WinterFest begins with the Chilly Bowl

SUN Columnist

WinterFest activities are just one week away and the festivities are ready to heat up. With chili competitions, live music and athletic activities, the 2013 WinterFest weekend is ready to roll.

This year’s festivities kick off with the inaugural WinterFest Chilly Bowl contest on Thursday, Feb. 7, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and the Ross Aragon Community Center. There will be chili categories for red, green, and vegetarian chili, posole, “other” and cornbread. There is a $5 fee for each entry.

We already have quite a few chili entries from some of Pagosa’s best-known restaurants and chefs and from just plain good cooks. There is still time to get your chili creation entered into the contest. Entrants can be an individual or a business. Attendees will be able to vote on the best overall chili and judges will select the best chili in each category, as well as the best cornbread. There will be cash prizes in each category and for the overall winner.

Registration forms can be obtained online at or from the Chamber. Also at the Chilly Bowl we’ll have a live concert, with Caitlin Cannon + the Artillery, from Durango. This dynamic trio will also be playing at the Outlaw Snowdown event. The Chilly Bowl will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 6:30. There will be a cash bar and attendees will be kept nice and warm inside the body and out — no need to worry about the weather. Tickets for the Chilly Bowl are $25 and this includes unlimited chili tasting, the concert and cash bar. The Chilly Bowl profits will be donated to local food banks.

Also, on the night of the Feb. 7, card players can enter the Cabin Fever Cribbage Tournament. There are a limited number of seats, so enter now. The entry fee is $10 and if you wish to play and partake of the Chilly Bowl, tickets are $30 for the combo. Tickets can be purchased online or are available at the Chamber of Commerce and the Ross Aragon Community Center. Registration for the Cribbage Tournament is at the Chamber or at the center on the night of the event. Help us start this annual event in style and help out our local food banks.

WinterFest races

There will be two days of winter races of all kinds and at all levels on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9-10. The golf course will be alive with Nordic skiers and snowshoers Saturday as the Nordic races begin and the Snowman Stomp Snowshoe Romp takes place. The Saturday activities start with distance races, including skate ski, classic ski and kid’s races. The Snowshoe Romp begins at 11 a.m. at the Pagosa Golf Course. There will be races for fast and slow snowshoers, with the adult loop being 1.5 miles. Nordic racers can participate in the 5km race at 10 a.m. then snowshoe at 11:15. Registration forms for the Snowman Stomp are available online at and the event is hosted by Step Outdoors. The Eagle Mountain Red Ryder BB gun biathlon will be held Sunday at the golf course. These events are fun to participate in and exciting to watch. Visit for more information about the Nordic races.

If cross-country skiing isn’t your thing, bring the family to the Visitor Center and participate in the annual Snow Sculpting Contest on Saturday, Feb. 9. Previous sculptures have included wildly-decorated snowmen and snow families, Sponge Bob Square Pants, dragons, skiers, turtles, igloos and numerous other creations. This is a wonderful activity for the family, especially if you have never really experienced the snow and want to get out and play. The artisans are creative and the designs colorful. You can bring your own tools, and some tools will be provided. The Snow Sculpting Contest begins at 10 a.m. Registration forms are available at the Chamber and online at

At 2 p.m., head to Reservoir Hill to watch the ever entertaining “Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race.” The twist to this race is that all sleds must be modified. You can use sledding equipment such as skis, tubes or snowboards, but each entry must be modified to create a unique sled apparatus. No “stand-alone” sleds or tubes will be allowed in the race, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Great fun will be had by all, and prizes will be awarded. Turn in your sculpting or sled registration forms now by downloading the form off the Chamber website or pick up applications at the office.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, Feb. 8 -9, the second Outlaw Snowdown concert will take place at the athletic field in Town Park. This year’s performers will culminate with Shooter Jennings and other acts such as Mickey and the Motorcars and Lydia Loveless. Caitlin Cannon + the Artillery will return for another performance on Friday after the Chilly Bowl performance on Thursday, Feb. 7. There will be food, beverages and lots of live, rockin’ music. Tickets are for sale at for weekend packages. Ski by day and howl at the moon by night!

The weekend festivities culminate Sunday, Feb. 10, with the fourth annual Penguin Plunge, benefitting various nonprofits in the community. Crazy and cold plungers will float down a short stretch of the San Juan River, over Davey’s Wave, beginning at noon. Don’t worry if you’re not plunging in the river; you can enjoy the Hot Toddy for the Body contest held along the Riverwalk beginning at 11 a.m. Toddy participants can purchase tasting tickets, stay warm and watch the festivities while the plungers take to 30 degree waters. If you would like to enter an award-winning hot beverage, registration forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce or on the website. Which restaurant or individual can produce the best-tasting hot toddy? Discounts for Hot Toddy ingredients are available at Plaza and Silver Dollar liquor stores in Pagosa. Check with the Chamber to obtain your discount coupons.

For more information on any of the activities occurring during the WinterFest Weekend, contact the Chamber. Don’t miss out on the fun, whether you are a participant or a spectator!


Tommy Spaulding wrote a book, “It’s Not Just Who You Know.” In it, he writes about networking and intentionally meeting people through direct engagements or social opportunities.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the Chamber will host the first in a series of three seminars dedicated to women. The first of these women’s conferences will be geared toward trying to handle “the overwhelm” that we often experience. Also of paramount importance are the “connections” you will make. When attending a conference, it is not always the seminar material that is most important, but the relationships that you form. People often underestimate these relationships and the impact they might have on your work or personal life. This three-part series will focus on both content and relationships. All women are invited to this three-hour conference to be held at The Springs Resort and Spa beginning at 4 p.m. There will be two speakers: Dr. Nicola St. Mary from Pura Vida Natural Healthcare in Durango and Pagosa’s own Puja Parsons from Growing Spaces. Come out and build some relationships while taking even baby steps on improving your lifestyle and work and health practices. Space is limited, so R.S.V.P. to the Chamber at 264-2360. Walk-ins will be welcome as long as space is available, and there will be a networking/social hour after the speakers. Even if you are working until 5 p.m., you can still come, hear one of the speakers and enjoy the social hour. The cost is only $7 and food and beverages will be provided at the social hour.


New chamber member Christa Laos will hold an open house and ribbon cutting on Monday, Feb. 11, from 5-7 p.m. Christa is located at 230 Boulder Drive in the Aspen Village Center. Come and experience Christa’s comfortable surroundings, see what massage services she offers and congratulate her on opening her new business.

We welcome our renewals this week: Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park; Lobo Outfitters; First Inn of Pagosa; The Hideout; and Our Savior Lutheran Church and school.

Don’t forget to get the family out this WinterFest season and register for one of the many activities happening around town Feb. 7-10.

This story was posted on January 31, 2013.