It’s fun and games in the street when the citizens of Steamboat Springs come out of hibernation.
Have you ever seen a marching band ski down the Main Street of your town? We’re gonna venture to say NEVER…
For the citizens of Steamboat Springs, a northern Colorado town bordering Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, it’s a sign that it’s time to come out and play. What first began as a way to help the locals combat cabin fever during the long mountain winters, has since developed into a series of snow-themed events to both entertain and energize the community.
For four days in February, neighbors bundle up and head to Lincoln Avenue for what is considered the oldest continuous winter celebration west of the Mississippi, the Steamboat Winter Carnival.
It’s a celebration on the Main Street of America’s winter playground and we won’t let you miss it! Here’s what you’ll experience.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Snow. Lot’s of it.
The snow that falls in Steamboat Springs is referred to as “champagne snow” — a phrase that was coined in the early 1950s by a local rancher who said the snow tickled his nose like champagne. (The powder is so good that Olympians from across the country come here to train!) For the citizens here, snow is no burden, but the best way to play!
Witness unusual events like skijoring, the donkey jump, and adult show-shovel races.
You’ll quickly realize that many of the events are fueled by actual horsepower — because even they deserve to stretch their legs in the winter! These mighty steeds get in on events like “skijoring”, a local sport of a skier being pulled up and down Lincoln Avenue by a horse. There are also adults seated on snow shovels which are tied to the back of, you guessed it, horses, for snow-shovel races. Trust us — the sight of this will make you forget about your numb face and fingers!
If you’ve got some little snow bunnies that you travel with there are a few events for kiddos too! The donkey jump (a crowd favorite) is a small ramp that can reach a distance of 40 feet! Local kids are eligible for the dog sled race where they’re pulled by their family dog down Lincoln Avenue.
Illuminated mountains and watch for the famous Lighted Man.
When the sun sets, everyone heads to the slopes for the Night Extravaganza on Howelsen Hill where you can expect to see daredevils jump through flaming hoops, skiers with flares parade down the mountain.
Finally, the last one down the slope is the Lighted Man, a person of local lore. This skier descends the mountain wearing a 70-pound battery-powered LED light suit, sizzling sparklers, and a backpack with Roman candles shooting off his back just as the closing ceremony (a bright fireworks show) begins.
We can all benefit from local events whether we live there or not. Joining others in celebrating their traditions and history helps us learn how we can be better in our own community. Because being neighborly is more than just a wave between shoveling snow or washing the car — it’s actively participating and celebrating everything that makes our towns unique.
Pack a bag of our cold-weather gear and we’ll see you on you in Steamboat Springs, Colorado February 6-10, 2019!
Click HERE for more Winter Carnival details