The Oldest Downhill/Cross-Country Ski Race in North America

71st Edition of the Derby is on Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Race the Derby on your skinny skis, or your fat bike... or both!

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 - to race from the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak to the historic village of Stowe... on ONE 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 20km of challenging terrain, racing down Mt. Mansfield's Toll Road and along the entire length of the Stowe Recreation Path before reaching the finish in the village. The course has a total vertical drop of over 2,600 feet. The winners will complete the course in under 45 minutes, while recreational skiers can take a couple of hours to go the same distance.

 
Fatties and Skinnies line up to race at the 70th Stowe Derby
Thursday, 26 February 2015 11:10

Stowe, Vt. - The 70th Edition of the Stowe Derby will go down in history as one of the biggest and most celebrated Derby in years. Energy around the event had been building for months and with extra press coverage in the weeks leading to the big day, the famous race saw record registration rates for the big anniversary year. Even Mother Nature cooperated delivering comfortable temperatures in the mid 30s, balmy some might even say considering a most frigid Vermont winter this year.

A solid field of 728 racers signed up, eager to make history in the legendary race. Of those participants, were also 105 snow bikers who traveled to Stowe to compete in the first edition of the Fat Derby (8.2 mile race course) or the Fat Meister (12.51 mile skate race AND Fat Derby combined). Read the fun race recap and stories from the Stowe Reporter here.

Close to 100 participants kicked off the day's activities skiing in the Short Course competition, a flat 6km along the Stowe Rec Path. Many personal bests were achieved, and some skiers posted incredible results, but ultimately, friends and family got to share a most unique and spirited day of skiing around the picturesque village of Stowe.

Next came the 20km freestyle race starting from the top of the Look Out Chairlift at 10am. Lined up 5 by 5, some 300 racers did not disappoint, posting speedy times or personal bests, entertaining the crowd with incredible crashes down the Toll Road, or displaying team colors with fun spirited costumes. Chris Ziegler, Eli Enman and Jake Barton took the top 3 spots overall for the men, while Robyn Anderson, Kathy Maddock and Jane McClelland rounded up the podium for the women.

The classic race was also well attended with 217 racers, 40 of whom were reaching the start for the second time of the day, racing as Derby Meister (both the skate AND classic race back to back.) Once again, Robyn Anderson, Kathy Maddock and Jane McClelland took the top three spots, closely followed by Sophie McClelland, Eloise Zimbelman and Mary Stewart in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively for a total of six women in the top 25. Chris Ziegler once again took the gold for the men, followed by Peter Egman and Tim Reynolds.

Soft snow brings its share of extra challenges for Derby skiers, but for Fat bikers, 8 inches of champagne powder is not your friend. The race was originally planned to start at the bottom of the Toll Road to help spread the field, but no one objected when the decision was made to move the race start to the top of the hill. In the spirit of the Stowe Derby, racers lined up 5 by 5, and were sent off DOWNHILL on Powerline, a steep and long descent before merging on to Timberlane and the original course used by all other skiers. Blogs, photos and videos have been posted here, take a few minutes to see if you would have had what it takes to take on THAT challenge.

Noah Tautfest captured the first ever Fat Derby title riding the treacherous 8.2 miles course in 46.10, and supposedly without falling once where most other riders lost track of their crashes in the soft snow. Matt Gilberston and Chris Hamlin took second and third place. The women also posted impressive results, with Elle Anderson leading the field. An accomplished road and cyclo-cross racer, she was also debuting on the fat bike at the Derby, and completed the course in 23rd place overall (out of 71 finishers) in 1.04:26. Rounding up the top four spots for the women were Lindley van der Linde, Alaina Holliday and Melissa Seib.

In the Fat Meister division, Lindley van der Linde and Melissa Seib were the only two female finishers and posted incredible times. The men's title went to Lou Bregou, followed by Doug Wellling and Brian Irwin. The complete results for this category appear at the bottom of this page.

We wish to thank EVERYONE who participated, volunteers, sponsored, helped in any way in the 70th Edition of the Stowe Derby. We hope to see you again next year on Sunday, February 28th, 2016. We will keep you posted on potential changes to the timeline of the event.

 

 
The Fat Derby gains some weight
Monday, 09 February 2015 17:30

Stowe, Vt. - Some of Stowe’s international talent, including Elle Anderson and Dylan Conte will be part of the Stowe Derby’s 70th edition. They are both coming home to race, and add some weight to the first edition of the Fat Derby.

Elle Anderson is fresh off her first season racing cyclocross in Europe. Based out of Belgium, she spent five months this fall and winter competing in a full schedule of World Cups and international races. After a bumpy season characterized by sickness, stitches to the knee, and a general adjustment to competition and life in Europe, Elle considers her season a success overall. Racing for the Belgian-based Kalas-NNOF cycling team, and one of the few American cyclocross racers competing in Europe, she garnered a handful of top-5 and top-10 results among world-class fields. A 5th place at the first round of the Cyclocross World Cup secured her a spot on the World Championship team, a race she competed in at the end of January in Tabor, Czech Republic.

A native to Stowe, she plans to spend time with her family before heading back to San Francisco, California where she currently works for Strava, the popular cycling and running app. Her visit to the area coincides with the Stowe Derby, where she will participate in the inaugural Fat Derby, riding a fat bike.

"Growing up I participated in the Stowe Derby a few times on cross-country skis. When I heard that I would be home during the race this year, and that there was a new category for bikes, I knew I had to give it a try. I think my prior experience racing cyclocross on snowy courses will serve me well" she says. “I'm really looking forward to being home after a long season of cyclocross racing, and the Fat Derby will be a perfect break from serious racing to have some fun!"

Dylan Conte is a Stowe local who grew up immersed in the MTB scene. Having cut his teeth working on bikes at iRide bike shop at the ripe age of 13, Dylan has shown a devotion to cycling ever since. Brought up in many different disciplines by a few of the town's iconic riders, he now races downhill and enduro professionally for Billy Goat Bikes, Scott, Raceface, Manitou, Mountain Khakis, Industry Nine, and Cane Creek. Dylan also gets great support from his hometown sponsors, The Alchemist, Mtbvt, and Stowe Hardware.

“I'm currently spending my winter in Asheville NC, I have a new trainer/coach and a new team all based out of the area; with those factors and the amazing riding down here living in Pisgah area has been amazing for training. For 2015 my main focuses are the US Downhill National series, US Downhill National Champs, and new for this year I will be attending 4-5 World Cup Downhill races and going after the US World Champs team.”

“I'm really exited to be racing the Stowe Derby this year on a fat bike. I had done it on skis in years past and had a lot of fun but had always thought how great it would be on a bike, so I'm pumped to see others had taken the initiative and made it happen for all of us! I think the bike event is going to exceed expectations of everyone involved and I hope that by next year we can run bikes off the top of Mt. Mansfield!” says Dylan.

There are still a few spots open for the Fat Derby. The 14km course will start at 1:30pm near the bottom of the Toll House lift at Stowe Mountain Resort and follow the same course used by the cross country skiers who all race earlier. Everyone will finish in town, behind the Stowe Community Church and reunite for a post-race party at Sushi Yoshi. Join us and demo some fat bikes, hang around the fire pit, visit the Long Trail Beer tent. Awards and prizes will start around 3pm. For more information about the Stowe Derby, or to register before the price increases this Saturday, 2/14, visit www.stowederby.com.

 

 
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