Jim Boyne: Welcome to Steamboat’s 105th Winter Carnival
February 6, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Welcome to the 105th Winter Carnival. Please join us in the celebration of winter and mountain living, and help us root for our Steamboat Olympians competing in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
I moved to Steamboat Springs just months before the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Since that time, I have been honored to work with our great team of coaches and staff at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and many exceptional members of our community, to host athletic and community events that highlight the wonderful and long-standing heritage and traditions of our idyllic Yampa Valley. This year's Winter Carnival is no exception.
The 2018 Winter Carnival theme is "Lighting the Flame" to remind us of the passion, determination and commitment of our Olympic athletes who will be competing among the best athletes in the world on the Olympic stage beginning Feb. 9. In many cases, this flame started at a very young age and propelled our Steamboat Olympians to athletic achievement that most people only dream of.
The Olympic Games are a celebration of athletes who have made it to the pinnacle of exceptional athleticism. To us at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the Olympics are also a celebration of all that is magical in our community. The flame that was lit so many years ago for these Olympians was fueled and fanned by families, friends, coaches and the support of our great community that is proud of producing more Winter Olympians than any other town in North America, with 88 SSWSC Olympians who have made a combined 151 Olympic appearances — and counting.
While we spotlight our Olympic history and the upcoming Olympic Games, we love to bring all elements of our heritage and traditions to Winter Carnival — reveling in our rich western heritage and our love of all outdoor activities in the snow-covered mountains. Athletic events always thrill visitors and members of our community, and this year's events are no exception. Expect to see athletes taking flight off of Nordic jumps, demonstrations of amazing aerial skills onto an airbag, head-spinning tricks through a terrain park and racing down the slopes of Howelsen Hill.
During our exciting Street Events, downtown main street will be filled with snow for our kid-loving ranchers and horse riders to pull brave young skiers and snowboarders by rope through a number of competition courses and obstacles.
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Our S'more Family Fun Party on Thursday evening draws the community to Howelsen Hill, where all families have the opportunity to join in the festive fun. All ages are invited to friendly parent-child snow sport competitions and to enjoy s'mores, chili, music and dancing. Enjoy watching fire spinners while you take in the beauty of Emerald Mountain and roast marshmallows together over an open fire.
The Night Extravaganza on Saturday evening is always a crowd favorite and a must see during Winter Carnival. Thousands of people join together at the base of Howelsen Hill to watch as athletes of the SSWSC demonstrate their skills and entertain the crowd as they charge down Howelsen Hill with flares, sparklers and LED lighting illuminating their way.
The Lighted Man, Jon Banks, will once again ski down the Face of Howelsen Hill wearing a historic pyrotechnic suit that shoots fireworks from his body, just as his father did in 1913. Fearless members of our community will fly through a fiery hoop off of the Nordic jumps, as young athletes soar over rails and jumps in the terrain park. The Night Extravaganza will conclude with an awe-inspiring display of fireworks provided by local fireworks enthusiast Tim Borden, who is always there to provide our community with a world-class show.
For 105 years, the SSWSC has been the official organizer for the unique events that make up Winter Carnival. The SSWSC is an integral part of our community's athletic, educational and youth development fabric that supports our young kids and our community, as well as being a force on regional, national and global stages in winter sports. As we celebrate Winter Carnival and our Olympic heritage, we are also proud of the tens of thousands of SSWSC athletes who have gone on to achieve their dreams outside of snow sports.
I am grateful for, and want to personally thank our broad base of support partners, including our Winter Carnival presenting sponsors Yampa Valley Bank, the city of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Smartwool, Alpine Mountain Ranch and Club, Steamboat Radio and UC Health. We also would like to thank the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, whose staff is instrumental in partnering with us in putting on the Street Events.
Also, my humble and deep gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers who generously give of their time and energy to work hand in hand with the SSWSC to organize all of the Winter Carnival festivities. Working together, we bring all of the elements of Winter Carnival together for our community and visitors to enjoy.
Lastly, and most sincerely, my thanks to this great community I call "home.” I am privileged to participate in such a rich heritage and tradition — to be a part of celebrating 105 years of the best of our community — Winter Carnival … working, celebrating and playing together in ways that unify us all. I am proud to be a small part of the mosaic that makes us Ski Town USA. This community brings Winter Carnival to life.
Your purchase of the $10 Winter Carnival Button offsets some of the costs of putting on Winter Carnival and supports the athletes of the SSWSC who perform in the events. In addition to serving as your spectating or participation ticket, wearing the button allows anyone to get free tickets to ski or ride at Howelsen Hill from Feb. 7 to 11.
As we have for all of these years, let us once again do our part in "Lighting the Flame" in honor of our hard-working Olympians and let them know that we are steadfast in cheering them on to do their very best.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club executive director