The 2011 Dirksen Derby: An Equal Opportunity Banked Slalom

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Item: Dirksen Derby 2011
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Spring conditions in December; two lanes of banked turns, both tight and technical, and one combined time; Haakonsen, Blauvelt and Habenicht in the same category as the weekend warriors. Open entry, cheap lift tickets and over 300 competitors–this was the 2011 Dirksen Derby at Mt Bachelor, Oregon.

Amidst a serious December thaw in the Pacific Northwest it only seemed appropriate to make the eight hour drive from Bellingham to Bend and compete in the Derby–apparently the rest of the northwest had the same idea as a van full of dirtbags became a very common sight on the streets of Bend on Friday night.

Greeted Saturday morning with temperatures pushing 45 degrees, sunshine, and a course built over the past week that was by far the most creative in the five year history of the event, it was what you might call an equal-opportunity race–with a left turn into the red course and a right turn starting off the green lane, regular footers and goofy footers both had to start it off with a heelside turn on one of their two runs. The corners were tight and techy and sent a lot of people scrambling to find a board 10cms shorter than what they were riding. It played into Bachelor’s pump-for-speed riding style–Dirksen himself dropped in upon a 147 and looked very, very fast.

With Sunday came a return to winter and hangovers courtesy of the previous evening’s world premier of “Manifest”–a tribute to the late Aaron Robinson who many of the Derby competitors knew and loved–and an undeniably relaxed vibe. A personal-sized keg appeared mid-course, Forrest Burki blazed out to an early lead in the splitboard race only to hook an edge and ragdoll while one-footing an icy groomer and racers lapped a flowy hit run to the start gate. Knut Eliassen won the open category, with Maria Debari winning for the ladies and Curtis Ciszek taking fastest time of the day and the win for the elites–a special category for top three finishers from years past–and, more importantly, over $18,000 was raised for the Tyler Eklund fund.

And a strong contingent from the worldwide snowboard tribe ripped laps and remembered that you don’t need a ton of snow to have a good time–just some like minded friends and a reason to congregate upon a northwest volcano.

Big thanks to Josh Dirksen, Mt Bachelor, all of the volunteers and especially to the wonderful timing lady who let me and Laing squeeze in an end of the day mulligan on Saturday–rest assured we went back and dug the course for Sunday. See you at Mt Bachelor in 2012.



1. Curtis Ciszek
2. Austin Smith
3. Scotty Wittlake

Men 14-49

1. Knut Eliasson
2. Blair Habenitch
3. Dustin Anderson


1. Ryland Bell
2. Adam Haynes
3. Ralph Backstrom

1. Maria Debari
2. Macy Price
3. Kelly Underwood/ Desiree Melancon

1. Van Allen
2. Rayan Bailey
3. Peter Christensen

Sit Ski
1. Ravi Drugan
2. Austin Sanders
3. Melisa Sween

Older and Wiser

1. Gerry Lopez
2. Reuben Valdivia
3 Terry Luzier

For the full results click here.

Main Photo: Meg Haywood-Sullivan.


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