June 22, 2016

2015 Dirksen Derby

I’d been hearing about how fun Josh Dirksen’s charity banked slalom event at Mt Bachelor was for a couple years. And with all the hype surrounding El Niño I figured this season would be the one to go all in on. So after a few seasons of forgoing snow in favour of surf, I warmed up the credit card, dropped in on a new setup and took of for the not-so-blue skies of the Pacific Northwest hub of Bend, Oregon for what I hoped would be a fun weekend away…

I got the invite from filmmaker Jake Price to come up to his place in Bend for ‘the Derby’, a friendly charity contest Josh Dirksen started a few years back to help local Tyler Eklund with medical and living expenses. It’s fair to say it’s grown into a staple on the ‘fun contest’ calendar with Bend and Mt Bachelor hosting the banked slalom as well as an art and film festival.

A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to get this years Dirksen Derby together. Good thing starter @graykale let @joshdirksen drop first. #dirksenderby #dirksenderby9

A video posted by Rick Baker (@popmag) on

I cannot say enough how fun not only this event is, but the whole vibe Mt Bachelor has at this early time of the season. Everyone is just out to have fun and snowboard. From watching childhood idols Scotty Whitlake and Josh Dirksen to chasing Curtis Ciszek, Eero Neimela and Pat Moore over jumps, I couldn’t have felt luckier to be an Australian on the other side of the world. Big shout out to Jake Price for letting me tag along.

Martin Ciszek was most gracious in showing me the right lines through the amateur course. He’d go on to win it but you wouldn’t have known by his attitude. Such a good dude.

If you’re in the Mt Bachelor area this coming season, I can’t recommend both the Dirksen Derby and the mountain enough. So much fun. I’ll do that event every year now I hope.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, good things happen when you change your ticket. Within hours I'd been invited to shred a closed to the public @skihoodoo to ride powder and session this cat-track gap with @wolfgangnyvelt, @jpminibike, @scottyconerly, @pete_alport and @wittwear. Yep, Wolle hit this on his Aesmo!

A photo posted by Rick Baker (@popmag) on

It turns at the hype around El Niño was real. It dumped 9 feet of snow over the first few weeks of December. Needless to say I wasn’t about to leave. The second I changed my ticket to stay Jake had me going to another local mountain, Hoodoo, for a photoshoot with Wolle Nyvelt and his Aesmo board. Of course we scored feet of new snow and a closed to the public mountain. A once in a lifetime experience for me.

See you there next year.

by Rick