The Stowe Derby is one of the oldest and unique ski races in North America. It started in 1945 as a personal bet between two amazing skiers: Sepp Ruschp, an Austrian, and the head of Stowe’s new ski school, and Erling Strom, a world-famous mountaineer from Norway.
Their challenge was simple: a race from the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, to the historic village of Stowe, on a single pair of skis. Ruschp believed that his Alpine skis were the fastest , whereas Strom argued Nordic skis would be the better choice.
After much debate, the two decided to race. Sepp Ruschp, on alpine gear, was the winner of the first two Stowe Derbies. Today, modern Nordic skis are the equipment of choice, and the race attracts competitors, ranging from National Ski Team members and NCAA Champions to recreational skiers looking for a thrill.
This year’s edition was won by our very own Facilities Engineer, Charlie Maitland. We asked Charlie to tell us about this amazing event and why it’s been such a huge part of his life.