Steamboat Springs ends 2004 in style

Gondola Square center of ski area party

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For those interested in ending 2004 in fashion, look no farther than Gondola Square.

The Steamboat Ski Area is planning another spectacular finish to the year with fireworks, a light parade and the Rainbonana Rail.

The SoBe Friday Night Jib Jam kicks the festivities off at 6 p.m. in Gondola Square. The field will consist of invited athletes, including professional skiers and snowboarders and members of the Mavericks Freeride team at Steamboat, competing for a cash prize of $1,000.

The riders will be judged by their peers on style, trick difficulty and overall impression on the rails set up at the ski area's base. The jib jam will feature the Rainbonana Rail, a 40-foot fail design that connects a rainbow and banana shape.

The event is free to the public, and organizers are hoping tonight's second jib jam is just as popular as the first, which drew more than 600 people.

Focus will turn from Gondola Square to the slopes and skies above the ski area's base for the traditional torchlight parade and fireworks show at 7 p.m.

Instructors at Steamboat's Ski & Snowboard School will make their way down the slopes above Gondola Square with lighted torches before gathering at the bottom of Headwall run. A fireworks display will follow, and all events are scheduled to wrap up by 8:30 p.m.

"We welcome families, visitors and locals alike," said Heidi Thomsen, public relations manager at the ski area. "It's a very friendly environment. It should be a good show. There is a lot for kids to do early in the evening, if they aren't too tired from skiing."

The free party in Gondola Square should be a great way for everyone to kick off New Year's Eve in Steamboat. The ski area also is offering evening dining at the Stoker Bar & Grill, Ragnar's, Hazie's, the Western BBQ buffet and The Cabin, located in the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. Space was limited at Ragnar's and Hazie's as of Thursday. Families are encouraged to look into eating early at The Cabin or enjoying the 7 p.m. comedy show at the Stoker Bar & Grill or at the Western BBQ Buffet.

Diners at Ragnar's, Hazie's, the Western BBQ and Stoker are welcome to go to Thunderhead for a New Year's Eve celebration that includes a live band, dancing, party favors, appetizer buffet and complimentary champagne. Reservations can be made at 871-5150.

A more complete look at possible New Year's Eve options is available in today's 4-Points section.

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