Using Skis Is So 20th Century
You could strap on two boards and point them downhill. Or you could do it with just one. You’ll get down the mountain that way, just like everyone else.
Try A Shovel
But what happens if you sit on your other winter companion, your trusty shovel, and slide downhill? All the skiers will stop and stare. They’ve never seen anything like it. Heck, you’ve never seen anything like it either.
Shovel racing is a lot like other sports in some ways. Besides getting down the mountain faster than anyone else, there are rollover crashes, spins, giant wipeouts, and other ways to earn style points. At least with the crowd. There’s just one rule – you need to be in contact with your shovel all the way down.
World Championship Shovel Racing At Angel Fire
The sport has gotten so big that New Mexico’s Angel Fire Ski Resort holds the World Championship Shovel Races in February. Men’s Journal calls it a World Championship you can win, and they’re right. Registration is open to anyone who brings a shovel and a helmet. For five bucks, you can spend Friday practicing. When you show up to race the next day, you even get the five bucks back. Then all you need is a lift ticket for ten bucks. If you don’t have a helmet or goggles, you can rent those too.
Besides wild crowd applause for wipeouts, there are also $3200 in cash prizes to win this year. So grab a shovel and come on down!
I didn’t race last year, but had a great time photographing competitors. Using my usual duo of 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms on two cameras, I caught some of the best action. It’s a little slower than downhill ski races or slalom / downhill mountain bike races, so positioning near the best lines in time to capture speeding racers is pretty easy. And the backdrop – the Wheeler Peak Wilderness and the Moreno Valley – is gorgeous.
Moreno Valley near Angel Fire