Tales from the Tread: Local students dream of Winter Carnival
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — This year’s Winter Carnival will certainly look different without the famed Street Events and Night Extravaganza. However, the centerpiece of this 108-year tradition is the joy of children as they experience a myriad of snow events celebrating winter.
With the absence of the popular Street Events, the Tread of Pioneers Museum is working with local area schools to encourage students and families to create their own Winter Carnival events at home or try out an event of the past. The museum provided historical information, film clips and photos for inspiration, as well as a learning packet with a fun writing activity that asked students to share their experiences and memories of Winter Carnival.
This writing activity was paired with an excerpt from the book “Steamboat Springs: Memories of a Young Colorado Pioneer” (stories by Marcellus Merrill, compiled and edited by David Merrill Primus) where Merrill shares his memories of the first Winter Carnival and learning to ski jump with Carl Howelsen.
North Routt Charter School third and fourth grade students shared their essays with the museum, and selections are featured below. The experiences and memories of local children adds to the magic and joy of this century-old community celebration.
Winter Carnival is a time to spread joy. I have done ski jumping in the Winter Carnival. Ski jumping is a fun sport to do in Winter Carnival. I hope winter carnival stays a thing for a long time! It is a really fun thing to do to spread joy. This is why I like Winter Carnival! Winter Carnival is a time to get people together. I have participated by holding a flare down the ski jump.
— By Kaden
I have participated in many events in the Winter Carnival. But today I’m just going to focus on ski jumping. It’s a night event right before the fireworks. You have to wear clothes you don’t care about because you hold flares. You have to put duct tape on your skis so the flares don’t burn them. If you have seen regular ski jumping you get in an in-run right? Yes you do and you normally have jump skis. But you don’t want to duct tape jump skis, so you have to use alpine skis. You don’t get in an in-run. It’s too dangerous. You want to have your knees bent and do not pop! If you crash, get over to the side quickly, then put your flares in the snow so you don’t burn yourself.
The coaches will relight them, then you bow with the flares in your hands. Then you put your flares in the snow and throw them in the trash right away. I have done many events at the Winter Carnival but ski jumping is my favorite!
— By Zanah
I have watched and participated in the Winter Carnival. I got to watch all the other people and things go down the street and I dreamed that some day I would be in the Winter Carnival. I would watch every year hoping that would be me. I would love watching the floats and when it got dark the fireworks would light up the sky. I loved watching the sky with fireworks falling down. Then one day my dad signed me up to go skijoring. I was so happy I was going to be in the Winter Carnival. Then it was the big day for me. I got to see some others go but I was ready! Then they called my name and it was time to go so I got the rope and I started to go. I was moving then when I just got some speed a snow chunk was there and I fell. Then I got back up and a horse came to get me and I made it there.
Then when I was with my parents a man said I would maybe be on the newspaper but a chihuahua pulling a sled was on there not me. That’s how Winter Carnival started for me.
— By Violet
I have a dream about the winter carnival. My dream is for me to get pulled by a horse and go off a jump and actually land it! I have watched videos about it and they are super cool. It looks super fun! I wonder if there is a limit for how much snow you put on the road? I am super happy that the Norwegians started the winter carnival because I am part Norwegian. Also I love Norway even though I have never been. I have only seen pictures. Maybe someday my dream will come true!
— By Elsa
Candice Bannister is the executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, located at 800 Oak St. in downtown Steamboat Springs.
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Witches and goblins and ghosts, oh my!