This hometown hill comes with a story.

If these slopes could talk. The legendary terrain at Howelsen Hill — North America’s oldest operating ski area and largest natural ski-jumping complex — would tell tales of greatness. Stories of Olympic dreams realized. A goose-bump-raising kind of local lore that moves you to the edge of your seat.

In 1905, “The Flying Norseman” Carl Howelsen landed in Colorado and began training curious skiers in the art of cross-country and ski jumping. He appeared in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus acts as the “The Sky Rocket” and in 1914, Howelsen built a ski jump in Steamboat Springs, introducing the exciting new sport to locals. He also organized the first Winter Carnival in 1914 — a tradition holding strong today celebrating the winter season and bringing the community together for snow-focused competition and revelry — and founded the premier ski club that is now the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Howelsen Hill has served as the training ground for nearly 90 Olympians making over 150 Winter Olympic appearances. Today, the celebrated ski area is home of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — the oldest ski club west of the Mississippi — and provides unmatched training grounds in alpine, Nordic, freestyle and snowboarding for athletes spanning newbies to future and past Olympians.

Owned and operated by the City of Steamboat Springs, Howelsen Hill is actually a city park. A day at Howelsen is cloaked in deeply rooted local lineage and the Olympic prowess that has shaped Steamboat into the proud community it is today. Visit Howelsen and play on 13 miles of cross-country skiing trails, ride the fixed grip quad chair lift and ski 17 alpine trails. Howelsen also offers snowshoeing, snowbiking, night skiing and ski jumping. Summer months feature outdoor tennis courts, basketball courts, softball fields, volleyball and a skate park.

Whatever happened to high-flying ski pioneer Carl Howelsen? Well, in 1922 he returned to Norway to visit his elderly parents, where he met his future wife and lived in Norway until his death in 1955.

Listen In: New Audio Tour

At the entrance to the historic Tread of Pioneers Museum, Steamboat’s first outdoor audio tour brings the stories behind Howelsen Hill to life through a new sound experience. The community project sits at the base of Howelsen Hill and tells an incredible story of a Winter Sports Club that has produced nearly 100 Winter Olympians, 22 members of the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame and 13 members of the National Ski Hall of Fame.

A push-button audio post unlocks six sound byte segments describing Steamboat’s Olympic heritage and the legacy of Norwegian ski jumper Carl Howelsen. Learn about Steamboat Springs’ first Olympian John Steele (1932) and six-time winter Olympian Todd Lodwick, along with the history of Steamboat’s Winter Carnival and the sports of ski jumping and Nordic combined.

Don’t Miss: Ski Free Sunday

Sunday Funday transcends to the next level as Howelsen Hill hosts free skiing every Sunday throughout the winter season. Enjoy the slopes for free at North America’s oldest operating ski area. Just stop into the lodge to pick up your ticket, which is required to access the lifts and the Nordic trails (cross-country, fat bike and snowshoe) on these special ski free days.