Ear to the ground

“Man, my boss is here, and I’m pretty sure he saw me with my pants down.”

– A participant in the Snowdown “High Five Contest” following his signature entry

Spurs and skis

Skiers can cowboy up in Silverton this weekend, as skijoring makes its long-awaited return to the region on Feb. 6 & 7.

In skijoring, a horseback rider with a skier in tow races straight down a 250-yard snowpacked course, in this case down historic Blair Street in downtown Silverton. The skier is required to go over three jumps and gather six rings before crossing the finish line. The fastest, cleanest ride wins, and blood, breaks and tears are not uncommon.

“This is a fast and furious event,” said Durango’s Rob Conaty, who is organizing the event. “It’s one of the wildest winter events ever devised. It’s where the Wild West meets the skier.”

Conaty said he hopes to see 20 professional skijoring teams ride into Silverton and that novices are invited to form their own teams. Entrants must have a rider, a skier and a horse to take part, and the novices are not required to hit the big jumps.  

“The pros will be flying 50 feet or so,” Conaty said. “The horses will reach speeds of 40 miles per hour and the skiers may be going as fast as 50.”

The competition takes off on Notorious Blair Street at 11 a.m. on Feb. 6 and 10 a.m. on Feb. 7. Pre-registration meets at the Brown Bear Café each day from 8 - 9 a.m.

The Chapsquatch

Freeheelers rejoice. If skinning uphill, oak brush and screaming downhill are your cup of tea, mark Feb. 5 & 21 on your calendar. Two separate uphill/downhill races step into the region in coming weeks.

The inaugural Chapman Challenge goes off this Fri., Feb. 5, at Chapman Ski Hill. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m. at the ice rink; the race begins with a mass start at 6:30 p.m.; and telemarkers, ATers and splitboarders of all abilities are welcome. Contact 946-6892 for more info.

On Feb. 21, the 3rd annual Sasquatch Uphill/Downhill returns to Ski Hesperus. Competitors will skin or snowshoe 700 vertical feet to the top of the hill before descending a designated run to the finish area, and creative costumes are highly encouraged.

Prizes will be awarded for best costume, best fall, first to the top and first to the bottom. Best of all, the entry fee is a mere 7 bucks and covers a community BBQ, beer, prizes and a bonfire. To tap your inner sasquatch either show up or visit www.skihesperus.com.




In this week's issue...

March 17, 2022
Critical condition

Lake Powell drops below threshold for the first time despite attempts to avoid it

March 17, 2022
Uphill climb

Purgatory Resort set for expansion but still faces hurdles

March 10, 2022
Mind, body & soul (... and not so much El Rancho)

New health care studio takes integrated approach to healing