Bob and Frances Wither were the grand marshals for the 73rd annual Winter Carnival in 1986.
2013 grand marshals expected to attend
Jim “Moose” Barrows
Erin Simmons Nemec
Winter Carnival celebrates its 100th year
His family isn’t that Crawford family — the pioneers who were among the first in the Yampa River Valley — but Gary Crawford’s lineage nonetheless boasts Steamboat Springs roots few can match.
His grandfather was a doctor early in the 20th century operating out of the building that now houses Spostas Sushi in downtown Steamboat. Crawford’s father, Marvin, learned to ski on the local slopes, as did Gary. Both eventually represented the United States in Nordic combined in the Olympics.
“I don’t know if we’ve been at all 100,” Gary said, reflecting on Steamboat’s Winter Carnival, which celebrates its centennial this year. “I would bet it’s pretty darn close, though.”
His family’s long history with the event is one of the things that helps Crawford truly appreciate being named one of this year’s grand marshals.
“It’s an honor, for sure,” said Crawford, now a Nordic combined coach with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. “When I was growing up, the carnival was like going to a big circus. The atmosphere was just so fun, and everyone helped put it on and make it fun for the kids. You remember that growing up, being involved in the night show and going off the jumps with torches. You remember those times as special, and now, to be honored like this is wonderful.”
The list of Winter Carnival grand marshals is a wide-ranging list of who’s who in Steamboat Springs. It includes everyone from those with the deepest ties to Steamboat’s history, like Leif Hovelsen in 2009 and Hazie Werner in 1977, to famous skiers like Billy Kidd and Jim “Moose” Barrows. There have been Steamboat Ski Area founders and officials, town leaders, longtime business figures and even the parents of Olympians, as many as five at a time.
No collection of marshals will represent quite the breadth of Steamboat as the selection for the 100th Winter Carnival, however. It’s a big year, and in response, the carnival is inviting every former Steamboat Olympian to serve as a grand marshal.
“Steamboat has helped us along the way to achieve our goals as competitive skiers, and for us to be recognized now as Olympians, it’s just phenomenal,” Crawford said. “It’s a special honor to be recognized with all my fellow Olympians as a grand marshal.”
Early confirmed attendees included winners of medals of all available shades. Deb Armstrong won gold in giant slalom in 1984. Billy Kidd won silver in slalom in 1964. And Nelson Carmichael won bronze in 1992.
Each of the more than 70 Olympians with ties to Steamboat Springs were invited to serve as marshals for the 2013 carnival. That list includes those who were born in town, those who moved here and those who trained in Steamboat. It even includes a couple of summer Olympians, like rowers Fred Honebein and Anne Kakela.
“My perspective is different than those who grew up going to the carnival, but I could not be more proud,” said Armstrong, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest but now coaches for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Whether it’s been taking in the street events or preparing her athletes for the Saturday Night Extravaganza, she’s seen more than enough Winter Carnivals for the event to sink deep into her bones.
“There’s such pride during the Winter Carnival in who we are,” she continued. “I just love this celebration of our winter uniqueness.”
2013 Winter Carnival Guide