Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival traditions date back over 100 years

Kids line up for the Ring & Steer competition during the 2018 Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival Street Events. (Photo by Matt Stensland)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The annual Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival began in 1914 to help the community embrace the season of winter, which can be dreary and cold.

From the beginning, Winter Carnival has always taken place in the second week of February, and included ski jumping and cross-country ski races. The second year added Street Events, and from there, it has grown to include a variety of traditions from different ski and snowboard disciplines to the Lighted Man and the popular Ski Band.

Claudius Banks was the first Lighted Man for the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, where he wore a suit with over 200 lights that weighed 100 pounds. Today, the tradition is carried on by Jon Banks, his son, who wears about 70 pounds worth of firework gear and lights. It takes a team to put together Banks’ costume. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Morgan Sauerbrey competes in the skijoring event during the Winter Carnival. Skijoring is a western tradition that involves teams consisting of a rider, horse and a skier. The rider controls the horse as it pulls a skier through a variety of obstacles down Steamboat’s Lincoln Avenue. Skijoring will be a part of the 9 a.m. to noon Street Events on Saturday, Feb. 9. (Photo by Matt Stensland)

The Steamboat Springs High School Ski Band makes its way down Lincoln Avenue during the annual Diamond Hitch Parade in 2010. The high school band has marched down Lincoln Avenue on skis for 84 years, a tradition started in 1935 by band conductor Jerry McGuare. (Photo by Joel Reichenberger)

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes take to the jumps on Howelsen Hill for the Nordic Jumping Exhibition. Norwegian skier Carl Howelsen introduced ski jumping and Nordic skiing as sporting events in Steamboat Springs in 1914. He founded the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and began training jumpers on Woodchuck Hill, where Colorado Mountain College now sits. He looked to what is now Howelsen Hill as a place where his ski jumpers could soar to new heights on a steeper hill. Howelsen Hill’s ski jump was built just in time for the second-ever Winter Carnival in 1917. (Courtesy photo by Rex Madison)

Tim Borden’s 48-inch shell explodes over Emerald Mountain during the 2017 Winter Carnival Night Extravaganza at Howelsen Hill. Following the ski jumping, fireworks will go off in what is called a “Blast of Winter” on the carnival’s final evening. This is where the Lighted Man will set off his fireworks while skiing down Howelsen Hill in his suit and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes and coaches will also fly down the face with flares and fireworks in tow. (Photo by Matt Stensland)

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