Resort seeks future ‘World Champion Shovel Racers’


(Chronicle file photo)
(Chronicle file photo)

Registration is now open for Feb. 6 World Championship Shovel Races

Most people never get to win an Olympic medal, but the next best thing is a World Championship title. This year, anyone can compete for the coveted World Championship Shovel Racing title at Angel Fire Resort.

According to a Resort press release, competitors of all ages are waxing up their snow shovels for the 37th Angel Fire Resort Shovel Race Championships, presented by Lowe’s Valley Market. Racers from all over the country compete by sitting on the scoop of a standard aluminum snow shovel, handle pointed downhill, and then lift their hands and feet to allow gravity to take them for a ride. Each rider gets two shots to clock the fastest time down the front of the Angel Fire ski mountain. Top speeds regularly exceed 70 miles per hour.

This year the resort is giving an open invitation for anyone who would like to try and be a World Champion to come participate in the race. A practice session will be held Friday (Feb. 5) followed by the competition Saturday (Feb. 6).

“What other sport can you show up and become a World Champion the first time you race?,” said Mike Hess, chief marketing officer for the resort. “We are one of only a handful of resorts world-wide where they offer Shovel Racing as a competitive sport. We are opening registration to anyone who would like to try and compete. It’s a great event to participate in or come out and cheer them on as a spectator.”

Racing categories include: Little Scoops (ages 6-9); Youth (ages 10-13); Junior (ages 14-17); Adult Women (ages 18+); Adult Men (ages 18-44); Master Men (ages 45+); Pro Men; Pro Women. Those who feel they are expert Shovel Racers are encouraged to enter the Pro-categories. Over $3200 in cash and prizes will be given to the fastest competitors in all age-specific categories.

Women in Media invited to compete

The event will also include the Fourth Annual Women in Media Shovel Race Competition – where women in New Mexico television and print media will compete for bragging rights and the fastest time down the hill on a shovel.

“This event is awesome,” said Kim Vallez, KRQE-TV anchor. “It’s exciting and intimidating and definitely gets the competitive juices flowing. We are an extremely competitive group of women and give it all we’ve got but no matter who wins it always proves to be a great time.”

KRQE-TV and KASA-TV plan to bring over a dozen racers this year. In addition, both KOAT-TV and KOB-TV have entered teams. “This sport is incredibly fast and fun to watch and report on,” J.P. Murrieta, Sports Director, KOB-TV, said.

KRQE main anchor, Dean Staley and KRQE/KASA Chief Meteorologist, Mark Ronchetti will emcee the Media racing categories at the event and always have their take on the races.

“These women from TV dress up in crazy costumes and allow us to make fun of them as they zip down the mountain. Let’s be honest, they’re braver than any of us men at the station,” Mark Ronchetti, Chief Meteorologist, KRQE-TV, said.

Last year’s winner, KRQE-TV ‘s Gabrielle Burkhart, will be competing to defend her title will once again this year. In addition to Kim Vallez, this year’s competitors include media members Jessica Garate/KRQE, Kristen Curry/KASA and Katherine Mozzone/KRQE. Other popular news anchors, reporters and producers from KOAT, KASA and KOB are expected to race.

“Our Women in Media event has grown each year in size and popularity. These TV ladies have more guts than most and it’s always a fun category to come watch. We hope fans of these women will travel to the resort to cheer them on,” said Krysty Ronchetti, PR Representative/SJ Communications.

The lowdown

Shovel racing began as a simple contest in the 1970s when lift operators would ride their shovels down the mountain at the end of their shifts. The organized competition of Shovel Racing has been held for over 35 years at Angel Fire Resort. National news outlets including ESPN, ABC Sports, MTV and The Travel Channel have even featured the event. Shovel Racing was also once a featured sport during the early years of the Winter X Games.

For more details about the Angel Fire World Shovel Race Championship, including registration and rules, go here.