The Stowe Derby is one of the oldest and most unique ski races in North America. It started in 1945 as a personal challenge between two amazing skiers- Austrian, Sepp Ruschp who was hired to come to America and head the new ski school at Stowe and Erling Strom, world famous mountaineer from Norway. The challenge was the same as it is today – a race from the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak to the historic village of Stowe… on a single pair of skis. The ultimate test of a skiers ability. Ruschp was the winner of the first Stowe Derby.
Today, the race attracts over 900 competitors, ranging from Canadian Cross Country Ski Team members and NCAA Champions to recreational skiers looking for a thrill. While the race can be very competitive at all levels, it is also a fun race, having been chosen as one of the top sporting events in the state by readers of Vermont Sports Magazine.
Over the course, participants ski through approximately 20 km of challenging terrain, racing down Mt. Mansfield’s Toll Road and along the Stowe Recreation Path before reaching the finish at The Stowe High School. 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 Derby Short Course is designed for children ages 6 and up or those who prefer to avoid the rigors of a long and sustained descent. The specific portion of the race attracts around about 100 competitors. The 6 km course begins in a mass start near the Stowe Recreation Path Parking Lot at and follows the final leg of the Long Course.