Our Stowe Derby day starts by swinging by registration to check in, pick up a lift ticket, and coordinate any last minute details. The early bib pickup system has made this process a lot easier; it used to be that there was a long line of people waiting to pick up their race packets, but now it’s a calm trickle of people.
From there, Tawny and I head to find scout a location with a view of the mountains. With the re-routed course this year, we took a few extra minutes to find a new spot. Once that’s settled upon, I rush back to the start of the short course to grab a few quick shots of the chaos that is a mass start.
While the racers are making their way back towards Tawny,
I head up to Stowe Mountain Resort to get set for the Freestyle start. The first skiers come through fast and gracefully.
It’s funny photographing on the Toll Road. I like to shoot around the first corner to get some interaction between racers (and, I’m not gonna lie, to get some great crashes.) The thing is, it’s a blind corner so I do a lot of listening to know when to shoot. Generally, the first sound you hear is skis snowplowing down the first pitch before the corner. Next, the less experienced racers will often let out a little (or sometimes big!) scream as they realize they have to turn more than 90 degrees and have no edges. From there many will fall, but nearly everyone gets up laughing.
Scrape, Scream, Fall, Laugh – the pattern continues for quite some time!
This year there were definitely some powder hounds who had to get fresh tracks where they could.
I’m not sure what it was this year, but skiers took this corner wide and a number of people came close to the wall.
A few even hit it!
Racers then continue through the bulk of the course before reaching Tawny’s spot with views of a freshly snow-covered Spruce mountain with blue skies. Hard to beat that!
So about two hours later it all begins again with the start of the Classical race. A little further down on the course this time, a crowd has gathered to watch the carnage.
This guy makes it look too easy.
When the last racers have come through, I pack up my gear and head to the finish. Tawny captures everyone in the field with the mountains or Smuggler’s Notch in the background and I get to watch racers smile as they realize they’re within a few hundred yards of the finish.
Nice work everyone! I look forward to doing it all again next year! (When, hopefully, I’ll remember the sunblock.)
You can find all photographs from the Stowe Derby right here. You can even search by bib number to order a print of yourself (or a friend.) Thanks for supporting your local photographers!