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Throwback Thursday: 100 Years of Skiing at Howelsen Hill


Howelsen Photos Courtesy of the Tread of Pioneers Museum Howelsen Photos Courtesy of the Tread of Pioneers Museum

Developed in 1914, Howelsen Hill is the oldest ski area in continuing use west of the Mississippi. Owned by the City of Steamboat Springs, Howelsen Hill is home to the Winter Carnival, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and has been the site for numerous national and world record-breaking ski jumps. The Hill is listed on the State Register of Historic Places.


In 1914 Norwegian championship skier Carl Howelsen began the development of skiing and ski jumping on Howelsen Hill, named for him in 1917. Carl originally came to America as a stonemason but soon began touring with the Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1907 performing Ski Sailing. He arrived in Steamboat Springs and introduced recreational skiing, ski jumping, ski training and Winter Carnival activities.

With the development of Howelsen Hill, skiing ceased to be simply a form of transportation during the harsh winter and became recreation. Skiing on Howelsen Hill opened up the area to ski tourism with visitors arriving by train from Denver.

The introduction of recreational skiing at Howelsen Hill in 1914 led way to social organizations, such as the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the oldest winter sports club in the West. The Club has trained and sent over 70 athletes to the Olympics; the first, John Steele, competed in ski jumping at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.