Stowe Derby XC ski race introduces new fatbike competitor class

For the 70th edition of the Stowe Derby an unprecedented class of competitor will be introduced. In addition to classic nordic skiing and skate ski categories a new fatbike class will be added for winter cycling competitors and enthusiasts.
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 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 race attracts some 600 participants annually and for many, the challenging 20km course and its famous kamikaze 4 mile descent down the Toll Road has become somewhat of a rite of passage in the world of cross country ski racing.
In 2015, the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club is proud to partner up with Mountain Bike Vermont to present the fatbike portion of the Stowe Derby. The race will include 100 fatbike riders competing in a parallel format to the traditional Derby race model. Once all ski competitors have completed the 4 mile descent down the Toll Road, cycling participants will follow suit, leaving from a non-lift accessed start gate situated on the upper trails of the Stowe Mountain Resort Touring Center. Departing from the shoulder of Mount Mansfield, competitors descend 650 vertical feet over the 14km of the remaining ski racecourse. Like the skiers before them, fatbike racers will navigate through Stowe’s hillside terrain followed by a sprint down the scenic rec path before crossing the finish in front of the jeering fans in the center of Stowe Village.
“We thought it fitting to add a new tradition on the Derby’s 70th Birthday,” says Pascale Savard, 15 year lead organiser of the event presented by the Mount Mansfield Ski Club. “By introducing a fatbike competitor class we bring new life and excitement to the event, and many regular competitors intend to compete in both.”
With the addition of cycling class the Derby will now offer a “Fat-Meister” category. Ski racers from the freestyle race will also be able to compete as cyclists. Combined times will be added and the fastest skiing/rider competitor will take away the first ever “Fat-Meister” crown.
“Why add fatbiking?” Co-organiser Ryan Thibault of Mountain Bike Vermont asks. “Fatbiking is the fastest growing segment of the mountain bike industry and has received massive publicity over the past couple years in New England and Quebec. The technology has been proven and tons of folks have bought into the sport. They want a forum to show what they can do. What better outlet than a 70 year old ski race that’s had a reputation for being outside the box since it’s inception!”
The Stowe Derby is excited to make fatbiking the newest tradition to the oldest downhill cross-country race in the country.
The race is on Sunday, February 22, 2015.
Registration for all races opens on November 7th.
Evan Johnson

Evan Johnson

Evan Johnson is the staff writer for Vermont Sports Magazine. The native Vermonter enjoys steep and deep skiing and wandering all over the state by Subaru. Find him on Twitter at @evanisathome.