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All out of whack with Snowdown’s absence

Without Snowdown to remind you to take down your Christmas lights this year, Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7, might be your next best opportunity.

Dear Action Line: With no Snowdown this year, how do we know when to take down our Christmas lights? – Pro Crazzinator

Dear Pro: Well, Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Inauguration Day could have been good deadlines for you, but you missed those.

And it would have been easier and less hazardous before we got all this beautiful, much-needed, but life-complicating snow. Some of those decorations may be stuck now until late February or March. Again, that’s your fault.

Perhaps a moment of silence is in order. If not for this pandemic, Snowdown would be in full swing right now, as you read this, and as I write this. Take a moment to reflect, if you will.

If Action Line still used a typewriter, the paper would be wet with tears, unusable. No Snowdown? Hasn’t happened since 1978, the year before it was born. Beginning in February 1979, there were 42 consecutive Snowdowns until organizers very reluctantly shut it down for 2021.

Good news is the Snowdown board continues to meet and plan for 2022. But for this year, absolutely no official events will be held – no firework, no nothing. The board didn’t want to do anything that would encourage people to gather and possibly spread the virus, said Chip Lile, president of the Snowdown board.

Quoting another board member, Lile said, “If we love our community, this is the right thing to do.”

But you need an answer to the question.

With no Snowdown, the next major holiday is Groundhog Day, which seems sort of apropos. Take down the lights, or wait another six weeks? But it’s on Tuesday, awkward for most working folk.

Then there’s the biggest American holiday of them all, of course, which is Super Bowl Sunday. That’s Feb. 7 this year. Game time is 4:30 p.m. MST, so you have most of the day to play and to take down Christmas lights. That work?

Dear Action Line: So, what number will be associated with the 2022 Snowdown? It can’t be called the 43rd annual. It could be called the 43rd Snowdown; that’s still pretty impressive. – A. Ego

Dear Ego: As is often the case, Action Line’s trifling question set wheels in motion.

“That’s the least of our worries,” Lile said, before coming to the realization that at some point he and the board actually would have to deal with this issue.

So there was some discussion at last week’s board meeting, and the logical answer was to “do something funny.” It has proven true, he noted, that one year of Snowdown takes about two years off your life.

For now, they’re still considering what number to put with 2022, but “whatever number we use,” Lile said, “there’ll be an asterisk.”

Dear Action Line: What’s up with the billboard on top of the mountain in Silverton you can view from the Columbine Lake Trail as well as parts of Highway 550? Same story as the Perins Peak microwave thing? – Actionloveable

Dear Loveable: Action Line feels a bit strange addressing a stranger as “loveable,” but that’s the format here.

This would be more fun to answer if this was some attempt to contact aliens, or there was some secret message on the billboards that you needed infrared goggles to read at night. Alas, we are “told” by “those who know” that these billboards are communication mechanisms.

“The ‘billboards’ that are visible on top of some of the San Juan Mountains are a part of the old system of relay board for transmitters like radio waves and old TV signals,” said DeAnne Gallegos, executive director of the Silverton Chamber of Commerce. They were used basically for bouncing off communications waves.

The billboards are on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land, and whether they’ll be removed eventually is unclear. Silverton, incidentally, after a long, agonizing fight, has fiber-optic cable as of December 2015, a big boon to many forms of communication. Which is great, unless you live there to get away from it all.

Yep, same deal with the “billboard” on the eastern prow of Perins Peak. Or is that actually a drive-in-movie theater screen? Hmm.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. By the way, it’s the 55th Super Bowl coming up, and if you’re like me, you have no idea who The Weeknd is. (Google it.)

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