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The Dirksen Derby – Snowboard Slalom

A derby and festival to kick of the season

For the past eight years Mt. Bachelor has hosted the unofficial kickoff to the snowboard season with the Dirksen Derby. As far as snowboard competitions go, the banked slalom is somewhat of a throwback to the early days of snowboard racing, and has been growing in popularity over recent seasons as riders realize there is no better way to test actual snowboard proficiency than to see who can make it down the frigid course in the shortest time.

The Dirksen Derby is, in large part, responsible for leading the charge with banked slalom events nationally and internationally within the core snowboard community. These types of races have risen to become elite-level events that reward riders for their ability to swiftly turn and handle their snowboard through a fast and frozen course rather than be judged on their gymnastic ability. Banked slalom, and in particular the Dirksen Derby, is a celebration of board control and the ability to hold an edge, skills that have been lost even at the highest competitive levels of snowboarding, where throwing the board sideways in between the jumps and park features can get confused with actually being able to truly ride a snowboard.

Bend local and world-renowned professional snowboarder Josh Dirksen started the Derby in 2007 as a philanthropic venture to raise money for Tyler Eklund, who was paralyzed after a snowboard accident during the practice rounds of the National Championships that previous season. Occurring annually in mid-December, the event quickly became a hit, and soon enough it became the mainstay kickoff to the new snowboard season, with stickered-up cars from all over the West lining the Mt. Bachelor parking lot.

The event has gained a great deal of traction in recent years and is now a who’s-who early season gathering of professional snowboarders and snowboard industry professionals. This year in addition to the race, Salomon snowboards will be hosting the Dirksen Derby Film Fest which will showcase snowboard films and photos from well-regarded snowboard lensmen such as Tanner Pendelton (Crazy Loco), Jake Price (Wandering Winterland, 9191) and Chris Edmands (Deeper, Further, Higher), along with local Bend photographers Pete Alport and Andy Tullis. The festival will serve as a welcome complement to the Derby, adding a strong cultural element to the weekend while showcasing some of the world’s best riders for the first time, right here in Bend.

The Dirksen Derby will be held December 11 through 13 of this year at Mt. Bachelor. The one-night-only Salomon Film Festival will be held on Saturday, December 12 in Wille Hall in Bend.

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