For those who think snow shovels are for clearing sidewalks and straining backs, the World Shovel Race Championships at Angel Fire Resort in Angel Fire, New Mexico, are a revelation.
Thirty years ago, ski-lift operators at the resort organized a race to see who could ride the tool of their trade to the base first. Today the annual two-day championships attract hundreds of fans. Most racers use standard-issue grain shovels (the kind you see at hardware stores); the resort provides loaners to visitors who decide to join in. Riders sit, wobble, and sometimes flop off as they whiz down a chute of packed snow.
Then come the real stars, the "modified-category" entrants, whose vehicles are more space shuttle than snow shovel. Mounted on skis or rails, they have Formula One–like bodies (there's a shovel somewhere), windshields, and wild paint jobs ― flames, camouflage, teeth. The winners reach speeds of better than 70 miles per hour, as white powder rooster-tails behind them. Like ordinary shovels, they can move a lot of snow.
INFO: Angel Fire Resort (www.angelfireresort.com or 800/633-7463) is 150 miles north of Albuquerque via State 434.