WinterFest’s Penguin Plunge nets more than $8,600 for nonprofits


By Mary Jo Coulehan

Special to The SUN

The weather was almost perfect for a fabulous WinterFest weekend. The Saturday morning balloon launch was thwarted by a heavy fog, so flying was not possible — at least in the morning. The pilots rallied and nine balloons flew on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Sunday’s launch, however, was picture perfect and 19 balloons took to the skies with the snow-capped mountains in the background. Thanks to all our pilots — one as far as from Texas — that participated in the WinterFest Balloon Rally.

The Penguin Plunge this year netted more than $8,600 for various nonprofit organizations. Those organizations included Chimney Rock, Axis Health Systems raising money for Vets 4 Vets, the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Rise Above Violence, Pagosa Youth Soccer, Do It 4 the Love, the Veterans Memorial Park, DUST2 and the San Juan Basin Area on Aging.

The winner of the most money raised was the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs with Chimney Rock coming in a close second. The most money raised by an individual went to Matty Warren with Pagosa Youth Soccer. The best costumed plungers went to Axis Health Systems for Vets 4 Vets. The water temperature was a little warmer this year at 34 degrees.

The Sledz on Rez had 28 very creative sleds. One of the highlights was having targeted music played to the design of the sled. Thanks to Tyler Fry for doing the majority of this work.

The Pagosa Skis and Saddles Skijoring event was definitely a hit and was well attended. Those who had never seen this event were blown away by the fast-paced crazy course that participants had to compete in. We hope to see this event continue with WinterFest in the years to come. Please check the paper for more results from all the events.

WinterFest, as with all the other events, would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Please check out the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce’s ad next week in The SUN for all those that participated.