Stowe Derby

January 13, 2019

One of the oldest and most unique ski races in North America will return to Stowe for its 75th year. On January 13, 2019, the tradition of the Stowe Derby will once again bring together generations of families from all over to take part in the challenging 20 kilometer (km) cross-country ski course throughout Stowe. This race has provided lasting memories to participants as they ski down Mount Mansfield’s Toll Road and along the Stowe Recreation Path before reaching the finish in the Stowe village. The course has a total vertical drop of almost 2,700 feet. With one of the largest and most diverse trail systems in the United States, Stowe ranks as one of the top cross-country skiing destinations on the east coast, including over 3,000 acres of conserved land.

The inspiring people who have taken on the challenge is what makes the Stowe Derby so special. It all started in 1945 as a personal challenge between Sepp Ruschp who was hired to come to America to head the new ski school at Stowe Mountain Resort, and Erling Strom, world-famous mountaineer from Norway. Today, the race attracts competitors, ranging from National Ski Team members and NCAA Champions to recreational skiers looking for a thrill. The winners will complete the course in about 43 minutes, while recreational skiers can take a couple of hours to go the same distance. While the race can be very competitive, it is also fun and carried on to this day by skiers of all ages. Competitors even 80 years old still gather together to take part in this annual race, bringing their children and even grandchildren along for the ride. The Stowe Derby has become an important tradition that creates community, strong bonds and life-long memories. The Stowe Derby is organized by the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club (MMSC), one of the oldest ski racing organizations in America founded in 1920 by a small group of passionate local skiers.

In addition to the Long Course, the Stowe Derby now features a Fat Bike Race, the Derby Meister for those seeking an extra challenge, and the Short Course designed for children ages 6 and up or those who prefer a less rigorous and sustained descent. An awards ceremony and after-party will be held at the von Trapp Brewing & Bierhall where a prize will be awarded to the person wearing the best Derby Hat.

Come out, have some fun and experience for yourself the heart of the Stowe Derby. Registration is still open for the next event on January 13, 2019. Cross-country ski and fat bike rentals are available at shops in town.

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 Photo courtesy: Stowe Derby