising money.

“[Snow Festival] is a really good opportunity for us to get out into the community and do some fundraising,” said Marilyn Moon, director of Choices Transitional Services in Truckee. “It’s not only good because of the money, but it’s good because the people in my program are developmentally disabled adults and [being involved] gives them a sense of independence and a sense of community.”

Choices is sponsoring one of the festival queen candidates, Erin Schreiber, and is helping sell raffle tickets. The West Shore Association, Tahoe City Rotary, North Tahoe Firefighter’s Auxiliary and Truckee Optimist Club are also sponsoring this year’s queen candidates.

Each of the nonprofits will receive half of the proceeds from their raffle ticket sales. Moon said Choices plans to use the money “to do something very special in the community” with their clients, and the West Shore Association’s Rob Weston said his group intends to put the new funds toward their first-ever Opening Day at the Lake event Memorial Day weekend.

Ruth Schnabel, executive director of the festival, has been involved with the event, on and off, since its inception in 1982. She said her favorite part is that the activities and fundraising bring people together around the North Shore.

“It’s a time when you see everyone you know ” it’s a real [community] celebration,” Schnabel said.

The festival was originally created to promote tourism in the Tahoe area and to give the locals an opportunity to celebrate together. In 1981 the marketing director at Alpine Meadows, Bob Everson, thought a winter carnival would help boost spring business. Everson was killed that summer in a boating accident and the community decided to move forward with an event called “SnowFest” in his honor.

Now, the festival continues to serve these purposes and more ” raising money to put back into the community.

Organizations such as the Kiwanis Club, North Tahoe Family Resource Center and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue hold Snow Festival fundraising events.

The Great Ski Race, hosted by search and rescue volunteers, was one of the first SnowFest activities and continues to be a favorite. The race is a cross country ski trek from Tahoe City to Truckee.

“It was one of the original, anchor events,” said Pam Lefrancois, search and rescue board secretary. “It draws a lot of people so it works well with Snow Festival, and there’s a lot of people who look for something like that.”

The Kiwanis Club will hold the Irish Stew Feed. Proceeds from the feed will be put into a community fund which donates to groups such as Excellence in Education, Tahoe Forest Hospice and Tahoe Women’s Services throughout the year.

North Lake Tahoe Snow Festival kicks off this Friday with the 32nd Annual Rotary Ski Challenge at Alpine Meadows, and continues with dozens of festivities for all ages and interests throughout the week.

“I think one of the things festivals do is bring communities together,” said Schnabel. “It brings back that sense of community.”