Steamboat Springs High School student Jeff Sloan works to complete an ice sculpture with his classmates Friday morning. The sculptures are a part of the Winter Carnival tradition.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs High School student Jeff Sloan works to complete an ice sculpture with his classmates Friday morning. The sculptures are a part of the Winter Carnival tradition.

High school students' snow sculptures line downtown

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— While most local high school students were huddled in their homes on their day off school Friday, about 50 braved sub-zero early morning temperatures to decorate the streets of downtown Steamboat Springs with fresh and festive snow sculptures.

Armed with hot chocolate, shovels and snow saws, 18 teams worked on their designs on blocks of snow in front of various Lincoln Avenue businesses that were sponsoring each piece, which will decorate Lincoln Avenue during the 98th annual Winter Carnival street events today and Sunday.

Before noon Friday, some sculptures already were taking shape.

A group of girls outside of Steamboat Shoe Co. near Ninth Street made a sculpture resembling something close to their hearts: a Zamboni machine.

All of them are on the Steam­boat U16 hockey team, and many have fond memories of Zambonis circling Howelsen Ice Arena. They also have fond memories of perusing the snow sculptures during Winter Carnival as children.

“They do these street events, but now we’re pretty much too old to do them, except for the shovel races, which are just for adults,” Alice Holmquist said. “We thought it’d be cool to still do something.”

Other sculptures depicted penguins, puzzle pieces and a 7-foot robot, all built with this year’s Winter Carnival theme in mind: Building Athletes … Building Individuals.

Each group has a team captain who registered the team and submitted a design to their high school office. Eighteen designs were selected, and the snow blocks were set to be dumped in their places on Wednesday and carved on Thursday. Because of excessive cold, however, Steamboat Springs School District buildings were closed Wednesday, pushing the project back a day.

Even after numerous “warm-up” breaks inside their corresponding sponsored businesses Friday, most of the groups had finished their sculptures by early afternoon.

One of the groups remaining just after 2 p.m. was captained by Steamboat Springs High School senior Allie Hay. Hay and her friends were putting the finishing touches on their Snoopy house, featuring the famed Peanuts dog lying on his back atop the dog house with his sidekick, Woodstock, perched on his chest.

“Snoopy and Woodstock are an iconic image,” Hay said. “Any­one who’s seen Peanuts can make a connection with the friendships in their lives, and that’s part of building an individual.”

Kristi Richardson said she loved watching the young children huddle around the snow sculptures in awe during Winter Carnival weekend, and she was proud to be a part of the wonder.

“It’s great to contribute to the town,” Richardson said. “Living here is enough, but contributing is even better.”

Today’s events

■ 8 to 11 a.m. Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast

(Holy Name Catholic Church, 524 Oak St.) This is the perfect way to fuel up for all of the day’s activities. In addition to a Winter Carnival button, admission is charged.

■ 8 a.m. 100-meter Nordic sprint

(Downtown, Lincoln Avenue) A 100-meter Nordic sprint on Lincoln Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets starts before the street events. The race will have male and female divisions as well as 13-and-older and 12-and-younger age categories. Register at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center or the visitor center.

■ 9 a.m. to noon. Street events

(Downtown, Lincoln Avenue) A popular and entertaining show featuring children on skis and snowboards being pulled behind horses through the snow-covered streets of downtown. Races include street slalom, skijoring, ring and spear, donkey jump and the famous adult shovel race. The horse events are for children ages 6 to 14, and there are non-horse events for infants to 14-year-olds.

■ 9 a.m. to noon. Pro Alpine ski flying training

(Howelsen Hill, downtown off Fifth Street) Training for Sunday’s event.

■ Noon to 2 p.m. International Muzzle Loading Biathlon

(Howelsen Hill) In this endurance event, participants clad in fur trapper, frontier vintage attire combine marksmanship, using early Americana black powder firearms, with cross-country skiing on primitive equipment.

■ 1 p.m. Pro Alpine ski flying qualifying

(Howelsen Hill) Qualifying for Sunday’s event.

■ 6:30 p.m. Night Extravaganza

(Howelsen Hill) A must-see evening of entertainment at Howelsen Hill features a winter sports exhibition, the Lighted Man, glow necklaces, torchlight parades, fiery hoop jumpers and fireworks.

Sunday’s events

■ 9 to 11 a.m. Street events

(Downtown, Lincoln Avenue) A popular and entertaining show featuring children on skis and snowboards being pulled behind horses through the snow-covered streets of downtown. Races include street slalom, skijoring, ring and spear, donkey jump and the famous adult shovel race. The horse events are for children ages 6 to 14, and there are non-horse events for infants to 14-year-olds.

■ 11:30 a.m. Diamond Hitch Parade

(Downtown, Lincoln Avenue) The diamond hitch consists of at least four skiers holding on to points of a rope tied in the shape of one or more diamonds. Animals, people or vehicles may pull the skiers down the snow-covered streets. Anyone is welcome to enter the parade. Preregistration is required. Call the Winter Sports Club at 970-879-0695, ext. 100, for an entry form.

■ 1 p.m. Pro Alpine ski flying finals

(Howelsen Hill, downtown off Fifth Street)

This is a must-see Gelandesprung (a German word that means terrain jump) ski jumping event with participants launching off of the K114 big hill in Alpine skis and boots rather than the usual ski jumping equipment. Call Pat Arnone at 970-879-8141.

■ 1 to 2 p.m. Parent-Child Downhill

(Howelsen Hill) Everyone is a winner in this noncompetitive, fun event. An adult and child ski together through Howelsen Hill’s terrain. Each child is given a participant ribbon and is provided an opportunity to have a professional photograph taken on the podium. A release form must be signed or already be on file.

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