A sneak peek at some of the season’s best upcoming events


Banff Mountain Film Festival
February 19-21, Santa Cruz

National Geographic and the North Face present the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. Join UCSC Recreation and get set to explore the edge of believable with some of the best films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival as it brings amazing stories to the big screen at the Rio Theatre. Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters, and climb the highest peaks. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of bringing this event to Santa Cruz while also celebrating the 50th anniversary of UC Santa Cruz. This event benefits the UCSC Wilderness Orientation Scholarship Fund. Different films will be shown each night so come for one or all three shows.

Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com or in person at Bicycle Trip in Santa Cruz.



Alpenglow Mountain Festival
February 20-28, Tahoe City

Three years ago, Brendan Madigan, owner of Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City, fulfilled a dream bringing a world-class mountain gathering to the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. The first two Alpenglow Mountain Festival celebrations took place during drought years for the Sierra, with very little snow to accentuate so many incredible events scheduled throughout nine days.

If you made it to either of these events, you know that the lack of snow didn’t matter one bit. Locals and visitors alike continue to champion past events as highlights of the season, and with winter back in the Tahoe area, this year’s promises to be the best yet.

In what’s been called the premier mountain lifestyle event in North America, this year’s Alpenglow Mountain Festival is designed for individuals, couples, and families who are inspired by mountain recreation. If you’re thinking about when to plan a trip to North Lake Tahoe, this is the time.

While the Tahoe community shines during the Alpenglow Mountain Festival, the events this year are of special interest. All levels of ability can enjoy guided backcountry ski/snowboard tours, Nordic events and yoga, and the festival is grounded in being fully accessible to the beginner and intermediate skilled mountain lover.

Natural history excursions and avalanche education clinics will be back this year, and don’t miss out on the first 5Point Film Festival on Saturday, February 20 or Jeremy Collins Drawn on Saturday, February 27. These critically acclaimed films are top highlights for this year and will be enjoyed by everyone, not just mountain enthusiasts.

Most events are FREE and there is something for everyone to enjoy.



The Great Ski Race
March 6, Tahoe City

The 39th annual The Great Ski Race is a 30K (18-mile) event that begins at Tahoe Cross Country in Tahoe City, winds through the forest and mountains of North Lake Tahoe on groomed trails, and ends at Cottonwood Restaurant in Truckee. Hundreds of ski racers, touring skiers, and disabled athletes turn out for the race looking for achievement, adventure, and the famous finish-line party, with live music, hot lunch, raffles, and beer for age-qualified participants. Proceeds from this fundraiser for the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team help purchase equipment and support winter survival education programs. Race entry includes a commemorative T-shirt, refreshments at two mid-course stations and hot lunch at the finish.



Santa Cruz Paddlefest
March 17-20, Santa Cruz

Through the years the Santa Cruz Paddle Festival (SCPF) has held multiple World Championships for surf kayaking. These events have drawn competitors from all over the world: Ireland, Scotland, England, Portugal, Basque, Brazil, Costa Rica, Canada, Australia, Jersey, just to name a few.

This event now offers three distinct classes of surf kayaking—International Class Kayak, High Performance Kayak and Waveski—as well as a SUP surfing competition at The Lane and a SUP race that starts at Cowells Beach, heads out towards the fabled Steamer Lane, and then loops back towards the Boardwalk.



Oakland Running Festival
March 20, Oakland

The 7th annual Oakland Running Festival features races at both the marathon and half marathon distances, plus a 5k, kids’ fun run, and a four-leg team relay event. The Corporate Cup offers the Bay Area business community the opportunity to be a part of a one of the largest marathon relays in the USA, as part of the Team Relay.

Race participants are invited to compete in the “We Run the Town Challenge” where runners complete the 5K at 7:30 am and then run the Half Marathon at 9:15 am to earn a special bib, an extra medal and a reason to say “We Run The Town.”

Event organizers are gearing up for another great year. Once again, race day activities will be centered in Snow Park, located just off the shores of majestic Lake Merritt. This location provides plenty of open green space to allow runners, fans and sponsors plenty of elbow room as they celebrate their accomplishments.

The Oakland Running Festival has won the People’s Choice award for Best Race in the West by readers of Competitor Magazine, was featured in Runner’s World, and consistently receives ratings of 95% or more for participants who recommend the race to a friend.


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