Winter Carnival Diamond Hitch Parade features unique twist |

Winter Carnival Diamond Hitch Parade features unique twist

Margaret Hair

— There are no papier-mache floats rolling down the street or multi-colored candy wrappers littering the sidewalks during the Winter Carnival Diamond Hitch Parade.

Instead, the annual event features local organizations, children's sports teams, businesses, political groups and others sporting their skiing prowess as they ride or slide down Lincoln Avenue.

Led by the Steamboat Springs High School Ski Band, the Winter Carnival Diamond Hitch Parade starts after Winter Carnival street events wrap up Feb. 7. Start time should be at about 11:30 a.m., and the parade should be finished by noon, said Caroline Bohlmann, special events director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which presents and organizes the Winter Carnival.

The parade usually draws about 20 groups to walk or ride down Lincoln Avenue, Bohlmann said. Some of those groups come down the street in diamond hitch formation, and others go by foot, on horses or in vehicles.

"It's just a great local tradition. It's neat to see the parade going down main street," Bohlmann said.

Anyone is invited to enter the parade, and honors are awarded in categories to those groups who go down the street in diamond hitch formation. A diamond hitch consists of at least four skiers or snowboarders, according to parade regulations. Each skier or rider holds on to one point of a rope that's been tied into a diamond. Animals, vehicles or other people may pull the rope.

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Diamond hitch riders are required to be on skis or snowboards and must hold their diamond for the entire parade. Carnival judges award prizes in four categories: primary (kindergarten through fifth grade), intermediate (sixth through 12th grade), adult and commercial.

Any group that wants to be judged also needs to keep in line with the 97th annual Winter Carnival theme, "Living the Dream," Bohlmann said. The judges award extra points for Telemark skiing and music, according to parade regulations. Costumes and decorations related to the "Living the Dream" motto also are required for judging.

Sunday's street events at the 97th annual Winter Carnival are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Feb. 7.