Let's party like it's 1897: The 114th Winter Carnival is on!

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
January 27th, 2011

Rossland is gearing up to party like its 1897 as the biggest winter weekend of the year gets set to kick off in the Golden City. 114 years after ol’ Olaus kicked things off, the Rossland Winter Carnival has grown leaps and bounds into a weekend where the biggest challenge is scheduling yourself to hit and participate in as many events as possible.


With just a few days left do go in the planning for the entirely volunteer-led event the magic that always seems to take over and fill any missed gaps has swung into action again this year as last minute pieces fall into place.


“We are full on!” exclaimed an enthused Kelly Acheson, who chairs the organizing committee. “By this time it’s taken on a life of its own and the final pieces start falling into place. We panic about the last minute to-do list and then everybody pitches in and all of the last minute details get tidied up. We’re super-excited. On Thursday we’re receiving the Slocan ice sculptures and then it’s game on!”


This year’s lineup events will feature all of the weird, wild, wacky and unique events that typify Rossland’s Winter Carnival as well as a return to the schedule of a few past favorites.


After being bumped from the schedule last year by the Olympic Torch parade the kid’s carnival is back at Lions Park on Sunday afternoon. Featuring snowshoeing, snowmobiling, GT racing and more there is a very mysterious new event being added. All this reporter could find out about the new event that is being held close to organizers chest is that it’ll be called “The great stuffy toss.”


Among the old favorite events returning this year after on-and-off-again appearances over the past decade is the King of the Mountain event. We all know Rosslanders are well versed in the many ways of having fun sliding on snow. The King of the Mountain will put those skills to the test in a truly Rossland-style triathlon. Men and women will compete together in an up, down, up, down, up, down race on Red mountain. Starting at the base of the Red chair the fastest combined time after riding up the lift, alpine skiing down, riding back up the lift, telemarking down and riding back up the lift one more time before snowboarding down will take home the crown as King of the Mountain (KOTM). No gates, no set course, just a free for all mad dash down the hill will determine the winner. With lift riding time included, be sure to practice up on your lift line working skills.


“We are predicting a possible queen of the mountain this year,” commented Acheson. “The girls of Rossland are damn fast and giving the guys a total run for their money as they’ve done in years past.”

While you’re up at Red on Friday for the KOTM, you can always add a fourth sport to your day as the ever-popular luging lessons are back again at the base of the Red chair.


Be sure to stake out your snowbank position early on Saturday as organizers have indeed pulled together enough last minute volunteers to once again pull off the only-in-Rossland Sonny Samuelson homemade bobsled races. If you’ve ever wondered just what goes into the home-made contraptions that bomb down Spokane Street at up to 80 kilometers an hour, all participating sleds will be on display this year after the race at Mountain Haus on Columbia.


Following last year’s visit and trip down the hill by Rick Mercer, word has spread about the famed bobsled race as organizers have been receiving calls from groups as far as Ontario wanting to participate after seeing Rick survive his downtown descent.


If 80 KPH down city streets is a little fast for your liking there’s also the twisted mash-up sport that is the World Championship Bigolfalon also taking place up at Red. Think biathlon but substitute guns for golf clubs in this wacky sport for the whole family.


With all of the athletic endeavors taking place over the weekend including the annual transformation of Queen Street into a downtown terrain park you may just be in need of a little refreshment. Not to worry, the Queen Street ice bar has been expanded this year to allow even more winter revelry to go down under the stars. With an official designation this year as a Blizzard Fest music venue the Ice bar will be rocking tunes on the outdoor stage Friday and Saturday nights with DJ’s spinning tunes as riders spin tricks during “The game” rail comp across the street. If you’ve got legs left to dance the return of the dancing fire spinners should help spark a few moonlight moves.


Along with the sponsors and volunteers that make it happen the carnival is throwing a big shout-out to the City of Rossland for backing its premiere winter event.


“We owe a big thanks to the City,” added Acheson. “Starting Thursday at noon Darrin Albo and his boys are literally at our beck and call for 72 hours straight helping us move barricades, moving snow, prepping the bobsled, making the volleyball court and everything. They are just wonderful to work with. Two huge thumbs up to them!”

So take this story as a warning: you’ve only got a day or two to rest up before the celebration of the winter goes down in the Mountain Kingdom and once again city crews, volunteers, sponsors and party goers come together to celebrate our winter loving culture for the 114th time together.


 “Go big or go home! It’s small town goes big for the weekend, everyone should come on out, celebrate our winter culture and have a great time,” concluded Acheson.

This post was syndicated from https://rosslandtelegraph.com