Kicking off with a pyrotechnic display, a royal coronation and a dance party at [R419R, Squaw Valley] on evening of Friday, Feb. 27, the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee Snow Festival, which began as SnowFest in the early 1980s, brings its annual 10-day celebration-cum-block party to the region.

Snow Festival is an all-ages, all-day and most of the night tribute to winter. The usual suspects - [R5R, Alpine Meadows], Diamond Peak, [R179R, Homewood], Northstar, Squaw Valley, [R432R, Sugar Bowl] and the communities of Truckee, Tahoe City Kings Beach, and Incline Village - are involved in hosting the events.

Along with all the events that typify Snow Festival -- the Garwoods Polar Bear swim, the Tahoe City parade, the Great Ski Race, the Dress Your Dog contest and the River Ranch snow sculpture contest -- there are several newcomers on this year's schedule

Check out screenings from SF Indie Film Festival offerings at Sugar Bowl Feb. 27-28; have your kids enter a drawing/coloring contest at the Fat Cat Cafe in Tahoe City Feb. 28, and then hang around for the DJ Street Dance Party at Lakeside Pizza; take in the Snowball Softball tournament in Tahoe City March 1; watch the area's best publicans mix it up at the Fastest Bartender Contest at the Tourist Club in Truckee March 2; participate in a variety on indoor games at the Noche Loca event at Blue Agave in Tahoe City March 5; see who well you can navigate around the Tahoe Cross-Country Center in the Geo-Snow Quest Adventure March 6, or break out your wetsuit for the Ta-Hoe Nalu Arctic Standup Paddleboard Race in Tahoe Vista March 7.

A complete listing of events is available online.