Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Angel Fire's annual shovel races feature speed in spades.(Outdoors & Recreation)

Byline: Will Webber Journal Staff Writer

ANGEL FIRE After Mark Bradford had finally bolted down the fiberglass canopy on his girlfriend's sled, he knelt on one knee and passed along a bit of pertinent advice.

"Hey, just relax. Stay calm and try to keep the thing as steady as you can," he said. "You'll be all right as long as you don't hit the brakes or try to steer too much."

With her crash helmet securely fastened against her chin and her body strapped to the sled with recycled seat belts and bungee cords and bits of rope, all Elizabeth Lenningham could do was smile and shout a muffled response from inside the craft. She could barely even move her hands.

Bradford spit out his last-second instructions as he and members of the Angel Fire Resort ski patrol pushed Lenningham's 500-pound sled into position at the top of the run and let go.

"Oh, and remember, whatever you do, don't touch any of the buttons on the way down," he added lastly, "because they'll only throw you off course."

Thirteen seconds later, Lenningham's machine deployed a pair of small orange parachutes as it hissed across the finish line at the bottom of the hill. …

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