Lights, fireworks, music highlight Steamboat’s 50th birthday this weekend |

Lights, fireworks, music highlight Steamboat’s 50th birthday this weekend

Nicole Inglis

Soul rockers Robert Randolph and the Family Band will play a free show at the base of Steamboat Ski Area at 3:30 p.m. Saturday to celebrate the ski area's 50th birthday.

— It was Jan. 12, 1963, when the Storm Mountain Express double chairlift opened for business. The ski area made $13.75 that day, and the temperature was 25 degrees below zero.

Cake is a sure bet at most birthday parties, and Steamboat Ski Area's 50th on Saturday is no exception. But a 3-foot-by-6.5-foot birthday cake (get your complimentary slice at 3 p.m. in Gondola Square) is just one piece of this golden anniversary celebration, according to a news release from Steamboat Ski Area.

On Saturday, don't forget to take breaks from watching the Broncos game to check out the festivities going on in Gondola Square:


Twenty-five years ago, on Steamboat Ski Area's silver anniversary, the resort locked away a time capsule with memories of 1988. The contents of the time capsule will be on display at the merchandise tent at 1:45 p.m., where you also can pick up some commemorative 50th anniversary gear. Remember to check your gondola car when you head up the mountain, as the ski area will be hiding prizes in one of the cabins.

Live music

Grab your coffee early because the live entertainment begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in Gondola Square. Longtime local cowboy pickers the Yampa Valley Boys will be playing to the crowds of skiers and snowboarders headed up mountain.

On Saturday afternoon, pedal steel guitar player Robert Randolph will headline a Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert series show. Gospel, funk and soul collide in the silky smooth rock ‘n’ roll sound of his group, the six-piece Robert Randolph and the Family Band, led by their namesake's intricate guitar work.

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The Congress, an Americana rock band from the Front Range that often travels to Steamboat, opens the free concert at 2 p.m. Robert Randolph goes on at about 3:30.

Lights at night

At 5:15 p.m., Steamboat Ski Area's director of skiing and famed Olympian Billy Kidd will light the 50th anniversary cauldron. Following the ceremony, there will be three simultaneous torchlight parades down Vogue, See Me and Lower Valley View, according to the release, and ski area president and CEO Chris Diamond said the fireworks display that follows will be the largest the ski area has hosted.

Keep celebrating

The official celebration lasts 10 days, all the way through the classic Steamboat tradition of the Cowboy Downhill on Jan 21. There will be a free concert that day as well from Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email


8:30 a.m. Yampa Valley Boys performs in Gondola Square

2 p.m. Time capsule from 1988 is opened in Gondola Square

2 p.m. The Congress performs in Gondola Square

3 p.m. Birthday cake is cut in Gondola Square

3:30 p.m. Robert Randolph and the Family Band performs in in Gondola Square

5:15 p.m. Torchlight parade followed by fireworks display at Steamboat Ski Area

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