Winter Carnival 2017: Streets Events unique nature draws throngs to downtown Steamboat Springs |

Winter Carnival 2017: Streets Events unique nature draws throngs to downtown Steamboat Springs

Rory Clow participates in the shovel races in the Winter Carnival street events as a youngster.

— On the final Sunday of the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, thousands of people will line Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs to watch daredevils riding shovels get pulled down a snow-covered street at terrifying speeds.

It's one of the sights that make the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival one of the biggest events of the year in the Colorado Rockies and draws thousands of visitors to town year after year.

"I think that it represents to unique character of our town," said Sarah Konopka, who is working as the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's event coordinator for this year's Street Events. "Where else can you see a person getting pulled down the street by a horse while riding on a shovel — it's iconic."

The shovel race, which is one of the few horse events where the competitors are older than 18, is just one of the many Street Events that bring huge crowds to downtown Steamboat Springs during the second week of February each year as part of the Steamboat Winter Carnival celebration.

This year's Street Events will take place Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12. Konopka said each day will be a mix of events and ages ( the majority of the competitors are children between 6 and 14) with competitors taking part in ski joring, the ring & box, ring & spear and the street slalom.

The most popular events include the donkey jump, where skiers reach top speed while being pulled behind horses before launching off a jump to see just how far they can fly, and the shovel race, where participants sit or lie flat on a shovel as they race down the street behind a horse-and-rider team.

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While the horse events always seem to bring the loudest cheers from the crowd, there are other fan-favorite events including the three-legged race, the obstacle course and the 50- and 75-yard dashes that don't require the use of a horse.

The Street Events action will fill the final two days of the Winter Carnival, and with the exception of the Night Extravaganza, tend to draw the biggest crowds. Konopka suggests that spectators show up by 8:30 a.m. to gain the best spots. She said one of the best places to take in all the action is between Eighth and Ninth streets directly across from Lyon Drug on the southwest side of the street.

She also recommends bundling up to offset the chilly temperatures, being armed with hand warmers and maybe bringing along a Thermos filled with hot cocoa to take the bite out of the cold winter temperatures while waiting for the next contestant to take their turn in the long-running winter tradition.

Konopka said the events normally draw large crowds that line both sides of Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs. The events can be viewed along the entire length of the street as a horse and rider use a long rope to pull a young contestant on skis down the length of the street.

Local ranchers supply the horses and the skills necessary to help the contestants. The events are steeped in Steamboat Springs’ long ranching heritage and have long been a popular attraction at the Winter Carnival celebration.

To reach John F. Russell, call 0-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

Street Events Schedule


Time Event Age

8:15 a.m. 100m Nordic Dash*

9:00 a.m. Street Slalom (10-14)

9:30 a.m. 3-Legged Race (50yds) ( 5-8)

9:40 a.m. Ski Joring (6-9)

10:00 a.m. 3-Legged Race (75yds) (9-11)

10:05 a.m. Ski Joring (10-14)

10:35 a.m. 25yd Dash (3-5)

10:40 a.m. Ring & Box (6-9)

11:10 a.m. 50yd Dash (6-8)

11:15 a.m. 75yd Dash (9-11)

11:25 a.m. Donkey Jump (6-9)

11:55 a.m. Shovel Race (18+)


Time Event Age

9:00 a.m. Ring & Spear (6-9)

9:00 a.m. Ring & Spear (6-9)

9:30 a.m. Obstacle Course (50yds) (5-7)

9:40 a.m. Obstacle Course (50yds) (8-10)

9:50 a.m. Obstacle Course (50yds) (11-14)

10:00 a.m. Street Slalom (6-9)

10:20 a.m. 25yd Dog Dash (0-5)

10:25 a.m. 25yd Dad Dash (0-5)

10:25 a.m. 25yd Dad Dash (0-5)

10:30 a.m. Donkey Jump (10-14)

11:00 a.m. Shovel Race (18+)

11:30 a.m. Parade begins

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