Inaugural Caribbean Roller Ski Festival Draws on Local Experience and Advice

FasterSkierSeptember 22, 2023

The first full week of May 2024 sees the launch of the inaugural roller ski festival on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba. The event is likely the first ski festival anywhere in the Caribbean.

The courses were tested earlier this year by a team comprising Jackson, NH, XC head groomer Silas Eastman, Colby College Head Coach Tracey Cote, Quarry Road, Waterville, ME, program Director Patrick Cote, and Jackson ski patroller Deeanna Eastman. In addition to the (roller) skiing they made use of hiking and running trails that abound on this small but mountainous island, and enjoyed the hospitality, swimming and snorkeling, and uniquely uncommercial island vacation experience.

Left to right at the Juancho E. Yrausquin airport, Saba, parking lot about to begin the climb to Hell’s Gate as part of the first-ever week of skiing on Saba:
Patrick Cote, Tracey Cote, Silas Eastman, Deeanna Esatman
(Credit: Lincoln Charles)

The three-race festival with overall winners determined by cumulative times follows the island’s second annual 10K race on Sunday May 5, and skiers receive free entry to this race. Festival dates also coincide with the start of the island’s low season, so travel and accommodation rates are well below the high-season peaks. Two of the island’s principal hotels, Juliana’s and the Cottage Club, are offering 50 percent off accommodation to race participants while space is available.


The Saba Ski Festival offers a fun transition from snow to summer. On a technical note, the test team reported that Saba’s concrete (and pothole-free) roads are best suited for classic technique. They also reported that these courses favor technique and form over pure strength. What better way to celebrate the end of one season and the start of the next?

Racers will be accompanied by a lead police vehicle and supported by a trailing van. Transport to and from each race is provided, and ski storage will be available at certain times at the top of the designed test road so skiers can combine a practice run with a trail hike.

The ski team and Saba Tourism officials including race timer Jochem Batstra (far left, second row), police chief Wingrove Baker (fourth from left second row)
Commissioner Bruze Zagers (far right, second row), director of tourism Malinda Hassell (far left, front row), sports policy advisor Lauren Risley (second from left, front row)
(Credit: Lincoln Charles)

The event schedule allows participants and non-skiing friends/guests to take advantage of everything else Saba has to offer.

Early bird registration through the festival’s official timer’s web site is $65.

Saba is a short ferry ride from Saint Maarten, which is a 4-hour non-stop flight from various U.S. East Coast cities . Connections from the airport to the ferry are easily made by taxi.

Saba is part of the Netherlands, but English is the most commonly spoken language and the U.S dollar is the legal tender. A valid passport is required but no visa is needed for US passport holders.

For further information, email Chris at

For more about Saba Tourism.

Read the full news article here.


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