Olympic Heritage Tour
Meet at Howelsen Hill Lodge
Howelsen Hill Lodge (845 Howelsen Hill Parkway)
1 1/2 Hours
Starts at Howelsen Hill Lodge at Howelsen Hill, 845 Howelsen Pkwy. This tour explores Steamboat’s Olympic heritage; the multiple talents of Carl Howelsen; and the history of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Winter Carnival, Howelsen Hill, and ski jumping.
Situated on the south side of the Yampa River directly across from town, the hill was first used for jumping in 1915; slalom and downhill courses were not added until the late 1930’s. The first tow, built in 1934, was a “boat tow,” two sleds pulled by a cable powered by a car motor and transmission. It served until 1970. The lift to the top of Emerald Mountain built in 1947 was one of the longest in the United States. During the 1950’s a 90-meter jump was built and named for Douglas Graham, a local businessman who contributed both time and money to the hill. The Graham Jump attracted many Olympic training camps and was the site of several noteworthy jumps, probably the most spectacular of which was Asten Samuelson’s 316 foot jump in 1951 which set a record that stood until 1960. The Graham Jump burned in 1972 and fund-raising efforts for a jumping complex were launched the next year. Construction on Olympic-style 90, 70, 60 and 30 meter jumps began in 1976 and was completed in 1978.
Instituted by Carl Howelsen in 1914, this annual community festival, held in the second weekend in February, features slalom, downhill, cross country and jumping events at Mount Werner and Howelsen Hill, and unusual riding and ski events on Lincoln Avenue. The first carnival included cross-country races and jumping events on Woodchuck Hill where the local college now stands. Among the special attractions that have been added through the years are a street parade featuring costumed skiers towed by ropes in the shape of diamond hitches; racing horses pulling skiers who jump hurdles and spear hoops in skijoring events; and the Steamboat Springs High School Marching Band on skis, the only band of its kind in the nation. In 1935 slalom and downhill races and jumping events were added. In 1936 the “Lighted Man” – Claudius Banks descending the hill with 100 pounds of battery-powered ashing lights and roman candles – was added to the tradition. During the 1940’s, a night show featuring skiers carrying ares and reworks and jumping through aming hoops became part of the carnival.A horse-drawn diamond hitch passes the F.M. Light store on Lincoln Avenue between Eighth and Ninth Streets during a Winter Carnival in the 1930’s.
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Meet at Howelsen Hill Lodge