More than 900 competitors faced the ultimate test Sunday as they battled rough terrain and icy conditions -- 2,600 feet down Mount Mansfield on skinny skis. "It's just really narrow and fast and fun -- just a huge adventure," said one Stowe Derby racer.
"Bus loads of people get dropped off at the finish line and it does attract hundreds of people at the tail end of a holiday week, so it's great timing for everything," said Micheal Colbourn with Stowe Mountain Resort.
The 69th annual Stowe Derby challenges skiers of all levels to complete the event with just one pair of skis. "I thought I was gonna fall right out of the starting gate but I didn't, so it was ok," said racer Katie Burke.
Skiers joined the derby for a donation of $5. "The race is co-hosted by the resort, the alpine sections and the Mount Mansfield Ski Club -- and there's a local organizer. The proceeds from the registration do go to support the Mount Mansfield Ski Club," Colbourn said.
Participants entered the freestyle or classic category. Most racers finished strong, despite the weather. "For the classic race, being kind of hovering around freezing with the sun shining, it's a little bit hard to get the right wax, so that's definitely the biggest challenge," said Chris Ziegler with VTX City Ski Team.
For others, preparation for one of the toughest races in Vermont was the easy. "I did two training sessions with a bunch of other people in my group and that was it," said first time racer Maddie Olton.
And after taking the title of first place there was only one thing on Tim Reynolds mind. "I was thinking about how I was tired," he said.
Reporter Melissa Howell: That's all you were thinking about?
Tim Reynolds: "Yea, and there's free cheese and sausage on that table over there which are also pretty exciting.
Aside from the tasty treats waiting at the bottom of the trails, the Stowe Derby is an event these skiers say they'll return to next year. "Everyone should come out and try this cause it's such a vintage Vermont event," said racer Eli Enman.
A Vermont tradition wrapping up winter with a bang.