Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival

Every winter since 1914 the town of Steamboat Springs hosts their annual Winter Carnival, sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Winter Carnival is a community celebration that showcases the winter sports for which the area is famous and raises scholarship money for young athletes. Spanning the course of several days, this longstanding tradition offers entertainment, competitions, and history to locals and visitors alike. Activities are specially catered to different age groups, allowing the entire family to have an enjoyable time.

The official kick-off of Winter Carnival begins with an opening ceremony parade. Ice sculptures created by high school students line Lincoln Street, where the Winter Carnival Queen and Little Princesses glide by in a sleigh while introduced to the captivated crowd.

Lincoln Street is the main road through Steamboat Springs and is where many of the Winter Carnival events take place. Truckloads of snow are combined with the natural snow to make sure there is a sufficient amount for the days' contests. The street is blocked off, creating the perfect setting for unique competitions such as the street slalom, where children on skis wind their way through a series of cones while being pulled down the street by horses, and Dad Dash, where dads on all fours pull their youngsters on toboggans to the finish line. Other challenges include a three-legged race (on skis of course), a shovel race where adults standing on shovels are pulled down the street by a horse, a donkey jump where kids on skis are once again pulled by horses, this time aiming for the longest jump off a two-foot ramp and a 25, 75 or 150 yard dash on skis.

Saturday evening is especially colorful at the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival. Following a pancake breakfast and a day full of excitement, spectators gather at Howelsen Hill where they are treated to fireworks, a torchlight parade and the lighted man ceremony, where a man wearing hundreds of lights skis downhill with roman candles and sky rockets shooting from his backpack.

Winter Carnival comes to a close on Sunday with the Diamond Hitch Parade. Skiers are pulled down the street by people, animals, or cars while holding a rope tied in the shape of diamonds. The parade also includes the Steamboat Springs High School Ski Band, the first band in the world known to perform while marching on skis.