Now that snow is here, could you explain a perpetual Durango paradox? We live in arguably the fittest town in the fittest state in the nation. How is it that our citizens will brave the cold to commute to work on their fat bikes but they won’t lift a shovel to clear their sidewalks? Because it doesn’t involve a timing chip and bib, is shoveling not a legitimate “sport?” – Sign me, Snow-Clearing Endurance Athlete
Before digging into the issue of shoveling shirkers, let’s set the record straight. According to many surveys, Boulder – not Durango – is America’s most-fit town. Boulder is also annoying and unctuous.
Yeah, yeah. Action Line knows you went to school there and had a great time and all that. But Boulder manages to be sanctimonious and pretentious at the same time, just like Durango. No wonder we’re sister cities. And that gets to the heart of the issue. Snow removal is an unglamorous urban chore with limited appeal to “Puppies.”
We’re not talking about dogs.
“Puppies” is an acronym for Perpetually Under-Paid People Into Extreme Sports. It’s the hyperactive mountain town derivative of “Yuppies” (Young Urban Professionals).
Here’s how you can tell them apart:
Yuppies wear the latest Armani and drive new BMWs.Puppies wear dirty Patagonia fleece and drive beat-up Subarus with sticker-covered Thule boxes.Neither can abide shoveling snow.In the case of Durango Puppies, any snowfall prompts an immediate trip into the high San Juans for another epic adventure.
Everything is epic for Puppies. That includes free-trade coffee, yoga retreats and Red Rocks concerts. Thus, if we want Puppies to shovel snow, the task must be difficult, expensive and requiring technical equipment. In other words, epic.
Forget the basic plastic snow shovel from Kroeger’s for $17.99. Durango Puppies could break out their $179.99 BCA Shaxe Tech Shovel. It’s a backcountry dual-purpose tool that uses the same curved, fixed-length shaft handle for an ice axe and an avalanche shovel.
Being 10 times the price, the Shaxe Tech Shovel is therefore 10 times better. And its performance improves even more when wearing a North Face down jacket and Arc’teryx powder pants over a Polarmax wicking base layer.
But Puppies aren’t the only ones not shoveling snow. There are the local Trustafarians.
Trustafarians are a combination of trust-funder and Rastafarian. No all Puppies are Trustafarians, but they occasionally cross-pollenate.
The irony about Trustafarians is how they go to great expense and effort to appear poor and laid-back. In other words, disingenuously authentic.
Since Trustafarians trek in Costa Rica each winter, they’re not around to shovel snow. Besides, all the snow and ice will be melted by the time they get back, so what does it matter and who cares?
The city does. That’s why there is Article III, Section 21-36 to 38 of the Durango Municipal Code. “It shall be the duty of the owner, tenant and occupant of any premises abutting or adjoining any public sidewalk to remove all snow and ice from such sidewalk.”
So it doesn’t matter if you rent or own. It doesn’t matter if you are out of town. The code also has enforcement teeth. If you don’t remove frozen precipitation, the city will hire a contractor to do it and bill you, plus 25 bucks for having to deal with flakes.
If you see a disheveled unshoveled sidewalk, call the city’s code enforcement division at 375-4930. You can also report shoveling scofflaws at http://bit.ly/2ih9FAN.
We could also turn snow-snitching into a sport. Whoever reports the most shoveling violations could win a fabulous Sister City Prize Package consisting of a night in your old CU dorm, a string of Tibetan prayer flags and a recycled organic hemp Pearl Street shopping bag.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if your next epic adventure is a trip to Walmart to return those socks.