A sneak peek at our favorite upcoming events

Alpenglow Mountain Festival
February 18-26, North Lake Tahoe

Winter mountain festival ski touring

Photo: Scott Rokis

Alpenglow Sports’ fourth winter Alpenglow Mountain Festival, presented by DPS Skis, is a nine-day festival in North Lake Tahoe that celebrates human-powered mountain sports, events, clinics, equipment demonstrations, critically-acclaimed film and more.

Geared toward beginner and intermediate winter recreation enthusiasts, the Alpenglow Mountain Festival showcases some of the best activities Lake Tahoe has to offer – backcountry skiing and splitboarding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, natural history events and more.

Driven by fun, community, health, education and the embodiment of the mountain lifestyle, the festival has been designed to inspire participants as they enjoy and explore North Lake Tahoe’s playground with friends and family. With over 50 individual events, the festival offers an immense range of activities that span daily ski and splitboard tours, avalanche education, and critically-acclaimed film and natural history excursions for outdoor enthusiasts of all interests and ability levels. The majority of events are free, so space is limited and participants are encouraged to register online to secure spots.


Banff Film Festival
February 23-26, Santa Cruz

Banff Mountain Film Festival poster

Photo: Banff Film Festival

Ignite your passion for adventure, action and travel. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate you with amazing big-screen stories when it comes to the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz February 23, 24, 25 & 26 at 7pm.

Journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters and climb the highest peaks. Get your tickets today and be taken away to the most captivating places on earth. This year the tour debuts a new program format, offering two programs (Program A & B; ratings in descriptions), four shows.

This stop on the world tour is hosted by UC Santa Cruz Recreation and benefits the UCSC Wilderness Orientation Scholarship Fund. Tickets can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com/event/2710762 and in person at Bicycle Trip in Santa Cruz.


The Great Ski Race
March 5, Truckee

The Great Ski Race

Photo: The Great Ski Race

The 40th annual Great Ski Race offers a 30K (18-mile) event that starts 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, refreshments and raffles.

The Race is the primary fundraiser for Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team, volunteer skiers and snowmobilers who locate lost people in the Sierra Nevada. Race proceeds help purchase equipment and support winter survival education programs.

Fees are $60 through February 24, $70 until March 4, then $110 on March 5 (race day), and $25 for skiers 18 and under. Tax-deductible donations above these amounts to Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue Team are appreciated.

A race entry fee buys a commemorative T-shirt, refreshments at two mid-course stations and hot lunch at the finish. Shuttle buses begin taking skiers (by reservation) from Cottonwood to the starting line at 7 a.m. Afternoon buses bring skiers back to Tahoe City 12:30–2:30 on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Santa Cruz Paddlefest
March 23-26, Santa Cruz

A screenshot of a map showing the route of the 2017 Sea Otter Classic mountain bike race in Monterey, California.

Photo: Bryon Dorr

The Santa Cruz PaddleFest is running for another year – come watch the spectacle from West Cliff Drive! The event continues its longstanding tradition of having elite level SUP surfers and kayak surfers battle it out at one of California’s most iconic surf breaks – Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. The Lane will host high level kayak and SUP surfing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Intermediate competition will play out along the Indicator section Saturday and Sunday.

Along with the surfing expect to see the race at Cowells Beach, which continues to grow in scale and talent every year. This year the race will include SUPs, prone boards, surf skis, and outrigger canoes. The 5k or 10k race sets off from Cowells Beach along the wharf and out to the harbor. Spectating is free to the public.


Sea Otter Classic
April  20-23, Monterey

Mountain biker in action at the Sea Otter Classic

Photo: Louie Traub

Debuting in 1991 as the Laguna Seca Challenge with a total of 350 athletes and 150 spectators, the Sea Otter Classic is now regarded as the world’s premiere cycling festival hosting over 10,000 athletes and 65,000 fans. The “celebration of cycling” attracts professional and amateur athletes alike who make the annual pilgrimage to participate in some of the sport’s most competitive and enduring events.

Mountain bike races include cross country, downhill, dual slalom and short track. Road cyclists compete in circuit, criterium, and road racing. Cyclocross and non-competitive events are also offered. The event hosts the largest consumer bike expo in North America, and features an international food court, entertainment, bike demos, stunt shows, and carnival activities for children.


SLO Marathon & Half
April  29-30, San Luis Obispo

Upcoming outdoor events California: SLO Marathon registration banner

Photo: Race SLO

Whether you are an elite competitor or this is your first Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K event, Race SLO events are all about you. Have fun, achieve your goal, finish strong, PR, and enjoy the journey. You’ll receive advice and support all along the way. In the end, you’ll be proud, and Race SLO organizers will be, too – hanging that medal around your neck and cheering your every step.

The new, beautiful loop course for 2017 is a fast and scenic tour of San Luis Obispo starting and finishing near the Madonna Inn. Runners will enjoy by heading out toward the beautiful Irish Hills Natural Preserve and then loop toward historic downtown San Luis Obispo. You’ll enjoy the Fremont Theatre, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed building. Runners will also experience the Railroad District, Islay’s Streets charming bungalows and Victorians and, finally, a scenic downhill finish line at the Madonna Inn where the SLO Life Expo will be in full swing to celebrate your finish.



Read other backpacking & hiking posts here.