Five Hundred Snowboarders Can’t Be Wrong: Deep Powder and Deep Berms at Dirksen Derby 9

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Item: 2015 Dirksen Derby
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Header Image: Austin Smith by Colin Wiseman.

In my 20-plus years of snowboarding, I’ve learned the following when it comes to forecasts of copious amounts of snow… or rain, sunshine and cool and unstable fronts, for that matter:

  1. Never trust a forecast.
  2. Sometimes the forecast is right.
  3. Sometimes the forecast is wrong.
  4. All of these possibilities mean nothing when you surround yourself with good people bent on a good time.

So when the weather folks were predicting a foot of snow, then another foot and so on for the Ninth Annual Dirksen Derby at Mt Bachelor this past weekend, I took it with a grain of salt. But I also knew that it didn’t matter—the show would go on as planned thanks to Dirksen and company’s dedicated crew of diggers, volunteers, organizers, partiers and boarders…. all 500-plus of them.

And this time around, well, the weather forecasters got it right. The diggers dug through rain earlier in the week, but by the time we rolled into town Thursday night, there was a dusting of fresh on the ground. Up at Mt Bachelor, practice day came through with plenty of soft snow for hit runs and 12-deep laps through the rolling gullies for which Bachelor is known. The course ran soft and smooth, and the snow began to fall. And through it all, the diggers dug, the artists arted, the film festers fested, and the karaoke-ers karaoke-ed their hearts out as a storm of epic proportions descended upon the Cascadian volcano in the middle of Oregon.

By the time Sunday rolled around, 46 inches of snow had left the towering evergreens caked in white. A cold wind blew flakes through the gathered masses of turn enthusiasts as, one by one, finalists and elite competitors took their turns through the berms. Then Tyler Eklund, the young man for whom Dirksen and company raised more than $30,000 this year, skipped the course and dropped in upon his sit-ski for a few powder turns himself.

Powder for all—a perfect accoutrement to this early-season gathering of board-riding souls with their heads and hearts in the right place. Here’s to another Dirksen Derby come and gone, and here’s to another big year—whether forecasts of that Niño character materialize or not we’ve already had three days that’ll stay with all in attendance for many, many years to come.

Oh yeah—Eero Niemela narrowly edged out Harry Kearney (by .02 seconds) and Austen Sweetin for the Derby Elite Men, while Colleen Quigley lead the pack for the Women’s Elite ahead of Yoko Nakamura and Maria Debari.

Thanks to Josh Dirksen, Tyler Eklund, all the hard working volunteers (that was a lot of digging, no doubt), Spencer Weimar from Mt Bachelor, Andy Goggins at the Pine Ridge Inn, and, of course, anyone with whom we shared a lap or a laugh over the weekend—we’ll see you all next year. Same time, same place, same forecast, maybe?


Men’s Elite

  1. Eero Niemela (1:04.19)
  2. Harry Kearney (1:04.21)
  3. Austen Sweetin (1:05.17)

Women’s Elite

  1. Colleen Quigley (1:11.05)
  2. Yoko Nakamura (1:11.59)
  3. Maria Debari (1:11.76)

Men’s (Age 13-34)

  1. Martin Ciszek (1:06.37)
  2. Logan Beaulieu (1:06.55)
  3. Chris Luzier (1:07.05)

Women’s (Age 14-34)

  1. Devyn Schnake (1:12.29)
  2. Tracy Faux (1:13.01)
  3. Isabella Gomez (1:13.98)

Gentlemen’s (Age 35-49)

  1. Ami Voutilainen (1:07.47)
  2. Adam Smith (1:08.47)
  3. Peter Butsch (1:08.57)

Gentle-Women (Age 35-49)

  1. Julie Brown (1:18.62)
  2. Priscilla Stultz (1:20.89)
  3. Katie Boone (1:25.48)

Older and Wiser (Age 50-plus)

  1. Bob Stanislaus (1:16.45)
  2. Matt Gadow (1:17.22)
  3. Clint Chappell (1:18.49)

Groms (Age 13 and under)

  1. Mac Malkoski (1:16.44)
  2. Cannon Cummins (1:16.75)
  3. Asher Clarke (1:19.57)


  1. Hiromi Tatsumi (1:26.54)
  2. Ravi Drugan (1:30.87)
  3. Gabe Rousseau (3:08.21)
  4. Tyler Eklund (POW TURNS)

Men’s Splitboard

  1. Reid Persing
  2. Ryland Bell
  3. Adam Haynes

Women’s Splitboard

  1. Maria Debari
  2. Amanda Hankison
  3. Marissa Krawczak

For the full results click here.


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