You might think a snow shovel is only used when your mom or dad asks you to clear the sidewalk in the winter, but it's also used for one of winter's fastest and most bizarre sports. It's called shovel racing and it involves racing down a snow covered mountain while sitting on a shovel.
Shovel Racing - The BeginningShovel racing got its start in the 1970s as a way for ski lift operators to get down the hill once the ski lifts closed. They would always have a snow shovel with them, so they started racing each other down the mountain using the shovel as a sled. Since then, it's become a sport with worldwide competitions.
Shovel Racing - The End of an EraThe World Shovel Racing Championships were the ultimate show-down between the world's best shovel racers before they were canceled in 2005. The Championships were axed after being held at the Angelfire Resort in New Mexico for 30 years. Event organizers say the event was cancelled over concerns about lawsuits from injured participants. In the event's heyday, racers would fly down a 1,000 foot course with speeds reaching more than 75mph.
Shovel Racing - The EquipmentSome racers modify their shovels to make them more aerodynamic like some sort of "winter spacecraft." These babies can power down the mountain at more than 75mph! The World Championships also had a category for the Wackiest Shovel - where racers turn their shovel machines into hot air balloons and sandwiches. In past years, competitors have even decked out their shovels to look like cartoon characters, such as Bart Simpson. Some shovels are even equipped with state-of-the-art braking systems that use a nitrogen gas-powered ram to push a cultivator plow into the ground and stop the shovel.