Cabin Fever Days Approaching Once Again

Live music, food trucks, a hog roast and a variety of competitions, including the famed barstool ski races, are planned for this year’s three-day festival

By Mike Kordenbrock
A competitor steers his stool down Sugar Hill during the Barstool Ski Races at Cabin Fever Days in Martin City on Feb. 12, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

With promising weather in the forecast, Cabin Fever Days is gearing up to once again bring three days of food and festivities to Martin City, Hungry Horse and Coram this weekend.

This year’s event will raise money for the fire departments in Hungry Horse and Martin City, as well as the Canyon Quick Response Unit.

Steve Paugh, one of the organizers for the event, and a competitor, announcer and supporter of the festival’s barstool races, said there will be some changes this year to the iconic event in which people race downhill on barstools attached to skis.

The Super Bowl this Sunday is looming large, and Paugh said that last year the drop-off in attendees for the second and final day of barstool racing on Super Bowl Sunday was notable. So, this year organizers are set on completing all barstool races, including the championship competition, on Saturday. Paugh said he expects it will help keep a lively atmosphere, since about five times more people attend Cabin Fever Days on Saturday compared to Sunday.

“We’ll be set up on the hill by 11 a.m., and then by, I believe 3 o’clock — between 3 and 4 o’clock — we’ll start the final runs,” Paugh said.

As of Feb. 6, forecasts from the National Weather Service in Missoula show daily high temperatures during Cabin Fever Days in the upper 30s, and evening lows in the mid 20s, with a slight chance of snow each day.

A competitor crashes during the Barstool Ski Races at Cabin Fever Days in Martin City on Feb. 12, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

In past years, barstool racing has drawn competitors from other states, including North Dakota, and other countries, including Canada. Paugh guessed 60 to 75 people will sign up to compete this year.

“And there’s some guys that are great at it,” Paugh said. “They’re truly world-class athletes and I’m not saying that with tongue in cheek. These guys have been doing it for a lot of years, and they compete very fiercely.”

Paugh said he “caught the bug” for barstool racing about a decade ago and now he looks forward to it every year.

“It’s just a great place to go on a February weekend,” he said of Cabin Fever Days. “And you’re not at the ski mountain. We get a lot of crowds. It’s a different feeling out there.”

But, of course, barstool racing is just one piece of the Cabin Fever Days activities. On Friday, Feb. 10, Cabin Fever Days kicks off at 5 p.m. at the Southfork Saloon in Martin City with a mixed doubles pool tournament. At 7 p.m. a darts tournament and karaoke kick off at the Stonefly Lounge in Coram. That’s also when Whiskey Rose starts playing at the Dam Town Tavern in Hungry Horse, and the Groove Riders start playing at the Dew Drop Inn in Coram.

A spectator enjoys a couple of beers at the Barstool Ski Races at Cabin Fever Days in Martin City on Feb. 12, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

On Saturday, Feb. 11, things kick off with biscuits and gravy at Packer’s Roost in Coram at 10 a.m. The kids sled race check-in at Sugar Hill opens up at 11:30 a.m., as does the barstool ski race check-in and inspection.

Arm wrestling at the Paul Bunyan Bar and Grill starts at noon, and then the barstool ski races kick off at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m. a hog roast is planned at Packer’s Roost. The afternoon also includes snowshoe softball, a kids’ sack race, a kids’ egg and spoon race, and a kids’ tug-o’-war. At 4 p.m. when the barstool race finals begin, the Mountain Man competition will get underway, as well as another round of arm wrestling at the Paul Bunyan Bar and Grill. A Ro-Sham-Bo tournament starts at the Stonefly at 4:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., beer pong starts at the Dam Town Tavern. The barstool race awards are set for 8 p.m. at the Southfork Saloon, and live music from Desperate Electric begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Stonefly. More musical performances are planned throughout the night, culminating in a dance party at the Stonefly at 10 p.m. with music from Desperate Electric.

Cabin Fever Days wrap up on Sunday, Feb. 12, starting with brunch and cocktails at 11 a.m. at the Stonefly Lounge and ending with Super Bowl parties at the Stonefly and Southfork Saloon beginning at 4 p.m. For a full list of events, check out www.cabinfeverdays.com.

Paugh said there will also be around 20 food trucks, as well as vendors and jewelry makers. All-access souvenir buttons are available for $5 at the Cabin Fever Days entrance in Martin City. Memorial buttons will also be on sale for $5. Shuttle wristbands are free for minors and $3 for those age 21 and up. The shuttles will continuously loop through Hungry Horse, Martin City, and Coram on Saturday.