The sight of a shovel and snow means impending work for most people, but for some, the two are viewed in a different, more pleasant manner. The 39th Annual Angel Fire World Championship Shovel Races took place February 3 on the slopes at Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico.
The competition is simple. Participants race downhill seated on an aluminum shovel with the handle pointed down. Each rider gets two opportunities to post the fastest time; top speeds exceed 60 mph.
Shovel racing began at the resort in the 1970s as lift operators would ride downhill on their shovels following the conclusion of their shifts.
“It has since grown into a crazy competition on the mountain that includes speed suits, costumes, and radar guns,” Angel Fire Resort director of marketing Spencer Weimar said in a release. “No year is ever the same, as competitors always try and out do each other every season.”
Approximately 100 men, women, and children from around the United States competed for the fastest times this year. The men’s winner was Jeff Hamblin (Austin, Texas), who clocked over 61 mph and did the course in 14.4 seconds. Nadia Gonzales (Black Lake, New Mexico), who clocked just over 60 mph and finished in 15.5 seconds, took the women’s title.