NFPF Grant Recipient: Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum

The Horse Slalom Race at the 1948 Steamboat Carnival, from a film that the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum will restore with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
The annual Steamboat Winter Carnival is the oldest continuous winter carnival west of the Mississippi. It brings together neighbors and visitors to mark the winter-sports history of the region.

The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum in Golden will use its grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to restore Steamboat Winter Carnival, a 1948 film that highlights events from that time in the history of the Carnival, which began in 1914 as a way to relieve local residents’ cabin fever during the long winter months.

The film contains footage of various activities at the 1958 Carnival. There was ski jumping, which Carl Howelsen, a famous Norwegian ski jumper, brought to the region.

There is also the soda pop Slalom, the Diamond Hitch Parade, and the high school snow band.

To end the festivities, there’s fireworks.

The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum pitched its project to the NFPF as a historically and culturally important document, in part because the Winter Carnival became a template for winter carnivals around the world. “By opening access to this seminal film,” the institution argued, “the museum will enhance the ability of researcher’s nationally and internationally who seek to learn more about Colorado Mountain culture, ski fashion, and the types of winter carnival events held in Steamboat during this time period.”

John and Pam Horan-Kates made the film and donated it to the Museum. They were hardly the only ones to capture events at Steamboat’s Winter Carnival, but theirs captures the event particularly distinctly, as a home movie. The Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat has several films of the Winter Carnival but most were made by C. Luekens in his efforts to attract tourists in marketing campaigns.

The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum assured the NFPF, however, that its film is particularly significant because it is the only one of the 1948 event known to exist, and shows local ski fans and residents celebrating the exploits of Gordy Wren, a long-time Steamboat resident, at the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Games Olympic Games.

Here’s what the Carnival is like, today:

Categories: Features

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