Photo and Video Feature

Dirksen Derby 10

Photos and Words: Colin Wiseman.

Video: Jann Eberharter.

Dad strength is real. I once watched Josh Dirksen break his snowboard ten miles deep in the central Oregon backcountry, head back to the truck for a new one, come back before sunset and proceed to hit a jump a dozen times. He was a new father at the time.

Need more proof? Consider the Saturday qualifiers this past weekend at Dirksen Derby 10 at Mt. Bachelor, OR. The fastest time of the day came from Marcel Dolak. He’s a father of two. The cutoff for qualification was a full four seconds faster for the Gentlemen’s division (age 35-49) than the Men’s division (age 21-34). Not to mention that father of three Adam Haynes smoked everyone in the splitboard race.

Dad strength aside, the Dirksen Derby is a gathering for all, regardless of paternal or maternal status. (It should be noted that the top female qualifying times were very evenly distributed across categories, making me wonder about the relationship of mom strength to speed on a snowboard—but that’s a discussion for another day). What began a decade ago as a small gathering to support Bend-ite Tyler Eklund has grown into a 500-person-deep rally race with multiple beneficiaries and multiple days on snow. It’s a true early-season kickoff party, an all-inclusive bringing together those who like to turn and burn at a mountain known for generating momentum.

And this year, after taking a gap year for 2016, a week of labor by Dirksen and crew turned out a masterpiece—two lanes in the 30-plus-second range of perfectly manicured berms, with the red side favoring low-speed finesse, the green a hard-charging, flat-based game of acceleration. I’ve been attending the event since its second or third year, and I can’t say I’ve felt a more flow-filled bit of berm-based terrain at Bachelor. So, we rode the course, and everything around the course, a quick-moving cadre of snowboarders taking over Mt Bachelor’s Sunrise base area. For Sturday and Sunday, the sun popped through, the skies turned blue, and things went smooth—so smooth, in fact, that the race was done before 2pm each day, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the company of several hundred friends in a party train around the mountain.

By the time the elites got through both sides of the race course on Sunday, Phil Jacques had laid down the fastest time of the day for the men, with Marie France-Roy holding it down for the ladies. And while I’m not sure whether Phil is a father or not, I’m sure he’ll only get faster when and if he decides to procreate.

A huge thank you to Josh Dirksen, the crew at presenting sponsor Patagonia, and the dozens of volunteers, diggers, companies, artists and conspirators who made it happen at Dirksen Derby 10.

For full results click here.


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