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Words: Brooke Geery. Photos: Jared Souney. Video: RC Cone
Josh Dirksen is not only an amazing snowboarder, but he’s also just one of those genuinely nice people you can’t help but want to be around. Over his snowboard career, he’s made a mark on a lot of people all over the world, and the Dirksen Derby is the one time a year they all get together. Some come to see if they’ve still got it, other to vie for bragging rights and everyone is there to ride the rolling terrain of Mt. Bachelor.
Now in its 6th year, the Derby has grown from a homegrown, feel good event with a crowd of stoked locals, to a homegrown, feel good event with a crowd of locals and stoked pros from around the globe. Like anything that’s evolved organically, there have been growing pains, but this year, Josh and his wife Fabienne had things set up like a well-oiled machine. Numbers were in order, schedules were set and rumor has it they were even laminated badges planned. Of course, between the blizzard-like conditions, and a field made up of boarders, there were still hiccups, but all in all the event moved smoothly, and the most confusion was over why Russell Windfield was taking Dave Seoane’s final runs. Basically, it was the opposite of being at the Dew Tour.
In 2012, December 14th marked the first “official practice day,” which was added to the schedule to let everyone get a chance to feel out the course. Like in years past, the two slalom courses were entirely hand sculpted by local pros and other volunteers. On the right, the red course offered a real banked experience with tight turns and gaps, and on the left, the green course was wide open (and only sort of a wax race.) On the day of finals, it would take an average of 30 seconds to get down the red course and 40 seconds on the green. Since no one does any tricks, there’s not much to say about the riding other than that the elites are god-damned fast and the art of turning is one you should learn to love.
Perhaps the most amazing part of the Dirksen Derby is that even with riders like Temple Cummins, Terje Haakonsen and Jake Blauvelt in the men’s field, the fastest time of the day was actually laid down by a Bachelor local named Ben Connors. Who? Exactly. He went faster than all of the elites as well.
After three days of left turns, right turns, and powder turns, everyone gathered in the Sunrise Lodge for the awards. Between tossing out tons of product and settling side bets once and for all, Josh succinctly stated the real purpose of the Dirksen Derby, “Raise money, raise stoke.” The broad smile on Tyler Ecklund‘s face as he received a 3rd place trophy in the sit ski division was proof that the mission was accomplished. It also didn’t hurt that a ton of money of was raised for the Tyler Ecklund fund, and that the final day was actually just an epic powder day.