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Beating winter cabin fever

Snowscape blessed with brilliant sun and 54 degree high
Tyler George, of Silverton, slaps the puck back to his teammates during a pick-up ice hockey game. Hockey games were part of Silverton’s Snowscape Winter Festival. Although temperatures were unseasonable warm, with a high in town of 54 degrees, the snow was abundant.

SILVERTON – One week after Durango blew off its steam and returned to normal, Silverton, our neighbor to the north, held their own snowy celebration.

And this festival actually had snow.

It’s called Snowscape Winter Festival, and it’s an economic boost for the many independently owned business and establishments making it through the winter months. Because while summer trains drop off hordes of tourists to shop and stroll through the Old West mining town, winter doesn’t see much of that.

“We’re trying to get a year-round economy going, so people can make a living in the winter and not just the summer,” said Snowscaper Keri Metzler. “It’s to get us out of those winter blues, get outside and enjoy the scenery and each other.”

Metzler was helping out with the best server contest at the foot of Kendall Mountain Ski Area, where folks in ski boots ran trays of drinks over obstacles, spilling their contents all over the place.

A woman in a bonnet shaped like a giant sunflower kept score.

Many of the surrounding San Juan peaks were neon white, and a blinding sun kept eyes squinted. Sunglasses were the norm. Everyone enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather, with the day’s high hitting 54.

Silverton Paramedic Laila Bryant was getting ready to hit the nearby ice rink for the constant hockey games at the base area.

“We’re getting after it,” she said, adding, “It brings a lot of people to town.”

Next to the ice, a serious game of horseshoes was going on. Over the weekend, there was a golf tournament, cardboard derby, shovel races, basketball games, a snowshoe race, a snowmobile parade, Christmas tree bonfire, face-painting and night skiing on Kendall Mountain.

“We have a lot of summer events, but this brings out people for a different time of year,” Bryant said.

The Silverton WhiteOut 10-hour Fat Bike race debut was a success, filling its 200-cyclist limit. The race stayed close to town, lapping though alleys and largely in view of townsfolk over its entire course.

Bryant skated out to the ice in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt – not your typical hockey gear for 9,300 feet.

“This is strange weather,” she said. “But it’s hard to complain about the lack of snow when it’s this beautiful.”


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