112th Winter Carnival a Success but Bobsled Races Cancelled for Future

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
February 5th, 2009

112 years in the making, the 2009 version of Rossland’s Winter Carnival went off over three days of outstanding winter-themed events which attracted record crowds.

For a largely volunteer run event, it is truly impressive what a group of dedicated people can do to provide entertainment, boost spirits, bring people together and maybe most importantly of all in this day and age, provide our own economic stimulus package, bringing tourists to town as well as getting locals out and about and enjoying everything winter about Rossland.

“This year was the best ever for participation and attendance! We have grown into truly an international event,” noted carnival president Kelly Acheson.

From bobsled races to wine tasting, snow carving to King of the Hill triathlons, city streets transformed into terrain parks to cake and pie sales around a campfire, parades to a multi-venue live music event the Rossland Winter carnival is truly a unique and outstanding three days of fun.

This year the John Heintz Cup, a multi-sport team relay involving downhill skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, running and snow mountain biking saw 16 teams entered. This year’s winner were the Double D’s.

If you haven’t seen it yet, stop by the library to check out the impressive snow sculptures ranging from a sleeping Snoopy to a very cool Polar bear. This year’s winner of the Sculptasaurus competition was Kyrii Stewart.

Friday night’s parade finished up with the return of the torchlight parade down Sally’s Alley providing great photo opportunities and a cool sight not often seen from downtown streets. Following the parade, Century 21 who had volunteers on hand serving up tasty warm up treats, set a record of their own by dishing out more hot dogs and hot chocolate than they can remember in recent years.

A recent addition to the local tourism scene, Powder Paws dog sledding entertained the crowds on Sunday afternoon at the Lion’s campground. Over 200 people came out to the festivities to enjoy free snowmobile and dog sledding rides around the park.

Anyone with a hankering for some excellent live music was surely satisfied as music venues throughout town and Rafters up at Red were sold out for the various shows making up Blizzard Music Fest.

“Blizzard Fest was a roaring success. Every venue in town was packed Friday and Saturday night,” added Acheson.

Red Mountain and Ross Vegas teamed up again this year for “The Game”, transforming the Post Office block of Queen St. into an impressive terrain park with seven rail, box and picnic table features with tractors and a huge crew of diggers. A massive crowd of several hundred lined the street or hung out in the ice bar taking in the rail-crobatics. See attached file for result below.

While bringing people into town and getting locals out to support the events has a direct positive impact on the local economy, the Winter Carnival is still a community event with real community benefits that do a lot of good for various causes. Always keen to rally around a friend in need, Rosslanders raised over $1,000 for Johan Krauss and another couple of hundred for cancer research. Our community organizations (Sept Sommets, The Legion, The Eagles, Rossland Figure Skating Club, RSS Drama Club, Rossland Radio and the Rotary also raised well over $10,000 for their respective causes during the event.

All of the good and good times that came out of the carnival could not have happened without the dedicated volunteers that work hard each year to pull off the event.

“Thanks so much to all the great volunteers. Specifically, the Carnival Executive, Caroline Rouselle, Marty Cancilla and Anna Caron. We could not do it without you. We could always use more help, so please contact Kelly at 362-2210 if you are interested in helping out for next year. We could really take this event to the next level and put it on the international map with a bit more help,” added Acheson.

Rossland businesses also rally each year to donate cash and services to fund and support the event. This year’s sponsors included: NCDU, Red Mountain, The City of Rossland, B&N Blasting, Teck, Tree Brewing, Revolution, Ross Vegas, Jeff’s Collision, KBS, Mountain FM, Rossland Radio, The Trail Times, The Rossland Trail News, The Rossland Telegraph, and Century 21.

One of the centrepiece events took place under beautiful sunny skies Saturday morning with the annual running of the bobsleds down Spokane St. With good cold and hard track conditions under them a record 20 teams took place with the City Dynasty winning again. With entries ranging from pink canoes, through hollowed out logs, to modified snow mobile frames, the crowd favourite event didn’t disappoint, judging by the volume of cheers from the hundreds of onlookers.

Crowd favourite Warfield Fire Fighters Fire Sled (complete with sirens) provided the only crash of the day, hammering into the snowbank on the corner of 5th and Spokane and spilling beers out onto the street. After quickly gathering up their spilled drinks, the firefighters hopped back in, broken front ski and all, and continued down the course, high fiving spectators along the way.

On a darker note it appears that the bobsled race will be cancelled for next year. A report from carnival organizers states that there was very poor cooperation on the part of the spectators who refused to stay off the course, putting themselves and their children in danger. Crowd control for the event are a group of volunteers and they’ve been called names, cursed at and completely ignored in their efforts to keep the event safe.

“It’s really a shame,” said Carnival President Kelly Acheson. “Usually we enjoy the crowd and the spectators but for some reason, not at this event. We have no choice but to do this before someone gets really hurt or even worse…If anyone has any input or ideas or would like to call to apologize for being rude to our volunteers please feel free to do so.”

Apart from trouble with the bobsled races, the event was a roaring success.

“All in all we are totally pleased and already planning changes and improvements for next year to keep this wonderful festival going and growing,” concluded Acheson.

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