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Snowdown, Durango: The Cure For Cabin Fever

Snowdown Returning To Durango In 2022

For over 40 years, Durango has made the most of winter’s short days and long nights with a celebration of fun and frivolity: Snowdown. For its 43rd year, Snowdown Durango is making a big comeback after the pandemic cancelled its 2021 event. The 2022 theme is Magical & Mystical, allowing for your creativity to shine through.

snowdown in durango

History of Snowdown

Durango’s Snowdown was originally founded in 1979 as an attempt to bring something fun, bright and festive to Colorado’s long winter. It has since grow into one of the largest annual seasonal celebrations in the state. Each year’s event has its own theme, ranging from classics like An Old West Snowdown to the outlandish Intergalactic Snowdown.

snowdown durango

Snowdown Events

And while the theme changes annually, many of the festival’s events remain the same and are part of Snowdown’s lasting legacy. More than 100 events are jam packed into this 5-day event and everything from the annual Parade of Lights down Main Avenue to adults-only fashion shows to winter sporting contests to beer dunks are on the agenda. Many local businesses get in on the Snowdown action and you’ll find that the annual celebration expands around town.


2022 Event Lineup

Wednesday

Wed, Jan 26: The Gathering Tournament at Joel's Bar starting at 11:00 am. Bar tab prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Wed, Jan 26 - Fri, Jan 28: Snowdown Scavenger Hunt Sign Up at The Billy Goat Saloon from 12:00 noon - 8:00 pm. Scour the country and find as many of the 100 items you can. Adults only.

Wed, Jan 26: Keg Cap and Frisbee Golf at the Balcony Bar & Grill at 2:00 pm. Test your mastery at using keg caps as frisbees! Three chances with a prize for each win. You’ll be tossing keg caps as frisbees into a goal. Costumes bring good luck! Adults only.

Wed, Jan 26: Annual Snowdown Bartenders Contest at Starlight Lounge at 4:00 pm. The official Snowdown 2022 Cocktail is chosen during this traditional event. Now in its 43rd year since this celebration started! All cocktails will be judged on presentation and taste. You don’t have to be a bartender to enter, but you must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Wizardly Lego Footslog at the 11th Street Station starting at 4:00 pm. Compete in a timed trial race to prove who has the strongest foot in all the land! All you wizards and magicians will race/walk/crawl across a medley of lego pieces, barefoot for the chance to win prizes! Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Scotch Doubles Billiards at The Garage Billiards & Music Hall at 6:00 pm. Teams of two will play head-to-head in this double elimination 8-ball tournament alternating shots after every made ball. Cash prizes will be awarded. MUST be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Magical Pinball Tournament at The Garage Billiards & Music Hall at 6:00 pm. This is an official sanctioned International Pinball Flipper Association Pinball Tournament. All player levels welcome.

Wed, Jan 26 - Thurs, Jan 27: Magical Musical Mystery Tour at Fur Trappers Steakhouse and Bar at 6:00 pm. This is Snowdown's oldest music trivia contest. From Top 40 hits and heavy metal to classic Broadway show tunes. Finals will be helf on Thursday. Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Ping Pong Tournament at Starlight Lounge at 6:00 pm. A sleight of hand, a bit of trickery and a talisman in your pocket might give you a bit of power, MAGIC POWER! Bring your cosmic self to the Starlight and play ping pong! Single elimination, regulation ping pong. Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Bedazzled Butt Darts at 11th Street Station at 7:00 pm. A warped Snowdown event based on the classic party game "Quarters." Teams of 4 will compete for the coveted Golden Ass Trophy! Limited to 12 teams battling tournament style! Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: The Mysto Really Big Magic Show at the Animas City Theatre at 7:30 pm. Mysto the Magi will take you on a vaudeville journey with little play-lets, mystery, secrets messages, and group participation in a full 90-minute show with lots of fun, laughter, and illusion. Doors open at 6:30 PM, Show at 7:30 PM. All Ages - from 3 to 93!

Wed, Jan 26: Sports Trivia at Cuckoo's Chicken House at 7:30 pm. How many dimples does the average golf ball have? 336! Test your sports knowledge at Durango's home for sports! Teams up to 6 people. Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Lip Sync Contenst at El Rancho Tavern at 8:00 pm. Give some lip service to this lip sync contest and bewitch the audience with your dazzling performance! Solo or Group Acts, judging based on Best Performance and Crowd Favorite! Dance Party to follow! Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: 43rd Annual Snowdown Jokedown at Derailed Pour House at 9:00 pm. Why did the unicorn cross the road? Because it wanted to see its neighbors! An annual tradition for 43 years in this same location begins with 3-minute best stand-up comedy or best joke telling for cash prizes and fabulous trophies! Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Klackers Tournament at Derailed Pour House at 9:00 pm. Abracadabra, clickety-clack, Klackers, Klackers for all you enchanters! See what we did there? Must be 21+.

Wed, Jan 26: Snowdown Throwdown DJ/MC Battle at Derailed Pour House at 10:30 pm. Are you the best DJ? Are you the best MC? Join this contest to see who is the most fantastical in Durango! Must be 21+.


Thursday

Thu, Jan 27: Hogwarts House Potion Contests at the Joel's Bar starting at 11:00 am. Come on down and show us your best margarita recipe. Bring in the magical ingredients that we wouldn't have and we'll provide the alcohol. This will be a two-part event. Come in between 11 AM to 4 PM and conjure up your cocktail. Must be 21+.

Thu, Jan 27: Wheel Derby at The Balcony Bar & Grill starting at 2:00 pm. No magic tricks or hocus pocus. Each contestant does a timed lap around the balcony on a Big Wheel! Must be 18+.

Thu, Jan 27: Hot Wing Eating Contest at Animas City Theatre starting at 4:00 pm. Hosted by Cuckoo's Chicken House. Hot wings, and we mean HOT! Can you handle the heat without melting??? Or is the heat just an illusion??? Drop by Cuckoo’s for a full set of rules and to sign up as early as Jan 19. Limited to first 20 entries. Must be 18+.

Thu, Jan 27: Name That Tune at 8th Avenue Tavern at 4:00 pm. Snippets of songs will be played for participants. The goal is to write the name of the song and the artist of said song after 2-10 seconds of song play. Every fourth song or so participants will be asked to also include the year the song came out. Each correct answer gets you one point. Most points by the end wins! You can play alone or with a group. Please no answer sharing and no use of phones to retrieve answers! Unless you are clairvoyant or the answer appears in an apparition, you are on your own. Let’s listen to some music! Must be 21+.

Thu, Jan 27: Rock, Paper, Scissors at Starlight Lounge at 4:00 pm. Also known as Rochambeau which has a nice superstitious ring to it. Must be 21+.

Thu, Jan 27: Snowdown Jr King and Queen Contest at Best Western Rio Grande at 4:30 pm.. This is one for the 7-to-10-year-olds from Durango grade schools! Winning royalty will ride in the Snowdown Light Parade Friday night! All ages are welcome to attend the final selection of Snowdown's Junior King and Queen competition at the Best Western Rio Grande Inn to cheer for their schools' selection.

Thu, Jan 27: 30th Annual La Plata Open Space Conservancy's Craft Spirits & Wine Tasting at Outdoorsy - 934 Main at 4:30 pm. Hosted by La Plata Open Space Conservancy. Join La Plata Open Space Conservancy for a magical night celebrating 30 years! This Snowdown tradition features a silent auction, delicious food, wine and cocktail tastings, all to support our work to conserve land, water and your Southwest Colorado way of life. Take a look into your Crystal Ball to see what a wonderful difference we can make in this area’s future! Tickets and more details can be found at www.lposc.org. Must be 21+.

Thu, Jan 27: Yule Ball Dance Party at Durango Dance starting at 5:00 pm. You’re cordially invited to a Magical Yule Ball. This family-friendly dance party event is open to Witches, Wizards and Muggles of all ages with rooms dedicated to each age group. Masks required.

Thu, Jan 27: Quidditch Tournament at The Hive starting at 5:00 pm. Find the snitch in a game of quidditch at The Hive downtown skate park at 1150 Main. All ages welcome to participate, but please establish teams of 3 and register prior to event! Keep all Dementors at bay!

Thu, Jan 27: Boozin' Beacons at Eolus starting at 5:00 pm. This a rollicking collision of libations and life-saving skills incorporating teamwork, knowledge of the downtown bar scene and skills with Avalanche Beacons. Teams are sent out across Durango. Games begin at Eolus where all teams are to return by 7 PM. Proceeds benefit Friends of the San Juans and Snowdown! Limited to 10 teams of 3-4 people. BYO Beacon and camera phone. Must be 21+.

Thu, Jan 27: Giant Jenga at Starlight Lounge starting at 5:30 pm. Just like tabletop Jenga, but Hagrid style! Must be 21+.

Thu, Jan 27: Magical Mystery Mocktail Tour at The Hive starting at 5:30 pm. A non-alcoholic pub crawl celebrating local mocktails and alcohol-free menus. Begin the tour at The Hive where you will collect your drink tokens and embark on the adventure. Journey through downtown Durango and visit 11th Street Station, El Moro and Durango Coffee Company before returning to The Hive for an afterparty with food provided by Sage Farm Fresh Eats, live music from Desert Child & prizes beginning at 8 PM. All beverages, food and entertainment are included with your entry fee but do bring some extra cash to tip your servers! Must be 18+ for the event. The after party will be open to all ages. Guaranteed to be a mesmerizingly good time!

Thu, Jan 27: Snowdown Pinball Tournament at J Bo's Pizza & Ribs starting at 6:00 pm. This is an official sanctioned International Pinball Flipper Association Pinball Tournament. All player levels welcome.

Thu, Jan 27: Dodgeball at Durango Recreation Center starting at 6:00 pm. This all-pure-natural adrenaline event also increases dopamine levels naturally and raises money for awesome after-school, outdoor adventure positive youth development programs in Ignacio, and staffed by real wizards. The youth are the referees, so treat 'em with respect. Each team consists of 6 members, including at least 2 women. Must be 16+. Spectators of all ages welcome!

Thurs, Jan 27: Beer Pong at The Garage Billiards & Music Hall at 6:00 pm. Teams of two will square off in this double elimination tournament played with traditional beer pong rules. This is a 64-team bracket and teams should sign up early, this event fills up! Must be 21+.

Thurs, Jan 27: Tallywhacker at Carver Brewing Company at 6:00 pm. Bring your razzle and your dazzle. This hilarious river game will have your belly laughing and your hips swinging! Let us judge your Tallywhacker proficiency with our brew pub version. No outside food or drink please. Must be 18+.

Thurs, Jan 27: Science is Magic Trivia Night at Powerhouse Science Center at 6:30 pm. Science is magic!!! Join us at The Powerhouse for four rounds of trivia questions, always including a science round and music round. Teams of five eligible for prizes. All ages welcome.

Thurs, Jan 27: Snow Job Blow Job at Starlight Lounge at 7:00 pm. The 1st person to blow an object across a table using a straw wins. No magic spells. No supernatural powers. Must be 21+.

Thurs, Jan 27: Pick Up Line Contest at Animas City Theatre at 8:00 pm. Do you have your sights set on a sexy sorcerer? Do you have a good one liner or two you think will increase your chances of getting lucky? Test your best pickup lines before a live audience! A panel of knowledgeable judges will determine if you’ve got what it takes to seal the deal. Must be 21+.

Thurs, Jan 27: Drag Race & Fashion Show at El Rancho Tavern at 8:00 pm. Come strut your stuff and dress in your most bewitching Queen or King of the Drag! Join us at the El Rancho Tavern with Dance Party to follow! Must be 21+.

Thurs, Jan 27: Flippity Floppity Cup at Starlight Lounge at 8:30 pm. Flip cups over on to its bottom. Merlin and David Copperfield are disqualified! Must be 21+.

Thurs, Jan 27: Snowdown Getdown Dance Party at Starlight Lounge at 20:00 pm. Winner of the DJ battle from the night before plays. Must be 21+.

Thu, Jan 27: Karaoke Competition at 8th Avenue Tavern at 10:00 pm. Competitors will be scored on their vocal skills, their knowledge of the song and their presentation of the performance. Highest score wins! There will be a sing-off to settle any ties. Come in and sing your enchanted hearts out! Must be 21+.


Friday

Fri, Jan 28: ACW Knights Armored Combat at Steamworks Brewing Company starting at 12:00 noon. Real steel armored combat between ACW insured fighters! The Armored Combat Worldwide (ACW) is a sports league that organizes competitive matches between medieval armored combat teams. Catch this unique spectacle for their first time in Durango!

Fri, Jan 28: Snowdown Senior Bingo at La Plata County Senior Center at 1:00 pm. This is a great opportunity to check out your local marvelously magical La Plata County Senior Center! Did you know the Senior Center offers Zumba, Line dancing, TOPS, a library, a thrift store, a computer room and lots of other activities! There are so many resources for you sorcerous seniors. Come play with us! Must be 60+.

Fri, Jan 28: Kan Jam at Balcony Bar & Grill at 1:00 pm. Bring all your magic powers into play to throw a fantasy frisbee into a charmed can. Must sign up as a team and be 18+.

Fri, Jan 28: Kids Coloring Contest in the Kroegers Ace Hardware parking lot from 2:00 pm. Come conjure crayon magic by coloring unicorns, dragons or your own magical creations! The contest will be divided into three age groups; (1-5 years old, 6-10 years old, 11-15 years old). The wizarding winner in each group will receive a $100 toy shopping spree ($100 Ace gift card)!

Fri, Jan 28: Super Sorcerously Sexy Car Wash at the 11th Street Station at 2:00 pm. Your job is to shine and sparkle while you sparkle and shine! Use your magic and put us under a spell with your sexy wizardly or witchy ensemble, getting all soapy and sudsy while washing a classic car for one minute. Must be 21+.

Fri, Jan 28: Drink Up Relay at the Fired Up Pizzeria at 3:00 pm. Bring your Team of 4 People to play in Drinking Relay Games and show your skills! Teams will participate in different games challenging their speed, smarts, and sorcery, making their way through a bracket to see who ends up on top! All four players must participate in every game. Space is limited! Teams MUST be signed up by 2 PM the day of the event. Event Entry is FREE but participants pay for beer pitchers. Must be 21+.

Fri, Jan 28: Button Making at the Durango Public Library at 3:30 pm. Dream up some extra enchanted bling before the parade! Join us to make your very own magical, mystical button. All ages welcome.

Fri, Jan 28: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Science at the Powerhouse Science Center at 3:30 pm. Dress up as your favorite witch or wizard and take a trip to Hogwarts with your family! Let the “sorting hat” choose which house you belong to, decorate your wand for the light parade and find the science behind magic at this all-ages event. FREE pizza and snacks for all attendees! All ages welcome.

Fri, Jan 28: Chili Cook Off at the Snowdown Space at 965 Main from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. Be the Magician in your group and score early tickets! You can avoid long lines standing in the bitter cold waiting and wanting and smelling deliciousness with the commoners that didn’t think to purchase early. No Siri Bob! My crystal ball tells me that will NOT be you! You are magical, you are a magician, you bought your tickets early! THEN you went to the Snowdown Light Parade, where you confidently patted your left pocket, Chili, yes…I’m ready for you like a tortilla is ready for cheese. Like a horn to a unicorn, like the ocean to the sea…oh, I’m ready for you Masters of the Chili cauldrons! I bought my tickets early. All is well in the land.

Fri, Jan 28: Carpet Ride at the Starlight Lounge at 5:00 pm. Calling all Aladdin’s! Come with us and take a Magic Carpet ride! Sit on a magic carpet and scoot or fly across the floor to the finish line. Must be 21+.

Fri, Jan 28: Snowdown Light Parade at the Starlight Lounge at 6:00 pm. Hosted by Purgatory Resort. Join the Magical Mystical beings on the streets for the SNOWDOWN Light Parade. It’s Durango’s only nighttime parade where light-bedecked floats create a dazzling delight in Durango’s most spectacular and entertaining procession along Main Avenue. Miracles will abound while wizards, witches, fairies, magicians and all things mystical show their supernatural creativity on lighted floats. Floats compete for trophies in 10 divisions with special emphasis on lights and theme.


Saturday

Sat, Jan 29: Bring Your Partner Foosball at The Garage Billiards & Music Hall at 9:30 am. Who needs outdoor sports in the middle of winter when we can play in the comfort of a bar where there’s beer. This is the only foosball tournament and it’s bring your own partner. 32 teams will compete, double elimination until the final team wins! Must be 21+.

Sat, Jan 29: Snowdown Kids Snow Games at Folsom Park at 10:00 am. This super silly SNOWDOWN event is now entertaining a second generation of spirited kiddos! No magic tricks here, just a magical time of fun games! This one is for the whimsical children from 3 years old up to 5th graders!

Sat, Jan 29: 9 Ball Tournament at The Garage Billiards & Music Hall at 10:00 am. If you’re a billiards fanatic looking for a challenge, look no further! Test your supernatural skills in this riveting game of classic billiards. It may take some stardust to be the 9 ball wizard! Now in it’s 25th year! Double elimination 64 player bracket.

Sat, Jan 29: Cornhole Tournament at the Durango Legion at 1:00 pm. Bring your glittery self to this brilliant game. Cornhole (aka bags, sack toss, or bean bag toss) is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing 16 ounce bags of corn kernels at a raised platform (board) with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the board scores 1 point. Play continues until a team or player reaches or exceeds the score of 21.

Sat, Jan 29: Chili Cook Off at the La Plata County Fairgrounds from 12:00 noon to 2 pm. Calling all alchemists! Time to dust off that cauldron for the annual chili cook off. Bring your hunger and your sense of adventure to enjoy samples of red and green chili, salsas and vegetarian chili.

Sat, Jan 29: Outlaw Josie Pete's Golf Tournament at the Main Mall Commons from 12:00 noon. Each hole is located in a different downtown establishment. If your entry has been chosen, meet at 11:30 AM at The Main Mall, wearing your best magical mystical attire. Bring your own putter and golf ball.

Sat, Jan 29: How Well Do You Know Y(our) Wine? at the Four Leaves Winery from 12:00 noon to 7 pm. Come in anytime between 12 Noon and 7 PM and receive 4 samples of wine. If you can correctly identify 3 of the 4 samples using our description menu, you win a coupon for a FREE glass of wine. If you can correctly identify all 4, you will win a FREE bottle of wine! Must be 21+.

Sat, Jan 29: Bucket Beer Pong at the Starlight Lounge at 3:30 pm. It’s beer dribbling at it finest! Traditional beer pong with a magical twist using buckets and basketballs.

Sat, Jan 29: Nintendo 64 Mario Kart at the Starlight Lounge at 6:00 pm. Use those tricky gaming skills that you have spent far too long perfecting. This is video gaming at it’s finest. Must be 21+.

Sat, Jan 29: Best Chest in the West at the Starlight Lounge at 9:30 pm. Guys and gals! If you’re chest-worthy and want to ‘rack’ up some prizes, hit us with your best shot and show us what you’ve got! Best chest wins, man or woman. Must be 21+.


Sunday

Sun, Jan 30: Church Mystics at First Presbyterian Church of Durango starting at 10 am. Come join us for a worship service focusing on the mystical tradition. We’ll journey through a contemplative worship service, and afterward have conversation over coffee on the Christian Mystic Tradition. Rev. Beau Smith is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Spiritual Direction and Formation with an emphasis on the contemplative and mystic tradition and would love to share some of that journey with you! All ages welcome.

Sun, Jan 30: Magic 8 Ball Billiards Tournament at The Garage Billiards & Music Hall at 10 am. Is that a magic wand in your hand or a pool cue? Double elimination tournament with up to 32 magical mystical players! Come see if the 8 ball is in your favor. Must be 21+.


Snowdown: What You Need to Know

Winter in Colorado is a long, dark time. Many days you’ll find the sun hiding behind the mountains by midafternoon. Snowdown is a bright spot during the dark winter for Durango. Planning a trip to Durango during Snowdown means bracing yourself for a party of epic proportions. Here are a few things you need to know about Snowdown in Durango:

Who: Snowdown is planned and hosted each year by a non-profit committee and a board of nine directors. Many Durango businesses get in on the fun and host their own events, too. While many of Snowdown’s events involve drinking and adult humor, there are many family friendly events and activities throughout the event as well.

What: Durango has been hosting a Snowdown celebration each winter for over 40 years. More than 100 events and activities are fit into a 5-day window. Beard growing contests, joke off, hot wing eating contest, beer plunge, outhouse stuffing and a light parade are all on the agenda.

When: This 5-day festival takes place each winter, usually during the last week in January. Snowdown 2022 will be from January 26th to January 30th.

Where: Durango, Colorado, tucked away in the Four Corners, is home to Snowdown. The festival spreads across town, with many local businesses hosting celebrations and events.

The theme for Snowdown 2022 is Magical & Mystical. For more information or to learn more, click over to the event page.

Planning to attend the upcoming event? Check out our selection of the best Durango hotels or Durango cabin rentals to start planning your trip.

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