The Heart of the Stowe Derby

February 16, 2018


Stowe ranks as one of the top cross-country skiing destinations on the east coast and is also home to the “#1 Cross-Country Ski Resort in the U.S.” (USA Today). On Sunday, February 25, one of the oldest and most unique ski races in North America will return to Stowe for its 73rd year.

The tradition of the Stowe Derby has brought 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. The winners will complete the course in about 43 minutes, while recreational skiers can take a couple of hours to go the same distance.

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. The Stowe Derby challenge is still carried on to this day by skiers of all ages and has become an important tradition that creates community, strong bonds and life-long memories. 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.

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. Registration is still open for this year’s Stowe Derby courses. To register visit Cross-country ski and fat bike rentals are available at shops in town.

Come out, have some fun and experience for yourself the heart of the Stowe Derby.

 Photo courtesy: Stowe Derby