City hosts community holiday party tomorrow |

City hosts community holiday party tomorrow

Event features tubing, Santa Claus and more at Howelsen Hill

Brandon Gee

— Today’s start of ski season flights to Yampa Valley Regional Airport will bring large numbers of tourists to Steamboat Springs, but city officials say a locals-geared event is the real start to the holiday season.

The city of Steamboat Springs hosts its 31st annual Community Holiday Party from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Howelsen Hill Ski Area and Olympian Hall.

“I think the favorite thing for me is it really kicks off the holiday season in Steamboat,” said Chris Wilson, city director of parks, open space and recreational services. “It just really sets the stage for the rest of the fun.”

The free event features tubing on Howelsen Hill, caroling, visits with Santa Claus, cookies from Winona’s Restaurant and Bakery, hot cocoa and hot apple cider. Recreation Coordinator Brooke Lightner said she expects between 150 and 300 people to attend the celebration, depending on the weather.

“If the weather is friendly, I expect over 200 people,” Lightner said. “There’ll be visits with Santa, and there’s a rumor he’ll be arriving via fire engine. We usually try to plan for a grand entrance.”

Lightner said she usually tries to position herself near Father Christmas at the annual party.

“I usually set myself up to help Santa,” she said. “I like to listen to the kids share their wishes and hopes for Christmas morning. : He’s always getting lots of letters, and sometimes he gets cookies and treats. It’s pretty cute.”

Unlike last year, the city’s recreation staff will not be taking photos of the Santa visits.

“We’re encouraging the public to bring their own cameras,” Lightner said.

Wilson also encouraged people to remember that metal runners and sleds are not permitted because of accident potential. Partygoers also may want to bring their own tubes if they have them; Wilson said the city will have a limited number of tubes available to the public.

“It is a fun party. It’s great to see all the families out,” Wilson said. “It’s one of the few times you can tube on Howelsen on the alpine slope.”

Wilson said one of his favorite memories from the Community Holiday Party is when he lost his footing while catching children coming down the hill and ended up in the hay bales partitioning the tubing area.

“You just never know what’s going to happen at the holiday party,” Wilson said.

Wilson said those who can’t make the holiday party will have another chance to visit with Santa on Saturday, when the city hosts a “Skate with Santa” event from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. at Howelsen Ice Arena.

– To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail

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