A Century of Ski Town USA

Sixteen-year-old Steamboat Springs local and U.S. Snowboarding team rookie Arielle Gold, who was landing 720s on her way to winning the 2013 FIS Snowboarding Halfpipe Championship last month in Stoneham, Quebec, might not have been precisely what Nordic ski-jumping pioneer Carl Howelsen had in mind when he founded the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club 100 years ago. Then again, maybe it was: Howelsen’s goal, after all, was to encourage the growth of winter sports beyond even his own wildest dreams. The SSWSC — still going strong, and with a current tally of 79 Olympians and 135 Olympic appearances to show for itself — celebrates its 100th annual Winter Carnival this week, with opening ceremonies tonight at 5:30 p.m. followed by a Speed and Flight night ski-jumping event at Howelsen Hill that would have made old man Howelsen beam.

“Back in 1913, winters in Steamboat Springs were generally regarded as long and cold and horrible,” says Steamboat Resort spokeswoman Loryn Kasten. “Carl Howelsen wanted to show everybody that winter could be fun and worth celebrating, and the Winter Carnival has been our most popular event in town ever since.”

Events over the five-day celebration include a cross-country obstacle race, giant slalom races, and 20-, 30-, and 50-meter ski jumping on Thursday; ski races, a vintage ski fashion show, jumping exhibitions and a snowboard jam session on Friday; jumping, biathlon, ski-joring (horse-drawn ski racing) and a must-see Night Show Extravaganza on Saturday; and the Diamond Hitch parade along Lincoln Avenue through downtown Steamboat Springs on Sunday. For a full schedule of events, visit www.sswsc.org.
Feb. 6-10, 2013