Our favourite guest blogger, Jenny O’Farrell from Steamboat, has returned! We asked Jenny to give us the low-down on what’s hot in Steamboat and she’s put together a list of must-see Steamboat events for winter 2014/15:
18th December – 30th March – Night Skiing & Riding
Ok, so if you did not get in enough turns from first Gondola at 8:30, you can enjoy night skiing and riding for three more hours from 5:30.
This will be year #2 of illuminated slopes in Steamboat, and we’re excited to add another day to the schedule for a Thursday-Sunday program this winter. You have steeper trails off the top of the Christie Peak Express 6-pack chair, and the Lil’ Rodeo terrain park is very popular at the night sessions. The lighting is quite impressive, too – the snow is well-illuminated, but you can still appreciate the bright stars in the bight sky, too. For those who prefer to watch, grab a cocktail at the Bear River Grill and enjoy the atmosphere at the cozy fire pits.
5th-10th January 2015 – Musicfest at Steamboat
What happens when you host 1500+ country and Americana music fans and their favorite bands? You have a 5-day, 24-hour party for some of the most charming and polite inebriated guests you’ll ever meet!
Most concerts held during this event are private for Musicfest ticket holders, but resort visitors get two big bonuses during this time: free public après-ski concerts in Gondola Square most afternoons and a big empty mountain – daytime is for sleeping for most Musicfest folks!
19th January 2015 – 41st Cowboy Downhill
This beloved annual event takes place for about three hours on a Tuesday in January, and the much-awaited “Stampede” is over in about 15 seconds, so plan ahead!
Some 41 years ago, our own Steamboat Director of Skiing Billy Kidd invited a few professional rodeo cowboys attending the Denver Stock Show up to Steamboat for a ski race, and the cowboys learned that much like bull-riding, skiing requires some training and practice. Of course, their lack of expertise and fearlessness are what makes the event so entertaining!
Since that time, the Steamboat Cowboy Downhill has become a featured event on the rodeo calendar, and many have actually acquired some skills on skis and snowboards, but a combination of competitiveness and free beer keep the action exciting. The dual slalom race through the obstacle course is great to watch, but the highlight is the stampede: all competitors leave the gate at once, and it’s a no-rules race to the finishing line.
Look for the rodeo cowboys skiing and riding around the mountain that morning – expect cowboy hats and chaps!
4th-8th February 2015 – 102nd Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
This annual festival is a local celebration of all things winter, and visitors to Steamboat are very welcome to observe – or get involved! We close down Lincoln Avenue, fill it with snow, and stage a variety of races. Most involve children and horses, but my favorite includes Dads on shovels.
The highlight of the week is the evening of excitement at Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs. Not to be missed are The Lighted Man, a third-generation human fireworks, and ski patroller John “Pink” Floyd’s ski jump through a fiery hoop with a rescue toboggan. It just doesn’t et any better than that!
14th-17th February 2015 – Steamboat Mardi Gras
Carnaval in Rio? Bourbon Street in New Orleans? Been there – done that? Check out the Mardi Gras celebrations in Steamboat!
The Saturday afternoon Mardi Gras parade through the ski area base is, well, local, and annually features my eye doctor in a very bright and shiny red coat. And you can get all of the free Mardi Gras beads a person could want or need.
Highly recommended: Dueling Pianos – these guys are good! And the New Orleans-style dishes served in our on-mountain restaurants during Mardi Gras celebrations are a real treat. Enjoy a Hurricane cocktail, too, but download the Gondola after for safety’s sake.
27th-28th February – Telemark World Cup
A small but talented field of the best telemark skiers from all over the world gather in Steamboat to see who is the best knee-bender. Telemark races include uphill, downhill, bumps and cross-country terrain, and it’s exciting to see these elite athletes perform. Try it – you’re certain to be impressed.
If you’re keen to try free-heeling yourself, stop by the Steamboat Ski & Snowboard School for a lesson – ask for Barry Smith to teach you the ropes. And why would you want to try telemark skiing? The powder is deeper when you’re bending a knee!
14th March 2015 – Bud Light Rocks the Boat – Free Concert Series
The upcoming winter marks year three of our permanent Steamboat Stage in Gondola Square, and this concert series takes full advantage of this excellent outdoor venue. For seven Saturdays throughout the season and on Saturday & Sunday on closing weekend, local, regional and nationally known bands entertain from mid-afternoon through the après-ski hours. Grab a beverage and enjoy the show and the people-watching. The band list has not yet has not yet been confirmed for 2015, but watch for the March Fourth Band, which combines big sound with huge visual entertainment.
27th-29th March 2015 – US Freestyle Championships – Moguls & Aerials
Lovingly known as Bumps & Jumps, this event brings the elite US competitors to the VooDoo run on lower mountain for some very entertaining races and exhibitions. Ski or snowboard to the races or grab snowshoes at the Steamboat Info Center and hike up to the venue. Expect a lively crowd and some very big air. Don’t try this at home, people – these kids are young and well-trained! Head to the Steamboat Stage in Gondola Square for a post-competition concert.
1st-12th April 2015 – Springalicious Celebration
Steamboat gets very excited when the days get longer and the temperatures rise a bit, after a great five months of winter fun, and we invented a silly word to celebrate.
Expect longer days on the slopes, outdoor food & drink specials, open air concerts, big sales on skis and snowboards and clothing and such. You’re also likely to see a few skiers and snowboarders grossly underdressed for the activity at hand. Watch for the announcement of our Steamboat Springalicious lift pass!
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