The oldest downhill and cross country ski race in North America returns

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 23, 2010 8:01 am

                                                               65th Annual Stowe Derby This Sunday February 28


STOWE, VT – On Sunday, February 28, nearly one thousand competitors will race from the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, to historic Main Street in the village of Stowe. Over the course participants ski 10 miles (16km) of diverse and challenging terrain, downhill on Stowe Mountain Resort’s Toll Road trail, through their Nordic Center and along the entire length of Stowe’s Recreation Path; before reaching the finish in Stowe village. The course has a vertical drop of almost 3,000 feet. Winners complete the course in less than 40 minutes, while more recreational skiers take hours to go the same distance.

Annual participants range from International Cross Country Ski Team Members and NCAA Champions to all skiers looking for a fun challenge amidst New England’s original home of skiing. While the race can be competitive at all levels, it is also a fun race, having been chosen as one of the top public ski races in the U.S. There is also a Derby Short Course; designed for children ages 5 and up or those who prefer to avoid the long and sustained descent down Mt. Mansfield; this race is approximately 6 km. The first group of competitors start their decent of the mountain at 10am. Spectators can view the downhill portion at various points throughout Stowe Mountain Resort and the cross country portion throughout the town of Stowe. Finish festivities take place by Stowe’s famed Steeple Church on Main Street.

History of the Derby – The Stowe Derby is one of the oldest and most unique ski races in North America. Started in 1945 as a personal challenge between two virtuoso skiers; Austrian, Sepp Ruschp who was hired to come to America and head the new ski school at Stowe and Erling Strom, a world famous mountaineer from Norway. The challenge was the same as it is today – race from the top of Mt. Mansfield to the village of Stowe. Billed as the ultimate test of a skier’s ability and all-around-skills, Ruschp was the winner of the first Stowe Derby. Registration closes on February 27 at 12 noon.