If you’ve already tired of watching world-class athletes at the peak of their games competing for gold, silver and bronze medals – the Sochi Winter Olympics – here is a winter sport competition for you.
The Shovel Racing World Championships were held this weekend at a New Mexico ski resort and featured Americans of all ages and sizes flying down a mountain at speeds of more than 60 mph while seated on an aluminum snow shovel.
This year’s winner of the event, held for 33 years, was Justin Gonzales, of Angel Fire, N.M., who skidded down the mountain in 14.5 seconds at a speed of 70 miles per hour.
“People were very fired up about winter sports,” Angel Fire Resort spokeswoman Krysty Ronchetti said of this year’s huge turnout thanks to the competition being held the day after the opening ceremony at the Sochi Games.
“We had just over 100 competitors – men, women and children and some complete families,” Ronchetti said, noting that the youngest competitor was just 6 years old.
Each competitor got two shots Saturday to clock the fastest time down the front of the Angel Fire ski mountain while sitting on the scoop of a standard aluminum snow shovel, handle pointed downhill, with their hands and feet lifted off the ground.
To spice up the race, which began in 1970′s when the ski resort’s lift operators would ride their shovels down the mountain at the end of their shifts, some competitors also come in costume.
“Some people come in very serious ski suits and this year someone came in a pink Yeti costume,” Ronchetti said. “The costumes change each year and show peoples’ originality.”
Cash prizes, gift certificates and medals, minus the Olympic symbol, were given to the different age category winners this year.