It’s only mid December and one of the best snowboarding events of the season has come and gone, the Dirksen Derby.
Hosted by Mt Bachelor in Bend Oregon, the Dirksen Derby was created by snowboarding pro Josh Dirksen to help raise money for Tyler Eklund. Tyler became paralyzed in a snowboarding accident in 2007 while practicing for a competition. The Derby raises thousands of dollars and has become a rally call to get Tyler back on the mountain with a little help from some friends. Now in its 7th season the Derby has grown to be the biggest yet and needed to cap registration at 500 riders.
Here is what went down:
Friday Dec 13th – course inspection
Saturday Dec 14th – qualifiers
Sunday Dec 15th – finals, splitboard event and Derby Elites
The Dirksen Derby has tapped into the soul of the snowboarding; riding with friends, having fun, rallying for a good cause and spreading stoke. Each season the course is hand dug by Josh and a crew of volunteers. The fastest time top to bottom wins. Simple, fun, snowboarding.
In a banked slalom format, the derby gives riders the option of choosing either a “Green course” riders left or “Red course” riders right. Going red adds extra spice throughout with a mid course gap jump, super tight banked turns and a creative transition before being spit out at the finish line. The Green course has a looser flow and allows riders to really open it up in the turns. Groms, Elders, Ladies, Pros and Bros alike rode the course. It’s an event designed for all ages and abilities and most importantly for having fun.
Saturday was a busy day as Men’s, Women’s, Groms and the Splitboard division dropped into and around the course. With the rules changing every season and the format decided by Mr. Dirksen himself only moments before, the splitboard race continues to be a crowd and competitor favorite. Mayhem ensued as splitters made a mad dash board in hand and ran from a starting line to a strap in line of about 25 yards, rode down the side of the course, unstrapped, ran up a hill, converted their boards to skin up the course, transitioned back into ride mode and rode the course. The first rider to cross the finish line at the bottom of the course wins.
Sunday brought about the final day of the Derby as pro riders past and present dropped in on both courses and finalists from Saturday raced again for the fastest time. Friends and fans dotted the sidelines and tree wells throughout the course and Tyler Eklund came up in his sit ski for a few hot laps with assistance from some folks at Bachelor. Here is how things shaped up:
1. Harry Kearney
2. Lucas Debari
3. Curtis Ciszek
1. Nils Mindnich
2. Kyle Miller
3. Logan Bileau
1. Marie-France Roy
2. Colleen Quigley
3. Desiree Melancon
1. Gabe Toyafre
2. Adam Haynes
3. Forrest Burki
1. Amy Wadley
2. Angela Wilson
3. Marie-France Roy
Driving out of Bachelor watching the cascade volcano sinking into the southern skyline I felt like the soul of snowboarding was in a good place. Mt Bachelor had been generous with allowing this niche of snowboarding to exist inside the boundary line, the elusive side of shredding stoke in plain view. Let’s hope other mountains are taking notice. Thank you Mt Bachelor, Josh Dirksen, Tyler Eklund, the riders, spectators and all the folks working to make an event like this possible.