Durango Snowdown

One of the reasons I fell in love with Durango is Snowdown. A huge near week-long event where people can let go and enjoy themselves. Below is a schedule of some choice events at Snowdown. I’ll be posting a more serious post soon about how to avoid the pitfalls of heavy drinking festivals like Snowdown (early preview: take the Buck Horn and assume every driver is buzzed or worse).


For Coloradans in the Durango area, the time has finally come for a party that is so fun, you’ll think you’ve been transported to a galaxy far, far away.


Winter is arguably the coldest of all the seasons in the Galaxy. If you live in a part of the universe like Colorado, at this point you’ve had plenty of cold, snowy weather. Sure, if you’re a skier, you’re in hog heaven. But if you’re not, you might be dreaming of a warm sunny, summer afternoon right about now.

Either way, the best way to get yourself out of the winter doldrums is with a big ol’ winter festival.


It’s Time to Snowdown!


The 39th annual Snowdown (2017) starts February 1st, and this year is shaping up to be one of the best ever. This year’s theme: Intergalactic Snowdown! Durango’s best party of the winter is almost here and just to make sure you’re ready for battle, here is a list of some of the best events as well as some tips for having some good clean fun (with a lightsaber).




Fashion Dos and Don’ts: A Tasteless “Fashion” Show (12pm at the La Plata County Fairgrounds)


Nothing warms you up when you’re feeling the wintertime chills like a smokin’ hot fashion show. Sign up to strut your stuff in your finest Princess Leia costume or shoot for the moon with your best Star Trek look. Prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed, Worst Dressed, Funniest Costume, Best Theme and, of course, the Grand Prize.


Tip: Double-sided tape works wonders for holding your tentacles in place!


Wild Bull Riding Competition (9pm at The Wild Horse Saloon)

The Wild Horse Saloon is hosting this popular event where you can show off your skills at spacebull riding while looking out of this world at the same time. Contestants in this space-aged mechanical bull contest will be judged on Time, Style and Crowd Amusement, so make sure you ride like a star. Sign up between 7 and 8:30pm and bring your friends to cheer you on.


Tip: Taurus the Intergalactic Bull has been said to respond much better to moon boots than spurs at this time of year.




Warp Speed Oyster Eating Contest (4pm at Highway 3 Roadhouse)


Contestants in this event will have 60 seconds to send oysters to their stomachs at light speed. This event will be limited to the first 10 wookies and 10 intergalactic princesses to sign up. If there ever was an event that’s gonna chase you back into your cabin for another two months, this is it. It’s gonna be (puke) buckets of fun!


Tip: Some competitions are perfect for spectators. Let’s leave it at that.




The Snowdown Firework / Light Parade (Dusk on Main St.)


This Snowdown tradition marks the start of the weekend. When the Honorary Parade Marshal gives the signal, a single Space Firework will be launched into space, signaling the start of the Parade. This tractor beam of burning potassium nitrate will illuminate Durango as well as your night.


Tip: The firework is not a weapon of the Empire. Do not attempt to put out the fuse.


Pole Dancing Contest (10pm at Ponga’s)


The wildest event this side of Mos Eisley is also the biggest Durango crowd-pleaser of Snowdown. One of the more colorful disciplines of all the performing arts, pole dancing allows both men and women to showcase the talents they’ve learned from one end of the galaxy to the other. Beam yourself to Ponga’s early, as they reach capacity very early each year. Go figure? $5 cover unless you’re dancing.


Tip: Don’t get stabbed by stray lightsabers.




Snowdown Castaway Fly Fishing Casting Contest (11am at Roosa Park)

Leave your blasters at home, but bring your fly rod to show off your skills at this casting contest. Judges will be scoring based on Casting Distance and Best Casting Loop. There will be casting relay teams, a rigging contest and other fun events. If you forget your gear in your X-Wing, don’t worry—they will be providing some for you to borrow. All ages. No cost.

Tip: Any attempt to use the Force will… actually probably work. It’s the Force, after all.


Outhouse Stuffing (1pm at Gazpacho’s)


The classiest of all the Snowdown events will take place on Saturday. That’s right, for the 17th year, the good people of Durango will have the chance to be voluntarily stuffed into a place that’s scarier than the Death Star. How many of your friends can fit inside? Stick around after for the hoola hoop contest. Both events are free.


Tip: Ewoks make better teammates than wookies.




Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tourney (12:30pm at Moe’s Lounge)


So you’re a rotten gambler who may have won the Millennium Falcon on a bet and you want to prove for once and for all that you have the best poker face in the Galaxy. Great. Come to Moe’s and put your money where your mouth is. Gamblers, card sharks and droids are all welcome in this cash game. Limited to 40 participants. Free to enter.


Tip: Don’t cheat. There might be a blaster under the table aimed at you.


Snowdown is one of the greatest events on the Durango calendar each year. C’mon down and have a spacetastic time. Dress appropriately for the weather and remember to stay hydrated, no matter what events you’re participating in or watching.


Don’t forget, some Snowdown events have minor inherent danger. If you end up facing the business end of a blaster, fall off an ill-tempered bull, choke while trying to inhale your 20th oyster or find yourself in one of Jaba’s the Hutt’s jail cells, make sure you call Jordon Harlan, an attorney who specializes in southern Colorado personal injury, as well as both space and Earth law. He’ll be there to give you a hand and keep you away from the Dark Side of the Force.


For a complete list of events along with times, please check out snowdown.org

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