WinterFest activities set for Jan. 20-22


By Mary Jo Coulehan | Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

With the holidays barely over, Pagosa is rolling into the new year with the first big event of the year — WinterFest. 

The WinterFest weekend will happen Jan. 20-22 with a plethora of winter-fun activities for the participant or the spectator. 

One of the highlights of the event is the hot air balloons, which will grace the sky on Saturday and Sunday mornings at approximately 8 a.m. Both days of launching will occur from the west side of town in the Pagosa Lakes area. Remember that launching depends upon the weather. Inclement weather means the balloons will not launch that day. 

That Saturday, Jan. 21, the day will be filled with activities. From 10 a.m. to late afternoon, the increasingly popular Skijoring will take place at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds. Skilled horseback riders and skiers or boarders will take to a course and vie for winning honors over a two-day period. There will be food, beverages, vendors and of course, all of the fast-paced activity for spectators to view and cheer on their favorite teams. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, also hosted by Skis and Saddles, will be the Skijor WinterFest concert with Float Like a Buffalo. Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased in advance from the website, 

Also on Saturday will be the popular Penguin Plunge, where volunteers float in the frigid San Juan River raising money for their favorite nonprofit organization. The event begins at 1 p.m. and spectators can line up along the Riverwalk across from the Visitor Center to watch the antics. You can also find an organization to pledge to by contacting the Chamber to see which organizations are scheduled to plunge. 

Following the Plunge, walk the short distance to Reservoir Hill and watch the Sledz on Rez event hosted by Build Pagosa. “Build it, Ride it, Wreck it” is the theme of this engaging event. Fast-paced yet filled with a few crashes, everyone cheers for these home-made, creative sleds. The race begins at 2:30 p.m. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the Pagosa Nordic Club will host two events. The BB Gun Biathlon will take place on Saturday in Yamaguchi Park beginning at 10 a.m. with a 16k competitive race followed by a 4k citizen’s race at 10:45 a.m. and a kid’s race at 11:45 a.m.. Racers shoot targets between skiing laps with BB guns that are provided. There is also an award for the best costume. 

On that Sunday, the Nordic Club will provide a Learn to Cross Country Ski morning for “never-evers,” beginners and intermediate skiers at Cloman Park. This event is very popular and space is limited; therefore, registration is encouraged by visiting Show up to learn by 9:45 a.m. on Jan. 22. 

WinterFest weekend is fun-filled and gets us locals out there participating and appreciating this wonderful winter season. Embrace the snow and cold, bundle up the kids and enjoy some winter activities. To get the best overview and connect to all the pertinent websites, visit Click on the penguin WinterFest graphic under Community and Chamber News. Mark your calendars.

Board of directors
voting open

It is important that our Chamber member businesses take just a few minutes to vote for incoming Chamber Board of Directors nominees. Each Chamber business is allowed one ballot per business and each ballot is allowed to vote for up to three nominees. 

The slate of candidates can be found from the Chamber’s homepage at and by clicking on the graphic in the “More in the News” section. This link allows you to vote and purchase tickets for the upcoming Chamber annual meeting, which will be held on Feb. 8. At this time, we will host a community conversation with town, county and the Main Street program leaders. This conversation will be followed by the community awards and a reception. 

Don’t miss out on this popular event by learning how new programs can affect your business and by honoring our community volunteer heroes. 

Community award

Speaking of heroes, please take a few minutes to nominate a person or organization for one of the following awards: Citizen, Volunteer, Small Business or Non-Profit of the Year. The nomination forms can be accessed through the Chamber website at and click on the Community Award graphic under “More in the News”. 

Please be as specific as possible. The less you say about a person or organization, the less the selection committee has to gauge that person or business’ contributions and achievements. Saying that they contribute a lot and are a great person doesn’t really help in the identification of how they really do contribute to the betterment of the community. 

Questions about nominating can be directed to Mary Jo Coulehan at the Chamber or by emailing 

Small businesses and non-profits are also encouraged to self-nominate, as who knows your organization better than you do? Then come out and celebrate all the nominees at the Chamber’s annual celebration on Feb. 8. We have much to be thankful for and many people to honor. Let’s take a few minutes to extend our thanks to those who give so much.