Sarah MacCarthy will accept her crown as 2006's Winter Carnival queen knowing she represents "the other side of skiing."
MacCarthy is a Nordic skier. When Steamboat celebrates its skiing heritage, the focus often is on Alpine skiing, MacCarthy said. "It's cool that (the Winter Carnival queen) can be a Nordic skier and it doesn't always have to be Alpine. Nordic is usually looked over."
MacCarthy, 18, was born and raised in Steamboat. She started downhill skiing as a 4-year-old. When she was 7, she decided to try on a pair of Nordic skis, and she never went back.
"I just wanted to try something different," MacCarthy said. Since her first days on Nordic skis, MacCarthy has become a formidable competitor in classic and skate-ski events.
When the Winter Sports Club called her house to tell her she had been chosen as this year's Winter Carnival queen, she was out of town at a competition.
MacCarthy said she plans to continue competitive skiing through her college years.
MacCarthy served as an attendant in the Winter Carnival royalty court in 2005. Her two attendants in this year's carnival court are Priska Sorensen, 16, and Jenny Allen, 16.
Before any Winter Sports Club athlete can be nominated as Winter Carnival queen, she must first serve as an attendant.
"I grew up watching Winter Carnival," she said. "Being Winter Carnival queen is an honor."
The queen and two attendants are meant to represent the kind of athletes the club strives to produce.
MacCarthy and her court will be introduced to celebrants at the opening ceremonies at Olympian Hall in the Howelsen Hill Lodge. MacCarthy will be crowned and receive flowers and a sash.
Being nominated as Winter Carnival royalty allows Winter Sports Club an opportunity to recognize the young women and their achievements in front of the entire community.
Coaches, athletic directors and other Winter Sports Club staff recommend a Winter Carnival queen and attendants, but the board of directors chooses who wins. The criteria include scholarship, sportsmanship and prior involvement with Winter Sports Club and Winter Carnival.
According to Sureva Towler's "The History of Skiing in Steamboat Springs," naming a Winter Carnival queen became a tradition at the third annual event. This year marks the 93rd Winter Carnival.
It always has been a female-only segment of the event. There is no male court.