Winter Carnival 2015: Celebrating Winter Carnival and 100 years at Howelsen Hill |

Winter Carnival 2015: Celebrating Winter Carnival and 100 years at Howelsen Hill

Jim Boyne is the executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
John F. Russell

Welcome to the 102nd Winter Carnival — our town’s unique celebration of winter and mountain living.

With more than a century behind it as the official organizer of the Winter Carnival, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is proud to host this historic event that has been listed as one of the Top 10 Winter Carnivals in the world by National Geographic. For more than 100 years, Winter Carnival has served our valley and visitors as a celebration that builds community and highlights our Western and ski heritage.

When the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival was first established, it was a celebration born out of the residents’ need to forget the hardships of winter, chase away the shorter days and bring happiness back to a valley plagued by snow. Today, this five-day carnival no longer represents a need to forget the long winters; it highlights the community-wide acclaim of snow that has earned the town of Steamboat Springs the moniker, Ski Town USA.

Our Winter Carnival events are unique. We cover our main street with snow, saddle up the horses and tow young athletes on skis behind horses, wild with excitement. The athletes maneuver around cones, fly off jumps and best one another in friendly sport.

Throughout the week, athletes will celebrate our Olympic heritage by soaring off Nordic jumps, practicing spins and aerials onto an airbag and racing down the slopes of Howelsen Hill. The Winter Carnival Night Extravaganza entertains and amazes nearly 8,000 people in attendance as they watch the famous Lighted Man in his pyrotechnic suit shooting fireworks from his body, athletes jumping through the fiery hoop and the spectacle of a barrage of fireworks that culminates in the explosion of one of the largest firework shells in the world.

This year marks an important and third consecutive centennial landmark — the 100th year of Howelsen Hill, which follows the 100th anniversary of Winter Carnival in 2013 and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s 100th anniversary in 2014.

The SSWSC was established in 1914 as an organizing committee for the first Winter Carnival, and the club has grown into an important athletic and youth development organization supporting the youths of our community. The club’s ability to call the 100-year-old Howelsen Hill “home” has allowed us to proudly host the Winter Carnival for 102 years, and to become one of the leading clubs in North America, having produced more Winter Olympians than any other town (and more than most small countries) with 88 Olympians and 151 Olympic appearances.

Just as importantly, the club has mentored tens of thousands of athletes who have gone on to become an important part of our community and nation’s educational, cultural and economic future. We strive to create champions, both on and off the mountain.

Winter Carnival would not be possible without the wide breadth of support from our community. Our deep appreciation goes out to all of our sponsors, including our presenting sponsors Yampa Valley Bank, the city of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., SmartWool and Colorado Event Rentals. We also would like to thank the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, whose staff is instrumental in assisting us with street events.

Our deepest gratitude goes out to the hundreds of volunteers who selflessly give their time and energy to help us to organize all of the Winter Carnival events. Most importantly, thank you to all of you in our community for bringing Winter Carnival to life through your enthusiasm, participation, smiles, laughter and joy.

We are privileged to celebrate our history and heritage in this idyllic mountain town with the largesse of a world-class Winter Carnival. We invite you to join us as we celebrate the unique heritage and community of the one, the only, Ski Town USA. Welcome to the 102nd annual Winter Carnival.

Jim Boyne is the executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club

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