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ANGEL FIRE – Hundreds of spectators and daredevils converged on the slopes of Angel Fire Resort last weekend for the Angel Fire Shovel Race Championships.
The annual challenge has competitors sitting on the scoop of a standard aluminum snow shovel, handle pointed downhill and race to the finish line time-trial style. 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 1970s when our lift operators would ride their shovels down the mountain at the end of their shifts,” said Andy Whitacre of 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 outdo each other every season.”
The organized competition has been held for more than 30 years at Angel Fire Resort. 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.
The top speed this year was clocked by John Strader of Albuquerque, who hit 67.74 mph. The fastest woman, Paloma Gonzales of Angel Fire, clocked 61.4 mph.