Sequoia Anstine crowned as 2019 Winter Carnival queen
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s been about 15 years since Sequoia Anstine started trudging her little toddler legs up Howelsen Hill, dragging her skis around like so many Steamboat Springs youth. Little did she know that one day, she’d be “queen of the hill.”
Anstine is to be crowned Feb. 6 as Winter Carnival Queen, an honor awarded to the elite of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
“I grew up with the Winter Carnival and have been part of it my whole life,” said Anstine, an Alpine ski competitor in her senior year at the Steamboat Mountain School. “It’s just so exciting. I get to be queen and get to support the carnival.”
Anstine is the daughter of Chata and Jeremy Anstine.
Royal court attendants Riley Hodges and Maisie Wagner also cut their teeth on SSWSC coaching.
Hodges, a mogul skier and junior at Steamboat Springs High School, started skiing as a toddler. She said her parents Rick and Lynn Hodges were thrilled to see her recognized.
“They’re happy for me and know I worked really hard and clearly someone recognized that in me,” she laughed, saying she wasn’t sure who nominated her.
While actual winners are drawn out of a hat in the end, the guidelines are strict for the nomination process.
SSWSC coaches nominate students based on “superior sportsmanship, commitment to academics and good moral character.”
Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Maisie Wagner rounds out the royal court as one of the few “Big Mountain” women skiers at SSWSC — meaning, she skis off of cliffs and rocks. She’s the daughter of Karlyn and Ian Wagner.
And like Hodges and Anstine, she spent her early years during Winter Carnival carrying torches on opening night and competing in the fun Street Events.
“It’s just a Steamboat thing,” Wagner said. “It brings the whole community together and is such a cool thing to be a part of.”
As the young women interacted during their interviews, it was clear to see how their maturity, charm and work ethic led to their nominations. Like many students before them, SSWSC has left its mark on this royal court.
“They taught us life skills, being early to training, showing up on time … how important goal setting is,” Riley Hodges said.
It was a lesson clearly learned by Maisie Wagner after coming back from an injury last year.
“I learned how to persevere and work toward something and not let anything get in my way,” Wagner said.
Anstine said even though Alpine skiing is an intense, solo experience when racing, her group training at SSWSC has been priceless.
“Training is a bonding experience between us, so when we’re on the hill, it’s nice to have a community built around you when you’re ready to race,” Anstine said.
Anstine plans to take a year off between high school and college with hopes of continuing her skiing at Montana State University.
In the meantime, look for the Winter Carnival queen and her court at the various Winter Carnival events and parade. They’ll be the ones wearing beautiful dresses, they think.
“Hopefully a warm dress. That’s still fashionable and socially acceptable,” said Anstine, grinning.
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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