Head to Steamboat Springs for family fun and serious ski jumping

A sure cure for midwinter Colorado cabin fever is the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival at the city’s own ski area, Howelsen Hill.

Huddle with the hometown crowd during the Saturday Night Extravaganza to cheer 600-plus local kids skiing in the torchlight parade. Grab a hot chocolate to ward off the cold and watch the nordic ski jumping, including flyers hurtling through a flaming ring of fire as they launch off various jumps.

Competitive skiing and jumping are big draws at the five-day carnival, which culminates with Gelandesprung Ski Jumping Finals. If all this soaring makes you want to take the leap, you can take a brief course and try your skills on the same 20- to 50-meter jumps that have produced 54 winter Olympians since the hill was built in 1915.

During the festival, downtown Steamboat Springs bustles with plenty of other frozen festivities, like shovel racers towed by galloping horses ― an event you may not want to try.

INFO: Winter Carnival ($7; www.sswsc.org or 970/879-0695). For lodging, contact the Steamboat Springs Resort Association ( www.steamboatchamber.com or 970/879-0880).

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