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Steamboat Magazine

It’s Time for the 111th Winter Carnival

02/07/2024 11:39AM ● By Elainna Hemming
(Photo: One of Alena's attendants this year is Anouk Bradley, a mogul skier.)

Steamboat Springs, CO - Seasoned locals are preparing their hand-warmers and hats while curious tourists are wondering just what the spectacle will entail…it’s that time of year again: this week marks the start of the 111th Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs.

Between the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 7, the Tito’s Soiree, ski ballet and a brand new Giant Ski Race, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club has jam-packed their schedule with excitement. To keep up to date with every event, access the full calendar here. Most importantly, those wanting to support SSWSC and view these events will need to purchase and present a Winter Carnival Button. These $15 buttons will be available to purchase at common business locations across town, including Steamboat Art Museum, ACE Hardware, and grocery stores like City Market and Safeway. Viewers will especially want this button for the iconic firework display featuring the legendary Lighted Man, happening from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10. Pro tip: wear lots of layers!

(Alena Rossi is this year's Winter Carnival Queen. Alena is a Nordic skier who has been with SSWSC for 14 years.)


Meet the Royalty
Every year, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club elects royalty, including their attendants and little princesses. The opening ceremony (Wednesday, Feb. 7) is intended to honor those athletes and their accomplishments. Alena Rossi has been chosen as Winter Carnival Queen, along with her two attendants Ellie Reynolds and Anouk Bradley. Born and raised in Steamboat, Alena has been Nordic skiing with SSWSC for 14 years. “SSWSC has taught me a lot about hard work and the value of a strong team. There’s always been a sense of inclusiveness throughout the club,” Alena says. As a high school senior, Alena’s memories of Winter Carnival “are such a fun part of my life that I look forward to every year. As queen, I am honored to carry on the magic of Winter Carnival.” Aside from cross country skiing, Alena is an academic, making the semi-final round for the 2024 National Merit Scholarship. One of her attendants, mogul skier Anouk Bradley, has spent a decade with SSWSC’s supportive and inspiring community. This year, Anouk is most proud of her newfound perseverance. After suffering through a knee injury over the summer, she was finally able to perform in her first competition this past January. “Being injured created a lot of doubt…working through something that I’d never thought I’d have to go through is one of my biggest accomplishments,” Anouk says. With her position as an attendant, she’s hoping to inspire the next generation in the sport; she’s acquired a sense of gratitude and empowerment. 

(A powder hound snow sculpture from a previous year lines Lincoln Avenue. This year's sculptures can be viewed on Thursday, Feb. 8.)


All About Snow Sculptures
Since Steamboat Creates took over the snow sculpture competition in 2017, they have created more incentive for not only high schoolers to participate, but the whole community. The tradition of students spending eight grueling hours in the freezing cold, carving and finetuning their snow creations, occurred as early as 1929. With the help of local sponsors, Steamboat Creates now provides hot drinks and healthy lunches to competitors throughout the day to keep them fueled. Their addition of community teams and exciting prizes for the top high school teams has expanded participant numbers to over 100 people. Stop by Lincoln Avenue on Thursday, Feb. 8 to view the teams hard at work. Judges come by at 4 p.m. to make their ultimate decisions, then, stick around for the street events this weekend and watch the winners get announced. You can even vote for your favorite sculpture by following @SteamboatCreates on Facebook or Instagram. 

The Inspiration Behind The Poster
Local artist Susan Gill Jackson took a vibrant approach to creating this year’s Winter Carnival poster. Read about her inspirations here