When I found out that only 25 miles from my home there’d be outhouse races—outdoor potty houses on skis competitively sliding down a snowy slope—I couldn’t wait to “go.”
As soon as I arrived at Ski Sapphire Valley, I checked out the lineup of contestant vehicles, most of them made from wood and all of them fulfilling the requirements of a “seat with at least one hole” and “a roll of toilet paper or alternative wiping source.”
The names of the entries really appealed to my Rabelaisian sense of humor: One of my favorites was a Flintstones-themed racer called Yabba Dabba Doo-Doo. Another favorite, Poop Coop, was constructed mainly of chicken wire and feathers and was later piloted by a man-sized yellow chicken (a person in a yellow chicken costume, anyway).
The Humane Society-sponsored K-9 Urination Station looked like a giant red fire hydrant. Inside it was a “master hole” for males and a “squatter hole” for females. This fire hydrant racer looked amazing, incredible, fantastic! I just have to gush. At race time, a giant dog occupied the “driver’s” seat. I’m pretty sure this entry is the reason the event was scheduled to be live-streamed.
Other entries included Party Pooper, Taking Care of Business, Royal Flush, and Who Cut the Cheese? Sometimes, people really restore your faith in humanity.
Each entry had a three-person team: two pushers and one to ride inside the contraption as it hurtled down the slope unsteerable and without brakes. I don’t think these riders have an official title, but I’d suggest “privy pilots,” “commode commanders,” or perhaps “john jockeys.” These people are intrepid, possessing absolutely no end of derring-doo.
The racers compete two at a time, and it’s a double “elimination” contest, so each team gets to go at least twice. The heats are known as “runs,” and, believe me, there’s nothing like a whole afternoon of runs. Teams have to push their privies up the slope themselves, so there’s a good bit of effort and straining involved before anything happens.
The race begins by pitting #1 against #2. Savvy readers have by now realized that, really, the whole thing is a contest focused on #1 and #2.
The outhouse sleds often bump into each other or veer off center and hit the snow bank lining the course, so there are some hair-raising crashes, better known in outhouse racing circles as “accidents” or “wipeouts.” I’m not sure which term is more appropriate. Which sounds better: “Several people in outhouses had accidents,” or “several people seated in outhouses ended up wiping out?” These falling-over failures are so common that even finishing the run is basically a crap shoot. When the inside riders survive these spills unharmed, I can assure you everybody is relieved.
Often it’s hard to tell who’s winning since every entry is always a head. But on this day it came down to a final run between Poop Coop and Confession Session, an outhouse in the guise of a little white church with angel wings painted on the sides. Poop Coop flew down the slope. It was beautiful, like watching poultry in motion. But apparently angels fly even faster than fowl, for on this fine day, it was ultimately Confession Session that would sit upon the throne. Did it win because it was the hole-iest? Who can say?
If you’re a student of scatology, outhouse racing may be right up your alley, too. How often do you get to see someone dressed as a poo emoji do a victory dance? How often do you get to attend an event that all day long it’s just one big potty atmosphere?
Was it totally perfect? Maybe not. But I do think it truthfully can be said that in the end, everything came out all right.
(Photos by Carolyn Elkins)