2015 Holiday Guide: Steamboat’s yule log tradition

Eugene Buchanan
Glenn Light found the Yule Log during his regular jog on his lunch break from his job at Moots. Light needed just three clues to spot the treasure for 2013.
Ben Ingersoll

— Christmas carol. Some take a sleigh ride.

But perhaps the most unusual holiday tradition for a smattering of sleuthing Steamboat Springs locals is hunting for a buried log.

This year marks the 36th annual Yule Log Hunt, sponsored by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. With 10 clues published each weekday in the Steamboat Today newspaper and announced on local radio stations, the community scavenger hunt sends participants searching for a 25-pound yule log, carefully hidden somewhere inside city limits.

As well as bragging rights, the winner receive a $150 Steamboat Chamber gift certificate and a reprint from the museum’s historical photo collection.

“It’s a great tradition for the community,” says local Laura Sankey, who found the yule log for the first time on just day two of the hunt last year near the stagecoach display at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association office. “The idea of a community treasure hunt is awesome, and it’s a great way to learn about our community and Steamboat’s history.”

The clues are provided by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and are released each weekday, bringing participants closer to the location of the three-foot log. Participants are encouraged to decipher each clue rather than scour the city at random.

“While individual clues may reveal information about a specific location, that doesn’t mean that’s where the log is,” says Candice Bannister, executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum. “Each clue takes you on a journey toward the log’s ultimate hiding place. We want people to participate in the town’s history trivia.”

The hiding spot and clues are created by museum staff, with this year’s hunt beginning at the site of last year’s hiding place at the Steamboat Springs Chamber.

At least a portion of the yule log will be visible, and it will not be located on private property, inside a building or somewhere that charges a fee to enter. This year’s clues will run weekdays from Dec. 7 to 18.

“It’s a great event, and it’s gotten really popular,” says Bannister. “We get a lot of calls about it, from grade-school classes to families who have searched for it for the contest’s entire 36-year history.”

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