The streets shut down. Fireworks blaze through the starry night sky. The entire town of Steamboat rejoices in celebration of winter sports, our Olympic heritage and white, fluffy snow. No, it’s not Christmas or New Year’s: the ultimate holiday in Steamboat Springs is the annual Winter Carnival, a town tradition of more than 100 years.
If you’re looking for proof that Winter Carnival is one-of-a-kind look no further than ski-joring – horses pulling kids on skis at breakneck speed – or the Lighted Man – a human fireworks show on skis.
And there’s something else that makes the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival special – it just can’t be put into words. There’s an air of small town pride, community giving and a shared love of the outdoors that you have to experience first-hand to really feel. There’s something special about a community that comes together to truck tons of snow downtown to cover main street, all to gather – blizzard or sunshine – to celebrate the past, present and future of our skiing and western heritage.
Wednesday: Opening Ceremonies
Meet the 2017 Winter Carnival Royalty: The Queen and her court, the Little Princesses and this year’s Grand Marshals.
Thursday: Air Bag Jam Session
If launching off a big air jump onto a giant airbag isn’t exactly your kind of thrill, watching it might be more entertaining. Under the lights at Howelsen Hill, watch freeskiers careen through the air, spinning and flipping their way onto a massive airbag made for practicing new tricks.
Friday: Soda Pop Slalom
Don’t miss cuteness on parade at the Steamboat Ski Resort. The Stampede run at the base area is home to the annual Soda Pop Slalom, made for fifth graders and under. Watch the future of winter sports athletes take on the course rocking tutus and expert racing tucks.
Saturday: Night Extravaganza
The Lighted Man makes his notorious run down the face of Howelsen Hill – roman candles shooting off his back, lit up with LEDs – amidst a peerless fireworks display. Multiple fireworks launch points, torchlight parades and skiers jumping through a flaming hoop are just a few of the spectacles lighting up the night.
Sunday: Street events and the Diamond Hitch Parade
Cowboy hats and tots on skis – does it get any more Steamboat than that? On both Saturday and Sunday, the streets of Lincoln Avenue will be filled with snow and cowboys on horseback pull young skiers through obstacles and over jumps. On Sunday, the Diamond Hitch Parade features floats pulling skiers attached to a rope in a traditional diamond formation.
Check out the full schedule and see how your perfect Winter Carnival weekend shapes up:
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8
5:30 P.M. OPENING CEREMONIES
6:00 – 8:00 P.M. SPEED AND FLIGHT NIGHT SKI JUMPING
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9
5:00 P.M. CROSS-COUNTRY OBSTACLE RACE
5:00 – 6:00 P.M. AIR BAG JAM SESSION
5:00 – 6:00 P.M. POWDER TOOLS MID-WINTER TERRAIN PARK JAM SESSION
5:30 – 6:30 P.M. PARENT-CHILD DUALS
5:30 – 7:00 P.M. OPEN SKI JUMPING
6:00 – 9:00 P.M. S’MORE FAMILY FUN PARTY
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10
10:00 A.M. SODA POP SLALOM
1:30 – 3:00 P.M. SKI JUMPING JAMBOREE
4:00 – 6:00 P.M. NORDIC JUMPING EXHIBITION
6:00 – 7:00 P.M. AMATEUR SKI JUMPING
6:00 – 8:00 P.M. WHEELS BIKE SHOP DUAL SLALOM BICYCLE RACE
7:00 P.M. – 12:00 A.M. TITO’S MOUNTAIN SOIREE
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11
8:00 – 11:00 A.M. KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS PANCAKE BREAKFAST
8:00 A.M. 100-METER NORDIC SPRINT
9:00 A.M. – NOON STREET EVENTS
1:00 P.M. PRO ALPINE SKI JUMPING QUALIFICATIONS
6:15 – 6:45 P.M. SSWSC ATHLETE EXHIBITION
7:00 P.M. NIGHT EXTRAVAGANZA
8:00 – 10:00 P.M. NIGHT SHOW AFTER PARTY
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12
9:00 – 11:00 A.M. STREET EVENTS
APPX 11:30 A.M. DIAMOND HITCH PARADE
1:00 P.M. PRO ALPINE SKI JUMPING FINALS
Local’s tip: There’s too much Winter Carnival fun to try to fit it all in. Don’t overschedule on Winter Carnival events so you can leave plenty of time for eating, drinking and enjoying the Champagne Powder® in every way imaginable, from skiing at the Steamboat Ski Resort to snowshoeing through the pristine backcountry.
Don’t forget to buy your $10 button to support the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and attend all Winter Carnival events for free.
Visit the Winter Carnival for more information.