Chamber Announces ‘WinterFest 2018’ Results

Even thought there wasn’t much snow to contend with at this year’s WinterFest event, the participants and spectators came out in droves to have some fun and pretend like it was winter here in Pagosa. Nineteen hot air balloons came to fly for WinterFest gracing the skies and splashing and dashing in the lakes and river.

A record number of “plungers” braced the 38 degree water of the San Juan River on Saturday, February 3. Raising over $10,000 collectively for non-profit agencies in Archuleta County were: The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, The Pagosa Climbing Initiative, The Pagosa Springs Medical Center Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cornerstone Wrestling, the Four Corners Film Office, Special Olympics, The Chamber of Commerce, DUST 2, and the Pagosa Peak Charter School. The Pagosa Climbing Initiative won the penguin award for the most money raised and the Pagosa Springs Medical Center Foundation’s “Ice Ice Ladies” won the best costuming award. We congratulate Nick Tallent who now has the auspicious award of having plunged the most years – seven – and this year plunged for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Moving up to Reservoir Hill for the Sledz on Rez hosted by the Young Professionals of Pagosa Springs (YPOPS), the sledders dealt with less than perfect sledding conditions but spectators got to view some spectacular crashes. The Best Wreck clearly went to the Albuquerque Pilot Crew (Caryn Welz, Zerek Welz, and Jesse Zimmer). Caryn hit the mogul and cracked the sled in two. Luckily only a few bruises. The Best Overall sled went to birthday girl Kaylee Hensle in her birthday cake sled. The Best Team went to “Batman” sledder, Tucker Ford and the Bruce Young/Enthusiasm Award went to Audrey Stewart representing Visiting Angels who lit up the hill with her engaging smile and excitement. The Best Sportsmanship Award went to Bruce Young.

Also on Saturday, the Nordic Club Biathlon did have some snow up at Falls Creek and it was the youth participants that really made the day. DUST 2 held a bike demo and crepe extravaganza in Yamaguchi Park. There was no Fat Bike race this year but a steady crowd came out to try out the fat and suspension bikes and to partake of the delicious crepes. The weather was actually very conducive to riding around Yamaguchi Park. If you weren’t riding a bike, you could have been walking your dog on the River Walk in the Barkus Parade. Additional funds were raised for the Humane Society and participants strutted their Mardi Gras beads and decked out their pooches to vie for the Best Costumed Canine.

Thanks also goes to the Multipurpose Ice Rink for offering free skating to the public on Saturday evening. Due to logistical problems, the balloon glow originally scheduled for that evening was canceled. Hopefully though the public enjoyed the facilities and an evening of fun.

Who knows what winter will hold for Pagosa next year? But as always, snow or no, we will hold WinterFest activities. We could not produce this event without the support of our community, in particular our sponsors and lodgers. Many thanks to our title and event sponsors The Choke Cherry Tree, Dr. King Campbell DDS, and Selph’s Propane.


Mary Jo Coulehan

Mary Jo Coulehan is Executive Director of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, and also serves on a number of local and state boards.