Winter Carnival 2015: Fireworks will light up the sky |

Winter Carnival 2015: Fireworks will light up the sky

The Lighted Man comes down Howelsen Hill during the 2013 Winter Carnival Night Extravaganza.
Matt Stensland

Lighted Man tradition

Claudius Banks started the tradition of the Lighted Man in 1936 when he glided down Howelsen with a 100-pound suit covered with 200 lights. Today, the tradition has been carried on by his son, Jon Banks, who skis down with a custom backpack that fires off 32 Roman candles and 12 sky rockets.

When you’re “oohing” and “ahhing” while the fireworks are exploding and the skiers are jumping through a flaming hoop at the base of Howelsen Hill on Feb. 7, remember the following:

■ Jon Banks, also known as The Lighted Man, traveled from his home in Utah to a museum in Denver to pick up his suit before he skied down Howelsen with fireworks shooting out of his back.

■ Local philanthropist Tim Borden had to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to clear the airspace above Emerald Mountain for an hour between 8 to 9 p.m so that 36-inch, 500-pound firework could be fired three-quarters of a mile into the air.

■ Steamboat Springs Police Sgt. Scott Middleton and others are in the tower at Howelsen overseeing the deployment of fireworks being launched out of 20 different mortars.

■ There are also the firefighters, police officers and other volunteers who help to make sure the show retains its wow factor.

A lot of work goes into making the Winter Carnival’s Night Extravaganza so unique.

“We’re all volunteering because everyone is so excited to make a great show,” Borden said the week he got the FAA clearance for the fireworks. “It’s the most unique show for pyrotechnic display in the country, if not the world.”

He said so many people volunteer for the show, they don’t have enough sleds and equipment to accommodate everyone.

Borden also takes pride in the fact that the show doesn’t cost the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club anything to put on because of all the help from community volunteers.

The fireworks are donated, and Borden said this year the 30 skiers who will pull some in sleds during the show have volunteered to purchase their shares, with the proceeds going to the club.

In addition to the fireworks, the Night Extravaganza showcases Winter Sports Club athletes skiing down Howelsen with lights, and jumpers going through the fiery hoop.

The events start at 7 p.m.

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