Winter Carnival Brings Old & Young Together

What draws you to visit a place? Is it the scenery? The weather? The activity?

Are you seeking outdoor adventure and a dramatic landscape set with blue skies? Does dry, champagne snow for skiing or snowboarding excite you? Then, Steamboat, Colorado is the destination for you. The beauty and the variety of aspen tree-lined runs make for optimal exploring on skies. Located an easy 3-hour drive from Denver this area is also known for being the training grounds for Olympic elites and future Olympian hopefuls.

This year marked Steamboat's 103rd Winter Carnival celebration. And, like all the years before it the community united for a five-day celebration complete with ski jumping, street events and the traditional sport of ski jöring, a Norwegian sport consisting of skiing while being pulled by dogs or horses. In Steamboat, they use horses, fill their main street with snow, and tow brave athletes down the center of the street.

(Photo courtesy of Rory Clow, Couloir Images)

Other carnival happenings include a parade featuring Steamboat's skiing high school band (the only one in the United States) and a Night Extravaganza showcasing hundreds of soaring athletes in the dark, lit by flares and LED lights. Known across the country, the Lighted Man heads down Howelsen Hill shooting fireworks from his pyrotechnic suit, and Nordic and alpine athletes soar through a fiery hoop off of Nordic jumps.

Local fireworks enthusiast, Tim Borden, tops off the celebration with an intricate and colorful firework display and this year the launch of the World's largest firework in the northern hemisphere. The 48-inch firework shell finale weighed in at 1,175 pounds.

(Photo courtesy of Rory Clow, Couloir Images)

The town is western-themed stemming historically from the town's roots which originated on ranching and mining and still have a large presence in the county today.

Steamboat is an ideal outdoorsman's paradise. Whether you are an avid winter sport athlete, or just like to enjoy the sites, sounds and bites of local eatery hangouts Steamboat has something for everyone to enjoy.

(Photo courtesy of Rory Clow, Couloir Images)

"My wish for all of us is we always see Winter Carnival as children do, with all of its magic and wonder...buttons, cowboys and cowgirls, horses and ropes, donkey jumps, shovels, smiles, laughter, music, wide-eyed kids skiing and riding, and the fireworks, ohhh the fireworks." - Jim Boyne, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Executive Director

Across the nation and the world winter carnivals are a magical time for communities to come together and celebrate the wonder of the season.

More popular winter carnivals to visit include:

  • The Sapporo Snow Festival - Japan
  • Fiesta Pescado Blanco - Montana
  • Brits Music and Winter Festival - Switzerland
  • Fur Rendezvous - Alaska
  • Quebec Winter Carnival - Canada

What winter carnival is your favorite? Share below.