Stowe Derby

The Stowe Derby returned in 2019 after a three-year hiatus due to poor snow conditions. There was plenty of pow this year, as the race date was moved up to January, but racers had to contend with arctic air. Locals woke up to a low of -17 degrees around 8 a.m.; by afternoon, the mercury peaked at just 13 above zero.

In recent times, the Stowe Derby has been like the Winter Olympics —held once every few years. It’s supposed to be annual, but bad weather has conspired to delay or cancel the Derby several times. The Derby is uniquely Stowe’s — a race from the top of Mount Mansfield to Stowe village, using just one pair of skis. It was born as a challenge in 1945 between the head of the ski school and a famous mountaineer. The ski school guy, Sepp Ruschp, won the first two Derbies on his alpine gear, but Nordic skis now rule — when there’s enough snow to run the race.

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