The people behind the coolest creations at Steamboat Resort’s 2023 Cardboard Classic (with photo gallery)
Everyone watching the Cardboard Classic at Steamboat Resort loves a good crash and appreciates the speedsters. What seemed to draw the most attention at the event on Saturday, April 8, were the ornate and slightly over-the-top creations.
The most admired and impressive was the final sled; a stagecoach ridden by people in period attire.
Camille DiTrani, a full-time Steamboat Springs resident of nearly a decade and a visitor since the ’80s, was the creator of the stagecoach that people flocked to following the competition. She said she was inspired by the 60th anniversary of the resort.
“We went to the event where they showed all the vintage ads for the mountain and there’s one with a stagecoach where everyone is piled on with all their skis,” DiTrani said. “I’m like that’s what we’re going to do!”
Her husband, Robin Jackson, helped build the rig, which was covered in carefully placed details. The front had a seat for a driver, the back had a pair of skis. The windows had rolled up shades, the top was filled with luggage, and the walls were papered with historic tidbits.
The couple took about a month to build it, and DiTrani is most fond of the skis on the back, which are thick enough to conquer any powder day.
The wildest part of the entire creation was that it was somewhat fast and maintained its structural integrity flawlessly.
When completing their run, Jackson, DiTrani and the crew carried it off the snow into Steamboat Square where a crowd of paparazzi formed to appreciate the lifelike masterpiece.
Another spectator favorite was Nemo, a bright orange, 6-foot-tall fish, complete with a lucky fin and enough room inside to fit three Clownfish Cowboys. A fourth team member chased the fish downhill in a shark outfit.
The Strope family of Fort Collins was the masterminds behind one of the most recognizable sleds on Steamboat’s slopes.
“It was supposed to be an Easter egg,” Alan Strope said. “But as we started making it, it looked more like a fish than an Easter egg. So we had to redesign.”
The Strope family has competed in the Cardboard Classic before. Most people might know them as the sledders who careened into the cushions at the bottom of the course carrying a bit too much speed.
“Broken ribs, an ankle, another guy broke ribs, his shoulder tweaked and one guy obliviated his phone,” Strope said.
Learning from the error, the family aimed to find the sweet spot between speed and style this year. Nemo slowly glided to the finish before gently tipping over, adding to the Stropes’ resume of dramatic finishes.
The sled dog team was not quite as fast as some of its flashier counterparts, but the team of plaid-clad mushers were proud of the concept.
The Kreigers, Kengotts and Rotmans split time between Fort Collins and Steamboat and have participated in the past.
Even as teammates shoved the sled across the finish, the cardboard and carpet tube construction held up. All six teammates fit into the sled, and three pairs of two-dimensional huskies floated in front, leading the way, but not touching the snow.
Most of the dogs represented a famous local skier: Skeeter, Buddy, Mikaela, Moose, Billy and Balto.
The team members tried to improve the friction issues they encountered last year with the addition of a few structural pieces.
“We got the carpet tubes as the base underneath this thing,” Tom Kreiger said. “Lots of carpet tube.”
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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