Whether or not the snow blows for Snowdown, it's sad that the 2009 version "In Da' Nile" won't have the snow sculpture contest. Still, we can play around in 11 new events and two changes of location this year.
The innovations range from the crass to the silly to one that could spawn a career and another that pays $500.
The big money prize is for "Roll Down Da' Nile," but you have to split the loot five ways. It's a bowling tournament and costs $13.50 to enter. If you haven't bowled on lanes that have bumpers so children can compete with adults, it's a revolution, the most fun that has entered the game in decades.
The tournament is at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Rolling Thunder Lanes at Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio. Sadly though, kids can't compete in this event. You have to be 21 to enter, as you do for many of the events. Others require at least 18.
Carol Taylor from the casino said it's the first Snowdown event at the new lanes. As of Monday, she had eight teams signed up, leaving room for seven more.
The competition that might open up a whole new avenue in life, a veritable "American Idol" for home brewers, is "Osiris's Homebrew Competition/Beer, Wine and Cheese Pairing" put on by Ska Brewing.
The event has two tracks. Enter the home-brewing competition, price $10, and the winner will have her or his recipe brewed in a local series batch and entered in the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am event. But you're too late to go for a wine and beer tasting paired with cheese - it's sold out. Ska's Dave Thibodeau will match cheeses with beer in competition with wine expert Leah Deane, who'll pair the cheeses with wine. It's 4 p.m. Saturday at Ska Headquarters, 225 Girard St., if you want to clamor at the door.
Moe's Starlight Lounge is the year's most innovative venue. Moe's is hosting two new events and one former Joel's event. The latter is "The Klackers Tournament" now at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Moe's, 937 Main Ave.
Rick Carney of Moe's said klackers is a dice game that's mostly luck. What little strategy there is, a new player can pick up immediately and stand a decent chance to win one of the three bar tabs: $75, $50 or $25.
Moe's also will hold a "Best Tattoo" contest at 6 p.m. Saturday. Prizes will be awarded for most beautiful body art and most regrettable tattoo, the one that now makes you cringe.
And Moe's will crown the Pharaoh of Rock for the first time in their "PS3 Rock Band Video Game Contest." Noisiest or otherwise most likely to be seen on a flaming barge to the afterlife will win the same three bar tabs.
Air guitarists also will score with a new event. Steamworks is holding "The Pharaohs of Air Guitar," free, at 5 p.m. Saturday with prizes for best "player," but no word yet on what prizes will be awarded. They're at 801 East Second Ave.
The Strater will stage "Jeopardy, Snowdown-Style" at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Diamond Belle Saloon, 699 Main Ave. Organizer Beth Roberts said she has six contestants, each of whom can have up to four lifelines. Winning answers will be awarded with toilet paper rather than money, starting with a single square for the easy questions.
The four winning teams need to use their tissue to drape a mummy who will parade through the hotel, being jeered and humiliated, and be judged on God knows what. The winners, however, will get a night at the hotel, a dinner and several lunches.
Even more soigné is the "Burp-off Contest" another Ska event at the brewer's headquarters, 225 Girard St., at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Men, women and couples will compete in two categories: burping loudest/longest and burping most creatively. There will be a prize for best costume, as well.
Jennifer McKigney of Ska said there's room for 15 contestants in each group and, so far, the couples category has been most popular. There's romance for you. Do you suppose Barack and Michelle enter couples burping contests?
The Durango Public Library will hold a stacking contest with "special cups designed just for speed stacking." The idea is to build a pyramid. This pointless pursuit is at 1 p.m. Saturday at 1900 East Third Ave. This is one of the few new events aimed at childrenLater Saturday, at 5 p.m., show your arm-wrestling prowess at the Wild Horse Saloon. Six weight classes are available for women and six for men. Entry fee is $10.
Just before that, at 4 p.m. Saturday, is the foosball tournament at El Rancho Tavern, 975 Main Ave. No sore arms here except from lifting pints. Contestants are encouraged to bring a partner. Entry is $15.
Karaoke night is coming at 8 p.m. Friday to Legends Lounge, 351 S. Camino del Rio. For $5 (loot to be used for cash prizes) you can howl like the dog god Anubis.
The Pine River Valley Bank raises the tone, if not the volume with its "Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyph Contest." Bring a hieroglyph about your life to the bank at 1701 N. Main Ave. on Wednesday. The art will be on show at the bank Thursday, and judging will be at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Lost one Snowdown event, maybe more, but gained eleven. Sounds like a winning year. Even the snow seems to be cooperating.