Soda Pop Slalom gives young skiers taste of Winter Carnival traditions
The Soda Pop Slalom drew a record amount of interest on Friday, Feb. 10, as 385 young skiers, ages 11 and under, signed up to take part in the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival tradition at Howelsen Hill.
“It’s a community event for all the young kids,” said Blair Seymour, sport development director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. “It’s for all the young kids in town. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the club or not — they can all participate — and it’s a fun event that kind of kicks off the whole Winter Carnival feel for the weekend.”
Seymour, who has helped organize the event for many years, said she loves the costumes, the smiles and seeing the children who take part getting a soda and a bag filled with goodies at the finish line.
“It’s just a good, fun environment,” Seymour said. “It’s just a good vibe.”
Gates Gooding, who took part in the Soda Pop Slalom when he was growing up in Steamboat Springs, stood at the finish line of Friday’s event with his 2-year-old daughter, who was wearing her skis, on his shoulders, as he waited to watch his older daughter make her way down the race course.
“It’s nice,” Gooding said. “It’s not competitive, and children can just come out and have fun. … It’s great that they moved it to Howelsen Hill. It’s just so much more convenient.”
Seymour didn’t know off-hand Friday just how long the Soda Pop Slalom has been a part of the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival but said that Friday’s 385 skiers was a new mark for the popular event.
Gooding said the event seems a lot more “chill” than when he was a child, and he was impressed with the level of skiing on display during Friday’s events.
The event had been held at Steamboat Resort until 2021 when it was moved to Howelsen Hill and the format was changed slightly. Today, the skiers sign up in advance and are rotated as the day progresses, so that not all 385 skiers are at the start line at the same time.
The young skiers utilize the magic carpet that runs right along the race course and allows each skier to have more than one run through the gates. Also, because the skiers take turns durring the sessions, parents no longer have to line the race course to see their future star race down the course.
“They used to have rollers, and the crowd was more contained than it is now,” Gooding said. “Parents were lining the race course taking videos as their children made their way down.”
Today the Christy Sports Soda Pop Slalom has become a mainstay in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club lineup. If Friday’s turnout is any indication, the event is also one of the most popular.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.