Another Stowe Derby is in the books. Congratulations to everyone involved! We were lucky enough to get some snow in the week prior to the race and conditions were nearly perfect. Warm weather on race day even made it a pleasure to stand on a mountain side for hours at a time!
My day starts with checking in and heading over to the short course start. This year, the scenery was beautiful as the first few hundred yards of the course came through the tree-lined Stowe Recreation Path. The fresh snow on the branches makes for an ideal backdrop.
While I’m shooting the start, Tawny gets settled near the end of the course. Some years, this vantage point provides a beautiful mountain backdrop, but this year we were socked in up on the hill. You can’t win them all!
After shooting the start of the short course, I head to the top of the mountain and get settled on turn one. The mountain was really quiet this year and I could clearly hear the “boop, boop, boop, boop, beep!” of the starting bell. Many of the first racers came flying around the first corner with apparent ease. You have my admiration.
Others had some trouble navigating the ice down the center, the powdery ruts along the outside, or the divots from prior competitors’ falls. You have my sympathy.
I think the photo below is my favorite position. I seem to capture one of these every year. This one scores a perfect 10.
As usual, spirits were high and most of the people that fell popped right back up with smiles on their faces. I especially liked the tutu troop’s costumes this year! A fun splash of color on a grey day.
In preparation for the classical start, I headed down the toll road a little ways to one of the more popular corners. When I arrived, it looked like many more people went over the edge than normal, but the patroller on scene said he felt it was about normal. Stowe Ski Patrol did a great job at padding the trees and saplings in the landing zone, though, and even coached skiers through extracting themselves from a difficult position. Props to them.
The classic skiers seemed to have it dialed through the corner.
Well… some did, but if you didn’t clean this corner don’t feel bad — you’re in good company.
This is Ray. He suffered some equipment issues… he broke the duckbill off of his boot while warming up at the start! Never the less, and with the assistance of a little electrical tape provided by a liftie, he started and finished the race. (Did I mention he’s skiing on his grandfather’s Bonna 1800 skis?)
Back in near the finish, skiers always round this corner and start looking for the finish. You’re almost there!
More equipment failures, apparently. This is dedication, though. He’s not walking to the finish, he was running when he passed Tawny and running when he arrived at the finish line about 1k later. How long did you run?
The nice part about being down here is that people will wander about and sometime stay to chat for a few minutes. Some people are just out to walk the dogs and others are in town on vacation, only learning of the Stowe Derby from their waitress at breakfast.
Hey wait – I recognize you!
When the action is over on the mountain, I head to the finish to catch some relieved looks as people round the last corner and cross the finish line. This guy had a mob of kids pushing him to the finish.
Careful! Just a few more yards! (He stayed upright)
See you all next year!
If you’re looking for photos of yourself, you can find them at http://benjamindbloom.com/stowederby. You can search by your bib number or just browse the whole pile of photos.