The best part about Snowdown is, well, that there are so many parts. Over 154 events, to be exact. That guarantees there is something for everyone – families, kids, dogs and cats included.
There are so many things that make Snowdown special. That this year marks 40 (!) years of fun and frivolity stands out. Forty years of Snowdown could not happen without a tireless board of directors, coordinating committee and crew of hundreds of volunteers carrying on the tradition from year to year – and generally carrying on.
That’s the point. This mid-winter community celebration is rooted in fun – and in commerce and tourism, too. Visitors, inevitably, stumble into Snowdown and sometimes don’t quite know what to think of their choice of vacation spot. But most, coaxed by friendly residents, join in the play too.
This year’s theme – A Black Tie Affair – makes that easier than some others years past. In fact, our whole community has the opportunity to shed its 30-year old reputation (pronounced by USA Today in 1988) as the “least fashion-conscious” city in America. Marlene Gebhardt, Snowdown Event Coordinator, said, “I am excited to see people who have never dressed formally before do so – at least for the weekend.”
Sadly, this year, two notably dedicated volunteers are missing – though only in body.
Charlie Siegele, 20-year Snowdown board member and friend to many, passed away in December (A celebration of his life will be held on May 27, at the Junction Creek Group Picnic Area). And Terry Fiedler, Snowdown’s first coordinator, 30-year board member, Follies producer and Light Parade coordinator, is living with Alzheimer’s Disease near his family in Philadelphia.
To help defray some of the costs of Terry’s medical care, and to give back to the man who gave so much of his life’s energy to this community, Snowdown and Terry’s family are holding a silent auction of historical Snowdown memorabilia at the Durango Welcome Center through Sunday. All proceeds will go directly to Terry’s care. Items can be viewed at the center or at snowdown.org.
There was a time years ago when everyone went skiing at Purgatory on Snowdown Sunday. This year, the resort has renewed its commitment to the celebration as a host of the light parade (Durango’s best parade), and by offering a specially-priced Local’s Benefit Day, complete with a Big Airbag trick competition, black tie costume contest (for kids too), an ice cream social (for the 12-and-under set) and food and beverage specials. Purchase discount tickets 48 hours in advance at skipurg.com.
Siegele Street, named for Charlie, a life-long skier and outdoorsman who spent his early days working at Purgatory, is open. Take a run for Charlie and Terry and think about all the fun you have had at Snowdown thanks to them.