Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club

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Winter Carnival

2017 Winter Carnival: February 8-12

A $10 Winter Carnival Button is Required for Entry/Spectating at All Events.

Your button will serve as your lift ticket for all events you register in. It will also grant you free skiing at Howelsen Hill during Winter Carnival!

The Winter Carnival, hosted by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, is a community-wide celebration of athleticism and winter. With over a century behind it as the official organizer of the Winter Carnival, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is proud to host this historic event that has been listed as one of the Top Ten Winter Carnivals in the World by National Geographic. For over 100 years, Winter Carnival has served our valley and visitors as a celebration that builds community and highlights our western and ski heritage.

When the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival was first established, it was a celebration born out of the residents’ need to forget the hardships of winter, chase away the shorter days, and bring happiness back to a valley plagued by snow. Today, this 5 day long carnival no longer represents a need to forget the long winters, it highlights the community wide acclaim of snow that has earned the town of Steamboat Springs the moniker, Ski Town, USA. Our Winter Carnival events are unique; we cover our main street with snow, saddle up the horses and tow young athletes on skis behind horses, wild with excitement! The athletes maneuver around cones, fly off jumps and best each other in friendly sport. Throughout the week, athletes will celebrate our Olympic heritage by soaring off of Nordic Jumps, practicing spins and aerials onto an airbag, and racing down the slopes of Howelsen Hill. The Winter Carnival Night Extravaganza entertains and amazes nearly 8,000 people in attendance as they watch the famous Lighted Man in his pyrotechnic suit shooting fireworks from his body, athletes jumping through the fiery hoop, and the spectacle of a barrage of fireworks that culminates in the explosion of one of the largest firework shells in the world.

We are privileged to celebrate our history and heritage in this idyllic mountain town with the largesse of a world-class Winter Carnival. We invite you to join us as we celebrate the unique heritage and community of the one, the only, Ski Town, USA.

Full Schedule of Events
The 2017 Schedule of Events has not been released. Click here to view last year’s Schedule of Events PDF
On Saturday, February 11th and Sunday, February 12th, hundreds of people will line Lincoln Avenue to witness the Street Events. The Street Events are a wildly popular and entertaining show featuring children on skis (or snowboards) being pulled behind horses down a snow-covered Lincoln Avenue. Horse Events include: Street Slalom, Ski Joring, Ring & Spear, Ring & Box, and the famous Donkey Jump.
Street Events
Horse Events are for children ages 6 to 14 years old, while Non-Horse Events are for children ranging in age from infant to 14 years old. See below for the 2017 Street Events Schedule.


Time       Event             Age
8:15 a.m.  100m Nordic Dash*

9:00 a.m.  Street Slalom             (10-14)
9:30 a.m.  3-Legged Race (50yds) (5-8)
9:40 a.m.  Ski Joring                 (6-9)
10:00 a.m. 3-Legged Race (75yds) (9-11)
10:05 a.m. Ski Joring                 (10-14)
10:35 a.m. 25yd Dash                 (3-5)
10:40 a.m. Ring & Box               (6-9)
11:10 a.m. 50yd Dash               (6-8)
11:15 a.m. 75yd Dash               (9-11)
11:25 a.m. Donkey Jump             (6-9)
11:55 a.m. Shovel Race             (18+)


Time           Event               Age
9:00 a.m.      Ring & Spear               (6-9)
9:00 a.m.      Ring & Spear               (6-9)
9:30 a.m.    Obstacle Course (50yds)  (5-7)
9:40 a.m.    Obstacle Course (50yds)  (8-10)
9:50 a.m.    Obstacle Course (50yds)  (11-14)
10:00 a.m.    Street Slalom               (6-9)
10:20 a.m.    25yd Dog Dash             (0-5)
10:25 a.m.  25yd Dad Dash             (0-5)
10:25 a.m.  25yd Dad Dash             (0-5)
10:30 a.m.    Donkey Jump               (10-14)
11:00 a.m.  Shovel Race                 (18+)
11:30 a.m.  PARADE BEGINS

Events in bold require advance registration.

*On Saturday, the Nordic Council will be putting on a 100 meter Nordic Sprint. This race will start on 6th and end at 8th Street. Please contact the Nordic Council for registration information. The street events will start at 9:00 a.m. as usual.
Photo by Kent Vertrees


Ring and Box
(Ages 6 - 9): Contestant with skis on will have a ring of rope in their hand and will be pulled down main street by a horse. The contestant will attempt to drop the ring in a washtub as he/she passes by tub. Fastest time wins. Penalty for missing the washtub.

Ring and Spear
(Ages 6 - 9): Five stands will be located on the street with a ring of rope hanging from each stand. Contestants with skis will carry a spear and attempt to collect all five rings while being pulled by a horse down the street. Most rings collected and fastest time wins. Penalties for every ring missed.

Ski Joring
(Ages 6 - 9 and 10 - 14): Contestant with skis will race a flat course down the street while being pulled by a horse. Fastest time wins.
Street Slalom
(Ages 6 - 9 and 10 - 14): Contestant with skis will ski a slalom course through a series of cones while being pulled by a horse down the street. Fastest time wins. Anyone missing a cone or falling during performance will be disqualified.

Donkey Jump
(Ages 6 - 9 and 10 - 14): Contestant will attempt to jump off a 2-foot ramp while being pulled on skis by a horse down main street. Longest distance while maintaining a standing position wins.

Photo by Dan Hebard

Shovel Race
(Ages 18 and over): Contestants will situate themselves in a shovel of any type and while being pulled by a horse, will race a flat course down the street. Fastest time wins. Anyone falling off the shovel during performance will be disqualified.

Photo by Ronal Clow


Waivers must be signed by participants or their guardian the day of the event at the start line.

25 Yard Dog and Dad Dash

(Ages 5 and under) Children 5 years old and younger compete against one another while being pulled in a sled or toboggan (no metal runners allowed) by the family dog. All dogs must be leashed and led by the parent/dog owner during the dash. Following the dog competition will be the Dad Dash with Dad on all fours pulling the child. First one over the finish line wins.

Photo by Rory Clow

Photo by Rory Clow

3-Legged Race
(Ages 5 - 8 and 9-11) Two people on skis tie legs together (ties provided) and race to finish line. The first pair over the finish line wins.

Obstacle Course
(Ages 4-6, 7-10, and 11-14) Contestants on skis maneuver around a variety of obstacles and then make a straight dash to the finish line. First one over the finish line wins.

25, 50, and 75 Yard Dashes
25 Yard Dash for ages 3-5 years, 50 Yard Dash for 6-8 years and 75 Yard Dash for 9-11 years all on skis.


Register early as we can only accept a certain number of kids in each event and spaces fill early. We try to accommodate as many kids as we can in the time we have allotted for the street events. REGISTRATION IS NOT OPEN AT THIS TIME.

Night Extravaganza

On Saturday, February 11th, the Night Extravaganza on Howelsen Hill is lit up with colors as Winter Sports Club athletes flip through the air off the jumps while others descend down the mountain leaving a red glow outlining perfect ski turns. Most known, the light-wrapped Lighted Man carves down the hill with roman candles shooting out of his backpack, which makes for a spectacular opening act for the fireworks show and the brave athletes jumping through the fiery hoop. Don’t forget to wear your Winter Carnival Button!

The Soiree, Steamboat Style

Celebrate the 104th Winter Carnival and the “Warmth of Winter” in a true Winter Wonderland at the best Winter Carnival celebration around! Dress in your best “Steamboat Style” and join our community for this unique celebration! Located in an outdoor heated party tent, you’ll have unlimited libations (including access to a custom ice shot luge and shot skis provided by our presenting sponsor, Titos Handmade Vodka), hearty appetizers, and live music and dancing to local band “Loose Change with Pat Waters.” Share laughter and stories around our bonfire outside, and watch some of the outdoor festivities happening at Howelsen Hill earlier in the night. Ages 21+, located at Vanatta Field at Howelsen HIll, Downtown off of 5th Street.

Event Registration and Tickets

Registration for the Non-Horse events will be the day of the event at the registration tent.

Registration will open Friday, Jan. 27th at 10:00am


Contestants must have read through the waiver statement and signed the release.

Pre-registration is mandatory for all horse events.

Contestants must wear goggles and a helmet (cycling or ski racing helmet is sufficient)

Contestants may enter only one (1) Horse Event per day.

Contestants may sign up only for events for which they are the designated age.

Contestants must have a Winter Carnival Button - available at the Winter Sports Club Offices, participating downtown merchants, and the Chamber Visitor Center

Shovel Race contestants must provide their own shovel.

Shovel Race contestants must wear a protective helmet such as a cycling or climbing helmet.


A $10 Winter Carnival Button is required to participate or Spectate in events!

Winter Carnival Posters

The 2017 Winter Carnival Poster is not yet available.


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