Our view: Celebrating all that makes Steamboat great | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Celebrating all that makes Steamboat great

For 105 years, Steamboat Springs has celebrated Winter Carnival — a tradition that commemorates our town's unique character.

It's the sight of young skiers being pulled down a snow-covered Lincoln Avenue behind galloping horses that symbolizes Steamboat's reputation as a cowboy ski town. Many of the cowboys and cowgirls riding those horses represent the third generation of Yampa Valley ranchers who've been involved in the Street Events since Steamboat's very first Winter Carnival.

The annual celebration also pays tribute to Steamboat's ties to ski jumping that date back to Carl Howelsen's arrival in Steamboat in 1913 and remain strong today with four Steamboat Nordic combined athletes representing the U.S. in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Those skills will be on display throughout the week as athletes of all ages and abilities jump off Howelsen Hill's famed jumps — some even daring to propel themselves through flaming hoops at night.

The 2018 Winter Carnival starts Wednesday night with the Opening Ceremony and then continues for the next four days with opportunities to experience a number of signature events, including the Street Events on Saturday and Sunday; the Diamond Hitch Parade on Sunday where Steamboat's famous ski band will make its way down Lincoln Avenue; and the always exhilarating Night Extravaganza on Saturday night.

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and its legion of volunteers host the carnival with help from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association on the Street Events. It's always an amazing feat to pull off, and the four days of events shine a spotlight on the Winter Sports Club and all it contributes to the community.

This year's Winter Carnival theme is "Lighting the Flame" in honor of the 2018 Winter Games. The theme serves to illuminate Steamboat's rich Olympic history, drawing attention to the fact that our town has sent more athletes to the Olympic Games than any other city in the United States. That number continues to climb with 15 more athletes with ties to Steamboat competing in the 2018 Winter Games. Many of those athletes trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — soaring off the big jumps at Howelsen Hill or practicing aerial tricks on Bald Eagle Lake.

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The Winter Sports Club is a huge part of this community's fabric and its impact goes beyond producing elite athletes. The club provides youth development opportunities for any child who wants to get involved with one of its programs, and as a bonus, many of these youngsters often have the opportunity to be coached by former Olympians.

To us, Winter Carnival exemplifies the best of Steamboat, combining our western heritage, Olympic history and skiing in all forms and at all levels. The festivities also celebrate a community that supports its youth and comes together to back a club that has impacted the lives of tens of thousands of young people through the years.

To echo something Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Executive Director Jim Boyne wrote in his Winter Carnival welcome letter, we are proud to live and work and play in a community that "brings Winter Carnival to life," and we hope you'll purchase a Winter Carnival button and plan to attend as many events as you can this week.

At issue: The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club hosts the 105th Winter Carnival this week

Our view: This annual event is a time for Steamboat to take pride in its rich Olympic heritage and unique traditions

Editorial Board
• Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher

• Lisa Schlichtman, editor

• Tom Ross, reporter

• Hannah Hoffman, community representative

• Bob Schneider, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.