Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media
Originally Published on Yobeat | December 23, 2017

The 2017 Dirksen Derby is nothing but good vibes. Whether you spent December 15-17th complaining about back pain in the lodge, ripping around Mt. Bachelor, teaching your kids to stand on a snowboard, or actually trying to get a faster time than your friends, the 10th edition of the mostly-annual competition may just have been the best yet.

Josh specifically designed the event to be fun for all. The course isn’t about survival, but rather pushing your own limits. If you make it down unscathed, you’re likely to think, “that was fun!” as opposed to other banked slaloms, where you’re just glad to be done. And due to the mellow pitch of Sunrise, the trail which played host to the 2017 event, literally anyone can make it down, but it takes real skill to win.

And at the elite level, there was potential for pain. The green course rode mellow and smooth all weekend, but the red course saw its share of spills and near misses, and had the respect of even the most skilled of boarders. Friday saw a solid dusting of snow on top of what was otherwise thin cover. Then Saturday was crisp and cold and things held up for all the riders who managed to pre-register for the lottery, and then actually show up on race day. And Sunday, a thin layer of clouds warmed things up and it was spring riding for all. The ruts were real, but the Backelor Parks crew and squad of volunteers were on it. No worries.

And most importantly – cash money was raised for long-ago-paralyzed but still smiling Tyler Ecklund via entry fees, the broken board auction and lots of other goodwill gestures from sponsors and friends.

If you really wanna know who went the fastest, well, you’ve probably already figured it out – but just in case, you can see full results on our Insta or Facebook. If you want to feel like you were there, keep scrolling for MOAR MEDIA.

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All Photos: Kieth Rutherford

The 9th annual Dirksen Derby ushered in a very welcome sight to Oregon: a fuck ton of snow.  And while Oregon really only suffered one bad season, based on the shit show garnered over the rapidly accumulating snow at Mt. Bachelor, you’d think the residents of Central Oregon had been residing in Tahoe or something! But despite sizeable lift lines and inevitable delays that come with trying to do anything mid-blizzard, Josh Dirksen’s annual event was one for the record books.

The abundance of snow across the west coast prevented many signed up from attending  – enabling the race to run smoothly despite occasional hitches such as blustering snow messing with the laser time keeping systems – and since everyone registered paid in advance, still plenty of cash was raised for Tyler Eklund, the event’s inspiration, who was paralyzed in a snowboard crash many years ago.

The field was still stacked with heavies, but if our foray into sports betting is any indication, the race was really anyone’s game. The side-by-side courses were meticulously dug by a dedicated crew of Bendites, as a well as a Bogus Basin-based crew assembled by Corey Mac. On the red side, huge berms required a lot of finesse to generate speed, while on the green side a more open course allowed you to just let er rip. As to be expected with lots of snow fall, speed was something that was not in abundance, but the most skilled (or those with the best wax tech) managed to make it happen.

Unlike many banked slaloms these days where it’s a feat just to make it to the bottom of the course, the Dirksen Derby is specifically built to be a fun, mellow kick off to the season. “We definitely try to keep the courses mellow at the Derby and it doesn’t always happen with the snow and stuff,” Josh said.  “I want everyone to have fun, not just the top 10 percent of the snowboard population, so I tried to build something everyone could love. It is still a challenge, the challenge being not stopping!”

While the Derby is a contest, and there are winners, losers and sidebets galore, we won’t bore you with a lengthy explanation of the results. At the end of the day, just getting out and getting together is what really matters and makes this event so great. If you really care though, you can click here and read them all yourself.

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For a mere $65 you could sign up for elites, essentially buying your way into the finals. However, qualifying is good for you and here’s a shot from Saturday.

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More qualifying action!

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The Parilla clam chowder at the top of the course is a definite highlight every year.

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Fancy, Madison and I, too hard for our own good, really.

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Alex Yoder.

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Banked Slaloms are one snowboard discipline where bigger people may actually have an advantage, but don’t tell Austen Sweetin that. Cruising to third.

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Brynn Hayes.

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V. Official flags.

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A crew so heavy the photo poach was in order – Wolle Nyvelt, Gerry Lopez and Josh Dirksen.

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Never count out someone who came all the way from Europe to compete! Eero Nimela for the win.

 

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Last year, Harry Kearney beat the rest of the field by three seconds. But that was last year, this year he got second.

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Oh yeah, there was some of this, too.

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Hiromi Tatumi and his sit-snowboard set up manhandled the course with ease.

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Izzy Lalive came out from Breck and hot damn, did she have a lot of fun!

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This. Kit Hendreckson.

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Best beard of the weekend.

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Madison not only babysat me all weekend, she also got 6th in Elites. Thanks Mads!

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Mary Rand.

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The Warp Wave crew silently judges Max Tokunga. Actually, they were probably making noise.
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Ravi Drugan kills it.

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Powder to the people.

 

Snowboard world has been pretty slow lately, probably because of the lack of snow in many snowboard hot spots such as Utah and the Northwest. Living in Portland is only bearable in the winter because you can go snowboarding, so went you can’t, well… It’s been rough. But this weekend’s Dirksen Derby at Mt. Bachelor and the Corn Syrup Tour kicked things off for the snowboard season, even if winter is taking its sweet time to get here.

This year’s race to benefit Tyler Eklund, put on by the legendary Josh Dirksen, was by far the wildest event so far in its 8 year run. You might expect that from an events who’s participants included everyone from a large number of seriously fit Bendites to rail kids to banked slalom jocks and everyone in between. But the real excitement wasn’t in the sound of scraping of edges to ice, or the hoots and hollers from the crowd as you rode by, or the free Parilla Chowder at the top of the course. I won’t bore you with too many words because we all know no one likes to read anymore, I think the pictures tell the story pretty well.

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Alex Yoder was already warmed up for the race since it’s actually been snowing in Jackson Hole. He was not, however, used to being chased by alligators.

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Normally, Alligators and crocodiles do not coexist (they like different temperatures or something.) So it truly was a crazy scene.

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The media circus was in full effect, which is reassuring when you are too cold to shoot photos and didn’t bring appropriate handwear. Someone else will probaby get the shot. Somehow though, the girl in the tutu didn’t seem cold at all.

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This was actually an insane moment. They did this all the way down the course in perfect unison.

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Blair Habenicht wasn’t even spooked when he spotted a gigantic polar bear (I mean GIANT) and he went on to finish 9th.

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The Tiger and the bear got along surprisingly well. They’re just playing here.

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The Derby was really a family affair with plenty of parents competing alongside their kids (either  competing in the groms division or on tiny Burton snowboards.) So it was only fitting this friendly family of bears came to watch when race organizer (and dad) Josh Dirksen took his run.

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Look at the dude checking the back of his camera while epic moments happen all around him. Typical photographer.

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This year marked the first for the women’s elite division, which was awesome because all the “professionals” were in their own division, which meant I was able to get back into the top 10 out of 80 women ages 14-50 (and I didn’t even practice.) So the women’s snowboarding presence was strong, but what we really learned from this is that hippos are not as fast as Kenyans or the fastest female snowboarders.

And I think that pretty much sums it up. Full Results here.

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Stan surveys the scene and is stoked I was too cheap to buy him into the race this year. Less waiting in line, nahmean.

This season is off to a slow start in the Northwest. The NOAA forecast looks more depressing by the day as we wait for any snow to fall. Northwest snowboarders are left with nothing to say but fuck El Nino or Obama or whoever’s fault it is that the snow level hasn’t really dropped below 8,000 feet yet this year. So it was no surprised that this year’s Dirksen Derby on December 12 was a lot of people’s first real day of the season, including mine.

Personally I was scared. I’m not scared of much and certainly not scared of riding a snowboard, but for whatever reason, the idea of navigating a plank of wood with edges down  this year’s course, even just for practice at my own pace, seemed teriffying. As I expressed my anxiety to others in the line up though, I was quickly reminded of what the Dirksen Derby is about. Between the multitude of new moms back for their first day on snow (in at least 9 months- but who were still doing the race)  and the fact that every person told me to shut up and snowboard, my aprehensions quickly subsided. In fact, I chose to take my one practice run on the red course, which everyone had been saying was way more technical (read: scary.) And it was a challenge – especially the deep pocket on the third turn, which required staying some quick thinking to even negotiate.

But as usual the Dirksen Derby course is short, sweet and perfect for getting your legs back after too many hours sitting at a desk this fall. And when I made it to the bottom unscathed, my faith in myself, and snowboarding in general was fully restored. Maybe it helps that the average age of the Derby participants is also in their 30s, but man, this is my kinda event. Stay tuned over the next few days for more random thoughts and completely unthorough coverage right here on Yobeat.com!

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Tim Eddy is all about fitness, therefore he doesn’t suffer the same first-day-of-the-year issues asus lazy people.

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Oh, and Northwest Volcom rep Chayne Shoulz says don’t fuck with him. I’ll take way more pictures tomorrow, I swear.