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Photo and Video Feature

Rat Race 2017

Mind The Whoops

“It’s a double, triple, double-double,” I think, Josh Dirksen said. “Or maybe a quad.”

It was the evening of July 11 in Government Camp, OR. He was describing the whoops. Everyone was talking about the whoops. The hats for the Drink Water Rat Race said, “Mind the Whoops” on the back. Because the whoops were fierce. The rest of the course was fairly typical of a banked slalom—fun, tight turns, a skinny section here and there, a little up and over. But that big right-hand sweeper mid-course launched you into the whoops at speed. Make that double-triple-double-double or perish. Then hit a little gap into a left-hand sweeper.

The 40-or-so folks who had been digging the course up high at Mt Hood’s Timberline Lodge ski area knew all about the whoops. Those of us who arrived late for the Wednesday race got a first taste of them in a single practice run, then grew nervous watching people get launched upside down at speed into an abrupt landing. It chewed people up, dishing out carnage to every third rider who tried to make the gaps (heal up, folks). Those who laced the line earned an explosion of cheers, and an undoubtedly faster time—something just above 45 seconds set the bar for speed.

Whoops aside, the Rat Race had a higher function. It was a fundraiser for water.org, and this year’s sixth edition brought in north of $40,000 to help get drinking water for those in need. It’s run by Austin Smith and Stephen and Bryan Fox of Drink Water, who aren’t just fronting with their brand name. And this fundraiser served as a proper summertime gathering of the snowboard community with sunshine, kegs of water on tap, and sunset lake sessions for the closing awards ceremony. It was a little bit fast, plenty loose, and just right. It reminded us that snowboarding has not only the power to bring people together in the mountains, but also to contribute some positive energy into the world outside our little bubble.

And as for those whoops…. There’s always next year to find a clean line.

PODIUM RESULTS (full results will be added as soon as they arrive).

Sponsored Men

  1. Terje Haakonsen
  2. Harry Kearney
  3. Gabe Ferguson
  4. Curtis Ciszek
  5. Jake Kuzyk
  6. Austen Sweetin
  7. Temple Cummins
  8. Chase Josey
  9. Forest Bailey
  10. Alex Yoder

Women

  1. Hailey Langland
  2. Mary Rand
  3. Desiree Melancon
  4. Livia Molodyh
  5. Katie Kennedy
  6. Hannah Eddy
  7. Nora Beck

Unsponsored

  1. JD Dennis
  2. Jake Price
  3. Danny Kern
  4. Will Dennis
  5. Tanner McCarty
  6. Chris Luzier
  7. Taylor Boyd
  8. Jesse Curran
  9. Julian McMahon
  10. Carson Schubert
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