Not only is the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival the oldest, continuous winter festival west of the Mississippi River, but it is also an event unlike any other. Watch the local high school band march down the street on skis, see skiers jump through rings of fire, and don’t get caught without your carnival pin or you might have to push a peanut down the main street with your nose. Here’s what to expect at this year’s Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs.
The 102nd annual carnival kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 4, with opening ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. at Olympian Hall. Directly after the opening event, families are invited to the Speed and Slight Night Ski Jumping event, where kids ages 12 and older can register to learn under the lights. On Thursday, Feb. 5, afternoon and evening events include the Cross-Country Skiing Obstacle Course at 4:30 p.m. and then the Air Bag Jam Session, where skiers fly into the air and land on a 15-by-50-foot air bag in the snow.
Begin again on Friday, Feb. 6, with the Soda Pop Slalom on Mount Werner in the morning, before lunch at the Bear River Bar & Grill, where families can feast while watching the Vintage Ski Race & Ski Fashion Show. In the afternoon, head over the historic Howelsen Hill where Nordic ski jumpers will fly through the air during the Nordic Ski Exhibition. Afterwards, enjoy a family snowtubing party all together! Cap off the night at the annual Sorel Soiree at 7 p.m. in Olympian Hall.
Wake up on Saturday, Feb. 7, and head to Steamboat’s Lincoln Avenue as street events take place from 9 a.m. to noon, including kids skiing down the street behind the horses that pull them through jumps and hills. Grab lunch and visit one of the many attractions in town in the afternoon before heading the Night Extravaganza at Howelsen Hill at 7 p.m., where the famous Lighted Man takes center stage as skiers jump through rings or fire and fireworks explode in the snow.
On Sunday, Feb. 8, start your day exploring snowshoe trails and taking in the beautiful snowy scenery. At 11:30 a.m. the Diamond Hitch Parade begins where the Steamboat Springs High School marching band skis down Lincoln Avenue while playing classic songs. End your family’s winter carnival weekend with a three-course dinner the 9,000-foot-high Hazie’s gourmet restaurant as the sun sets over the mountains.
A Winter Carnival button is required for entry to all events. Buttons are $10 each and can be purchased at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, City Market, All That or Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information, visit WinterCarnivalSteamboat.com.
Can’t make it to Steamboat Springs for this winter carnival? Check out these other exciting winter festivals for families for one closer to you!
– Hilarey Wojtowicz