This year marked the 104th anniversary of the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, complete with ski racing, ski joring, obstacles courses, ski jumping, and much more. It’s always a pleasure to photograph the event, not only for my own kids, but to gift the photos to all of the other participants and their families. Lots of fun images in the full post.

Soda Pop Slalom

Friday’s are kicked off with the “Soda Pop Slalom.” Children ages 11 and younger race down a course at the bottom of the Steamboat Resort, often showing better form than many of the adults watching. Everyone gets a goody bag with, you guessed it – soda pop!

Even the younger kids who aren’t used to a race course have a lot of fun – in this case ducking through the gates instead of going around them!

Street Events

For the weekend, the action heads downtown where several blocks of Lincoln Avenue is filled with 20+ tons of snow for the racing action.

The crowd favorite is always the “Donkey Jump,” where kids are pulled behind a horse before launching off a 2-foot ramp. Here’s the winner from the 6 to 9-year old category. Despite being a healthy distance away with a 300mm lens, he went so far that I still had to jump for him to slide under me.

The street slalom is another action-filled event. Go too fast and you’ll miss the cones and have penalty seconds added to your timing. Too slow and you’ll experience slack between you and the horse. This young Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete has it just right!

Ring & Spear - 104th Annual Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival

The younger kids enjoy the “Ring & Spear” – a race down the “Main Street” of Steamboat Springs being pulled by a horse while trying to nab as many hanging rings with their spear.

And while most of the carnival events are reserved for kids, the dads get to participate in one event called the “Dad Dash.” Each father crawls down the street on their hands and knees while pulling their 5-year or younger child in a sled. Legend has it the moms came up with this idea…

…but clearly the dads and kids have a great time.

And then there is the amazing group of horses and dedicated riders safely pulling all of our children each year. This rider fell off his horse after one of the ski racers pulled too hard on the rope.

He not only got back up and safely roped the horse back under control….

…but also went back, picked up the young skier again, and successfully pulled her over the donkey jump. These amazing horses and “Routt County (Horse) Riders” do an amazing job providing a fun and safe atmosphere for both the young athletes and the audience.

Free Photos for Skiers, Riders, Parents, and Volunteers

All of the 500+ photos that I took are available FREE to any volunteer, child, or parent of a child participating in the event as my gift to you. Please contact me for the link to a private gallery for downloading.

Behind the Scenes

For a unique “behind the scenes” look at the Steamboat Winter Carnival, including the planning, volunteers, and other photos you won’t see in the mainstream media, check out my “it takes a village” post from the 100th Steamboat Winter Carnival.