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The thrill of Winter Carnival

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Sure it's ski jumping, snow sculpting, cross country racing, snowboarding and a tubing party.

It's a soda pop slalom, a dual slalom bicycle race and an international muzzle loading biathlon.

And it's chariot racing, the Diamond Hitch parade, including the Steamboat Springs High School skiing band, and the Lighted Man.

On top of all those events and more, the Winter Carnival, celebrating 89 years this year, is not only the longest running winter carnival west of the Mississippi, it is also what helps make Steamboat Springs the community it is.

It started out as kind of a cure-all for cabin fever that residents suffered in the dead of winter.

And with horse riders still pulling skiers down the middle of main street, well, maybe things haven't changed that much.

But this year was a little different, indeed.

With a veritable small army of athletes Steamboat has sent to the Olympics, the Winter Carnival gave us an appropriate opportunity to take a moment or the weekend to take pride in our community.

During events such as the cross country obstacle course and the Soda Pop slalom, you could almost see in the eyes of those children the determination to become the next Todd Lodwick or Jonny Mosley.

You could certainly see the pride in joy in the eyes of those parents watching the events who consistently said they were glad their kids could take a break from competition to participate in events that were simply about fun and community.

This year's Winter Carnival comes to a close today but the final events promise a great time for those who want to catch them.

The street events, which truly celebrate the carnival's heritage, kick off at 9 a.m. with the Diamond Hitch Parade at 11:30 a.m.

The Parent-Child Downhill will be at 1 p.m. at Howelsen Hill, which is also the starting time for the chariot races that will be at the Rodeo Grounds. The carnival wraps up with a snowshoe race at Howelsen Hill at 2 p.m.

We urge residents and visitors to take advantage of this unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of Steamboat's past and maybe more of the community's Olympic future.

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