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Steamboat Winter Carnival’s “International Biathlon” Event

As Mountain Correspondent, I’ve had the chance to ski bumps with world-renowned mogul experts, I’ve gotten to ski with rented children, and I’ve gotten to ski with fire. But skiing with antique rifles? Well, this was something I hadn’t done, and I had to check it out.

The Event is called the “International Black Powder Biathlon”. It started in 1974 when a fella named Gilbert and some buddies were sharing a round of cold ones in a Steamboat Springs bar during cold winter day. It seems talk turned to shooting black powder rifles, something the group enjoyed doing. Not having a range or any reason to go shooting in the winter months, and with the famous Steamboat Winter Carnival just around the corner, Gilbert decided he and his black powder enthusiast buddies needed an event to call their own. Blammo! The International Black Powder Biathlon is born.

The International Biathlon may be the Winter Carnival’s most unlikely spectator event. But watching a bunch of well-armed, leather-clad yahoos race around town on rickety skis all the while shooting up a storm does have a certain appeal. They even shoot off a canon to start the race! I haven’t taken up the hobby of black powder shooting, but I’m glad it’s alive and well in Colorado.

Steamboat’s Winter Carnival is celebrating a BIG anniversary this year. It’s sure to be a great time, get more info here. I’ll see you there this year, at the International Biathlon, in my ‘coon-skin cap.

-Mountain Correspondent