The 6th Annual Dirsken Derby: Community and Cameraderie at Mt Bachelor

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Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the gnar factor—only judging snowboarding by steepness, deepness, hang time, technicality and so forth. That can be an individualistic view of riding, to say the least. But every now and then we are reminded that, above all, snowboarding is about community—smiles, friends, and hot laps in a storm can provide us a deeper, longer-lasting high than the fleeting buzz of a trick gone right. Such was the case at the 6th Annual Dirksen Derby, held on the slopes of central Oregon’s Mt Bachelor this past weekend.

The Dirksen Derby just keeps growing—this year, almost 500 competitors showed up, from Washington’s finest like Blair Habenicht, Matt Edgers, Temple Cummins and Forrest Burki, to Montanans and Tahoe folks, Terje Haakonsen, Jake Blauvelt, Marie France Roy, and, of course, the always-welcoming Bachelor locals like Austin Smith, Jake Price, Gerry Lopez, Curtis Ciszek and Dirksen himself. Amongst this mix of bros and pros, sit-skiers, moms, dads and dirtbags complete the inclusive nature of the event—one that runs only $110 for event entry, a hat, shirt, and three days of riding. An event that puts emphasis on ride-ability and camaraderie atop two tight, 30-seconds-or-more lanes through the trees, this year situated at the family-friendly Sunrise zone on the east side of the mountain.

The Sunrise Chair served as a great venue for the event. Not only was the course easily visible from the chair, but there were also plentiful hit runs interspersed through the trees, and the locals were happy to show you their jump line leading down to the race course (thank you, Forrest Devore). Under a sometimes-heavy storm, the mountain filled in through the morning, serving up late day powder runs through snaking gullies and well-spaced pines each day. As the event gained momentum, so too did the number of riders hot-lapping hit runs in shred-trains a dozen deep—fun times boarding at its best.

By the finals Sunday, the field had thinned to the top 25 percent, but all remained to rip lines under an incoming Pacific front, to cheer on Mr. Tyler Eklund as he dropped in for his annual sit-ski run, to give thanks for this snowboard community that came together for all the right reasons. It was the perfect lead-in to the holiday season, and a reminder that all we need is friends, falling snow, and a reason to be present—when we strap in, we’re all members of the same tribe.

A huge thanks to Josh Dirksen, Andy Goggins, Patagonia and all the volunteers who spent a week digging out the course and keeping things rolling through the weekend. And to the 500-ish attendees, I hope to see you and your friends upon the slopes of Mt Bachelor next December.

Photos by Jeff Hawe. Video by Jeremiah Favara.

Dirksen Derby 2012 from Funny Feelings on Vimeo.



1. Ben Connors

2. Harry Kearney

3. Max Warbington


1. Maria Debari

2. Marie-France Roy

3. Desiree Melancon


1. Austin Smith

2. Scotty Wittlake

3. Curtis Ciszek


1. Taylor Mattingley

2. Will Calder

3. Zoe Kern


1. Gerry Lopez

2. Michael Schubert

3. Reuben Valdivia


1. Ravi Drugan

2. Gabe Rousseau

3. Tyler Eklund


1. Ralph Backstrom

2. Forrest Burki

3. Justin Bender

1st Girl: Maria Debari

For complete results click here.


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