Just when you start getting a little tired of winter’s short days and long nights, it’s time for the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival! The timing is no accident. Many old Colorado towns – like Hot Sulphur Springs – boast about their Winter Carnival pasts. The local celebrations of the winter season were designed to give mountain town residents a much-needed mid-winter boost. Some community festivities to cure cabin fever. Steamboat Springs is home to the oldest, continuous Winter Carnival west of the Mississippi River.
A Community Effort
For more than 100 years, the locals of Steamboat Springs have come together for this hometown event. The Winter Carnival is organized by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club – a ski and snowboard club that has produced more Olympians than any other club.
But the Winter Carnival is truly a community-wide affair with the local high school band skiing through main street during the parade. Old ranch families and their horses pull the elementary and middle school kids as they compete in skijoring events. The Soda Pop Slalom on Steamboat Mountain – enough said. A snow sculpture contest downtown. Or all the Winter Sports Club athletes performing in the Night Show Extravaganza at their training hill – Howelsen Hill – alongside the infamous Lighted Man. Bonus: the Night Show culminates in a beautiful fireworks display. But none of it would be possible without the city employees blanketing Lincoln Ave with about four feet of snow…and then uncovering it….each day. The celebrations also feature the Winter Carnival Queen, her attendants, and the little princesses – all members of the Winter Sports Club.
Flying Through a Burning Ring of Fire
Growing up in Steamboat Springs was, for me, defined by ski racing for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. The Winter Carnival was always an exciting time. I remember having to be super-duper bundled up for the Night Show – and with old ski clothes in case we hit flames as we flew through the fiery hoops off the Nordic ski jump. The adrenaline that pumped through my body as I tucked down the pitch black in-run of the jump, trying to build as much momentum as possible before flinging myself off the jump with fire sticks in each hand, and then sticking the landing. …And rushing through the poma line to do it all over again – as many times as possible before the Night Show’s next event.
Deets for the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
So…if you’re feeling a little cabin feverish and need some excitement between February 8 and 12, 2017 (Wed-Sun), check out the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival. Here is this year’s schedule of events. For admittance, you need to wear a Winter Carnival pin. The cost is just $10 – benefiting the Winter Sports Club. I promise you will enjoy this old-school mountain-town winter tradition.