Umm, I’ve never been to Snowdown, so why should I go?

by Lindsay Mattison

I’ve lived here for a few years, and I’ve never made it out for Snowdown. I’m not trying to be a buzz kill, but part of me just doesn’t get it and another part of me simply doesn’t like dressing up. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about the drinking holidays, but I always skip Halloween because of that whole mandatory costume rule. Which isn’t to say I’ll never change my mind; when iPods first came out, I was vocally 100 percent anti-Apple. Today, almost everything I own is branded with that fruit. But as of this moment, costumes just aren’t my jam.

Here’s the thing, though. There are countless events that sound fun, and a tiny part of my heart really wants to go. So this year, instead of focusing on the one objection that fuels my antisocial, introverted desire to stay at home with the blinds shut and the lights off, I decided to change my perspective. I met up with my good friend and Durango native, Ashley Little, to try to understand this wacky party week in the hopes that she could convince me to show up.

She summed it up in one concise sentence: We Durangoans love to Durango. And, it’s true. Porta potty stuffing, waiter and waitress races, canine fashion shows, butt darts…an entire town gets together and does this stuff? Yes, and they do it in style, dressed up in ridiculous costumes while simultaneously bundling up for the frigid cold. It’s this weird, middle of winter thing that only this town does, and people drop everything to turn Durango into a giant party. There might be a snowstorm, and you might have to work tomorrow, but you better believe that a bunch of drunk adults are gonna put on skits for other drunk adults anyway. From the outside, it might seem weird, but everyone is loving life.

And that’s the best part: the fun. Without Snowdown, you might die sad and alone in the snow, but instead you have an excuse to go out and do stuff for no reason. Snowdown is the best kind of motivation to leave your house in the cold dead of winter, and no one is going to skip it, even if there’s a blizzard. Sure, they may ditch their planned costume in lieu of a pair of ’80s snow pants, tacking a pair of googly eyes onto their forehead, sticking pipe cleaners in their hair, and calling it good. The costume is irrelevant; it’s about being there no matter what.

I started to understand why reasonably sane people act like first-year college students in the middle of the week. Why a place with small town vibes turns into full-on Las Vegas for an entire week. It was all about community and supporting each other. Go out, spend money, see your friends, soak in the best people-watching experience of your life, and give everyone something to talk about for the next year.

I was pretty well convinced, but I wanted to test the whole community thing, so I took to the Internet. On my favorite Durango Facebook group, I posted, “Hi Durango! I’ve lived here for a few years now, but have never made it to Snowdown. Convince me to go!” I was honestly expecting a decent amount of hate. And I did get some of those responses, telling me if I have to be convinced I shouldn’t even go. I was surprised by the overwhelming amount of positive feedback. People enthusiastically shared their favorite events and memories with a perfect stranger who admitted she’s not even from here. It felt good and inclusive, restoring my faith in humanity and this beautiful community we live in. I was convinced…but it all comes back to that damn costume.

Is it a deal breaker? I mean, I know the drunkest people at the bar are going to be the ones playing golf and no one cares what I wear, but I still want to know if I can show up without a costume and not get ridiculed. Only time will tell, because while I’m okay with eating crow on the whole “I hate dressing up” thing, it ain’t gonna happen that quickly.

So, if you see me out this week, say hey and give me shit. I’m stoked to be a part of this crazy, weird town.

Lindsay Mattison


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