Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a community steeped in deep heritage and lasting traditions. As the Resort celebrates its 60th anniversary this January, we are reminded of all the wonderful traditions that make Steamboat so unique and enjoyable.
One of the most remarkable traditions within the Steamboat Springs community is the Winter Carnival, which just so happens to be the oldest, continuous Winter Carnival west of the Mississippi River. In February 2023, Steamboat Springs will host the 110th annual Winter Carnival, and spectators from all over the world will be able to celebrate Steamboat’s western heritage while watching an impressive array of winter sports. From children on skis being pulled by horses down Lincoln Avenue to ski patrollers jumping through rings of fire, to the infamous Lighted Man skiing down the face of Howelsen Hill while shooting off fireworks, Steamboat Springs sure does know how to have endless winter fun year after year.
Steamboat Resort fits right in with its focus on preserving the area’s western heritage and continuing long-lasting traditions that people still enjoy today.
The Bud Light Cowboy Downhill is a perfect example as it will celebrate the 48th annual event on January 16, 2023. In 1975, Steamboat’s director of skiing, Billy Kidd, teamed up with six-time all-around World Champion cowboy, Larry Mahan, to invite a few of the Pro Rodeo stars to Steamboat for a day of skiing. A day of skiing in Steamboat turned out to be so much fun for the cowboys that the most unique ski rodeo in the country began. Today, over 100 of the best professional rodeo cowboys come to Steamboat Springs to compete in one of the season’s most fun events.
As part of The Cowboy Downhill, Steamboat Resort will also host the Cowboy Up Balloon Glow on January 15. Most mornings throughout the year in Steamboat Springs you will see a hot air balloon gracefully floating above the Yampa Valley. In fact, the community of Steamboat Springs used to host a Hot Air Balloon Rodeo every summer, and while that event is no longer taking place, Steamboat Resort is continuing the valley’s hot air balloon tradition with these stunning balloon glows that light up the night. There is also an additional Light Up the Night Balloon Glow on February 18 to kick off President’s Day weekend.
Lighting up the night has become quite the tradition at Steamboat Resort beyond the incredible balloon glows that take place. Steamboat Resort also puts on quite the show with fireworks and torchlight parades. These celebrations dazzle the community and its visitors featuring Steamboat Snow Sports School Instructors performing synchronized skiing/riding while illuminated only by the light of torches. These torchlight parades can feature anywhere between 50 and 125 instructors who have extensive training within the Snow Sports School. While not mandatory, many ski and snowboard instructors are eager to join in the fun and put on a very memorable experience for resort guests.
As spring returns to the valley, Steamboat Resort is well known for its tradition of hosting the Bud Light Rocks the Boat Concert Series every Saturday starting March 11 through the end of the season, with Sunday shows added the final two weekends. From bluegrass to reggae to New Orleans style rhythm and blues to rock and roll, this concert series offers a great mixture of musical genres. These concerts welcome in spring skiing with flair, and lead into some of the most fun Springalicious traditions at Steamboat Resort. On April 8, 2023, Steamboat Resort will host the 41st Annual Cardboard Classic where homemade cardboard crafts, constructed only from glue, string, water-based paint, duct tape, masking tape and of course cardboard, race down the face of Stampede to an entertaining finish. Also sure to entertain is the Splashdown Pond Skim on Closing Day, April 9, where the bravest and perhaps craziest skiers and riders attempt to cross an ice-cold pond at the base of the mountain, while ideally staying upright on their skis and boards (which is no easy feat). These fun and wild events comprise the ever-popular Springalicious tradition at Steamboat Resort when the days are longer, and the sun shines a little bit brighter.
Beyond these event-based traditions are the everyday traditions that you will witness at Steamboat Resort. Have you ever tapped your ski pole on the Buddy Werner statue at the top of Buddy’s Run? If so, you have just tapped your way into some good luck to come. Have you ever been able to ski or snowboard with an Olympian in Steamboat? With Steamboat being home to or a training base to 100 Olympians and counting, there are often opportunities to take some turns with some of the world’s greatest. Have you ever skinned up Heavenly Daze bright and early before the resort opens? If so, you have participated in a long-standing tradition of earning your turns up to Thunderhead, and then enjoying some of the freshest turns back down the mountain. Make sure to check out Steamboat’s Uphill Access Policy so that you’re up-to-speed on the hours, routes and need for an uphill access arm band and you’ll be all set to join in the traditional uphill fun at Steamboat Resort!
With a multitude of traditions in Steamboat Springs and at Steamboat Resort, it’s no wonder why guests return year after year, and why locals continue being locals…after all, it has become quite the tradition!
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