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The Definition of Ski Town Fun

Once a year, the peaceful streets of Steamboat Springs transform into a dynamic community hub, filled with the noises of delighted children and horses thundering across the snow. Of all the family-friendly events in Colorado, the Winter Carnival stands out as the highlight of the year for guests and locals alike!

This 5-day event takes place every February as a celebration of Western heritage and Steamboat’s long standing tradition of winter sports. In 2024, the carnival will mark its 111th year with a smorgasbord of adrenaline-fuelled snowsports, creative competitions, family friendly food, and a spectacular light display!

The poster for 2024 is an original artwork by talented Steamboat local, Susan Gill Jackson. The brightly colored piece encompasses everything the Winter Carnival is known for: a whirlwind of excitement, whimsy, and snow.

The Winter Carnival is hosted by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and sponsored by Yampa Valley Bank. This year the event will begin on February 7th, with a dramatic opening ceremony at Olympian Hall, followed by Nordic jumping sessions for kids at Howelsen Hill. The next four days will be packed with mind-boggling old school fun!

From children sliding down a snow-covered main street – whilst being pulled by a horse – to skiers jumping through fiery hoops, at the Winter Carnival you’re guaranteed to see something you’ve never witnessed before!

A Brief History of Steamboat’s Winter Carnival

A group of friends laugh on the snow covered floor

The Steamboat Winter Carnival boasts a rich history dating back to its inception in 1914. The carnival originally aimed to alleviate cabin fever during the harsh Colorado winter, encouraging locals to gather together and cultivate a deep sense of community.

Carnival enthusiasts know the importance of securing your $15 Winter Carnival button, which is required to spectate or participate in all Winter Carnival events. The button also allows guests to ski and ride the lift at Howelsen Hill for free, for the duration of the carnival! In the early years, the penalty for forgetting your carnival button involved pushing a peanut down Lincoln Ave with your nose. Whilst such ridiculous punishments aren’t in use today, the embarrassment of showing up at the carnival without a button will feel just as foolish!

One of the highlights of the carnival has been included every year since 1936. In a spectacular display of physical prowess and artistic creativity, The Steamboat Springs High School Band ski down Lincoln Avenue whilst playing lively music. This tradition is a favorite among Steamboat locals, as it provides a whimsical touch to the Winter Carnival Parade.

City Public Works has played a crucial role in the carnival for many years, coordinating the stockpiling and covering of snow on Lincoln Avenue. Approximately 400 tons of snow are laid on the road each year, providing excellent terrain for street slalom, donkey jumps, and the famous adult shovel race. With all this excitement on offer, it’s no wonder that National Geographic recognized the carnival as a Top 10 Winter Carnival in the World, in 2012.

What’s on at The Winter Carnival 2024?

A man zooms down a snow covered road on a sled

This year, the carnival boasts a packed schedule of hair-raising events for all ages. Spectators can enjoy everything from watching athletes perform impressive freestyle snowboarding tricks, to a remarkable snow sculpture competition.

Tickets are now on sale for the biggest family-friendly party of the season! The S’More Family Fun party will take place at 5 p.m. on February 8th, after a day of fun in the winter snow. Enjoy the outside ski activities at Howelsen Hill, then head into the tent on Vanatta Ballfield for delicious chili, a DJ, and dancing. Book your tickets in advance as the party fills up fast.

Add a little luxury to your carnival experience on February 10th, at Aurum Food & Wine restaurant. Enjoy a delicious meal as you secure the best view of the Winter Carnival fireworks display, above Howelsen Hill. When the fireworks come to an end, diners will be invited to the lounge for live music by Brad & Jody of Chamberlin Birch. Reserve your table to avoid disappointment.

Volunteering at The Winter Carnival

A young boy shovels snow

Sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club to assist athletic programs, the Winter Carnival only happens thanks to volunteer efforts. The volunteers facilitate and coordinate the Winter Carnival as a service to the community, bringing locals and visitors together for the most exciting week of the Steamboat calendar.

Solo-volunteers or whole families can contribute their time and skills towards extending the legacy of this historic event. Simply sign up to volunteer with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and you too can generously give your talents to help support the local community.

Steamboat’s Historic Legacy

As Steamboat embarks on an exciting new future, thanks to the resort’s multi-million dollar makeover, the Winter Carnival remains a testament to Steamboat Springs’ ski town history and authentic Western traditions.

Here at The Astrid, we’re passionate about honoring this mountain town’s vibrant history, with a luxurious twist. With unparalleled service and abundant amenities, The Astrid elevates the notion of ‘Western hospitality’ to lavish new heights. As we look forward to celebrating the 111th Winter Carnival, we’re determined to contribute towards the ever-advancing story of Steamboat Springs, where beauty, elegance, and tradition meld together to create the ultimate luxury escape.

If you’re looking for the perfect vacation home in Steamboat Springs, where local traditions are embraced, then we invite you to consider yourself part of The Astrid community. Our community is made up of people just like you – people seeking an exquisite ski-in ski-out retreat with a fantastic local community, and historic ties to the land.

To join our community, simply provide us with your name and email address. By doing so, you’ll be invited to join our exclusive mailing list. As part of this list you’ll gain access to insider information, behind-the-scenes content, and a highly personalized email experience reserved only for members of The Astrid community.

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