– The oldest downhill cross-country ski race in North America –
Stowe, Vermont – The honor, bragging rights and camaraderie of competing in the oldest downhill cross-country ski race in North America keep competitors coming back each year to Stowe, Vermont. The historic New England ski town at the base of Mount Mansfield will once again draw the best skiers from far and wide for the 68th edition of the Stowe Derby on Sunday, February 24, 2013. This downhill and cross-country combined ski race brings out competitive and recreational skiers alike, lured by the unique and challenging course, energetic crowds and the prestige of taking a top finish in this historic, multi-faceted test of a skiers’ skill and fitness.
“An influx of early registrations has us believing the 68th Stowe Derby could be one of the most highly contested yet,” said event organizer Pascale Savard. “There’s the prestige of participating in one of North America’s longest running ski races, and there’s also the fun of being a part of skiing history. The race always brings together the ski community, from elite athletes to spectators lining the course, all eager to see who can out-ski the pack.”
Participants ski a total of 20km of challenging terrain over the course of the race, starting with the exhilarating 4-mile descent down the curvy Mt. Mansfield Toll Road. Alpine skiers and stronger XC downhillers always shine in this portion of the race, but Nordies typically make a quick comeback. Once the course connects to Stowe Mountain Resort’s and Trapp Family Lodge’s cross country ski trails, sound XC ski technique and perhaps a quick touch up on wax will change the outcome of the race – this is where battle truly begins! Finally, at the Stowe Recreation Path, crowds cheer on racers to give it their all for the final 5 miles leading to the finish in Stowe village. The course has a total vertical drop of over 2,600 feet taking between 45 minutes to several hours to finish. One pair of skis, heavy legs, burning lungs and a mix of skiing backgrounds makes for an exciting and contentious race.
The Stowe Derby started in 1945 as a personal challenge between two amazing skiers – Austrian Sepp Ruschp, an alpine skier who was hired to come to America and head the new ski school at Stowe, and Erling Strom, a Nordic skier and world famous mountaineer from Norway. The challenge was the same as it is today: to race from the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, to the town of Stowe, on one pair of skis. Ruschp was the winner of the first Stowe Derby – and a tradition was born. Today, the race attracts hundreds of competitors, ranging from NCAA Champions to Masters competitors, to High School team racers and recreational skiers of all ages.
Skiers can select between freestyle or classic divisions, and experts have the option to do both back-to-back in the Derby Meister. Families with children ages 6 and up can enjoy the short 5km course along the Stowe Rec Path. The EverBank Team Challenge has been popular with groups of friends forming teams of four to battle it out for great prizes awarded after the race.
Online registration for the Stowe Derby is open, and racers who have competed in the past two years’ races will get seeded by signing up before February 19th. All other entrants are entered in order of entry submission. Visit www.stowederby.com or contact Pascale Savard at email@example.com for more information and like the Facebook page for updates.
The Stowe Derby is presented by Concept 2 of Morrisville, Vermont.
Photos of the 2012 Stowe Derby courtesy of Ben Bloom: