This unique winter sporting event makes for one heck of a tradition in Steamboat Springs.
“It all began when Billy Kidd, Steamboat’s director of skiing, and Larry Mahan, six-time all-around World Champion cowboy, decided to invite a few of the ProRodeo stars to Steamboat for a day of skiing.” According to Steamboat Springs, one of Colorado’s finest ski resorts, those cowboys ended up having such a blast that the event became a Colorado tradition, bringing over 100 of the top pro rodeo cowboys together to compete in what eventually became the Cowboy Downhill.
The Cowboy Downhill kicked off its 49th season on Monday, January 15, with its first signature event. Contestants, some of whom have never skied before, gathered to compete in a rigorous relay. During this first event, cowboys and cowgirls could be seen skiing down a dual slalom course and over a jump. They then demonstrate d their rodeo skills by lassoing a volunteer and saddling a horse, all while balancing on skis, before racing to the finish line.
The second event, known as the Stampede Event, was just that — a stampede across a course to the finish line. While the skiing technique may not be great, the spirit of fun that lights up the resort as rodeo’s finest athletes stumble their way down the snowy hill makes for one heck of a tradition, one that has brought smiles to many faces since its inception in 1974.
Check out these photos from this year’s Cowboy Downhill events.
Two cowgirls make their way over a jump during the first signature event.
A contestant of the Cowboy Downhill races to saddle a horse during the first signature event.
Rodeo athletes, some of whom have very little experience with skiing or snowboarding, race down a dual slalom course.
Rodeo athletes from across the country come together for a weekend of friendly competition.
Specialty courses for unique competitions are set up at Colorado's Steamboat Springs Ski Resort each year.
Lakota actor and C&I cover star Mo Brings Plenty joins in on the fun.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtesy Paul Agid