Hundreds of spectators and dare devils converged on the slopes of Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico this weekend, as competitors of all ages waxed up their snow shovels for the legendary Angel Fire Shovel Race Championships. The annual challenge is fairly simple. Competitors sit on the scoop of a standard aluminum snow shovel, handle pointed downhill, and then lift their hands and feet to allow gravity to take them for a ride. Each rider gets two shots to clock the fastest time down the front of the Angel Fire ski mountain. Top speeds regularly exceed 60 miles per hour.
“Shovel racing began as a simple contest here in the 1970’s when our lift operators would ride their shovels down the mountain at the end of their shifts,” explains Andy Whitacre, mountain operations, Angel Fire Resort. “It has since grown into a crazy competition on the mountain that includes speed suits, costumes and radar guns! No year is ever the same, as competitors always try and out do each other every season.”
The organized competition has been held for over 30 years at Angel Fire Resort, and racers are expected from all corners of the country. The event has even been featured by national news outlets including ESPN, ABC Sports, MTV and The Travel Channel. Shovel racing was also once a featured sport during the early years of the Winter X Games.
This year’s winners:
Overall Top Man: John Strader, Albuquerque: 13:07 seconds; 67.74 mph
Overall Top Woman: Paloma Gonzales, Angel Fire: 14:42 seconds; 61.40 mph
Children as young as age 6 participated in the “Little Scoop” race category.
This year the event also included a new category called “Women in Media.” 13 women from New Mexico TV and Radio stations competed for the fastest time. The race included KRQE Anchor, Jessica Garate, KRQE Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke, KOAT Anchor, Marisa Maez and radio host Erika Viking among others. The winner of the Women in Media Event was KOAT reporter Angela Brauer who won with a time of 15.49 seconds.