Wax up your shovels. Snow shovel racing will once again hit the slopes of Angel Fire, Feb. 6, 2010. The event gives any and all willing participants the opportunity to compete for cash and prizes by blazing down a groomed 1,200-plus foot snow track at speeds surpassing 60 miles per hour. They'll do it all via snow shovels.
Shovel racing at Angel Fire took a break in 2005 after 30 years of competition. The sport evolved from Angel Fire employee antics. The concept began in the early 1970s as lift operators sought a quick way back to the base area after a long day of work.
The concept spurred the first race in 1975 and became one of the world's most intriguing and bizarre winter events. It eventually morphed into "The World Shovel Racing Championships at Angel Fire," which featured racing on both standard production shovels, as well as elaborately conceived, Indy-car influenced, "modified" shovels. Shovel racing peaked with national sponsors, television coverage on many national news and international outlets, and an appearance by the top modified shovel racers at the first ESPN Winter X Games.
"Angel Fire Resort had to take a breather from this popular event due to concerns for safety with the modified shovel racers, some of which were starting to look like NASA rockets and topped speeds of 70 miles per hour," says John Burt, director of mountain operations for Angel Fire Resort. "We have found a way to make it work by getting back to the basics with just the old-school production shovels."
Children as young as six years of age can even participate - on the "Lil' Scoops" short track. More than 100 racers, men and women, riding solo and in teams, are expected to compete.
Rules are simpler than in past years. Racers cannot modify their snow shovels except for wax or paint. All competitors must wear a helmet. Each competitor gets two runs. The fastest time of two runs will determine the winner. The top three in each class will receive cash prizes, trophies, and gift certificates from local retailers. Expert shovel racers recommend a standard number 12 grain shovel as the ride of choice.
The three days of festivities will include race clinics and track practice Friday, Feb. 5; timed competition Saturday, Feb. 6; and a blow-out Super Bowl Sunday party Sunday, Feb. 7. There will be live, evening entertainment all weekend long. Discounted lodging packages are available for participants at the Lodge at Angel Fire Resort.