TELLURIDE – The wind at your back, the sun on your face, racing down a snowy slope with a sled made of cardboard beneath your seat. Sunday marks the return of a beloved event: the Cardboard Sled Derby, a day of duct tape-filled fun brought to the ski area by the One to One San Miguel Mentoring Program.
For years, kids from throughout the region buckled up their racing helmets and gave their homemade sleds a pat for good luck before racing down the snow-covered slopes of the lift 2, as part of the regional nonprofit’s biggest and most popular family event of the year.
After a five-year hiatus, the Cardboard Sled Derby is back, taking to the slopes this Sunday, March 24.
The One to One organization is dedicated to empowering regional children through professionally supported mentor relationships. In the words of One to One board member Rick Fusting, “It’s all about the kids.”
And that’s the kids who make the sled derby happen.
“It is not just about the fastest racer,” Fusting observed. Rather, “The fun starts much earlier, as kids and their mentors and parents start the creative process of designing and building the sled. It is this time together that results in a great bonding experience.” Fusting says of the once-annual event, which started in the mid-1990s and in the subsequent decade became an anticipated and well-attended Telluride tradition, “The kids love it. Race day is so much fun and you can see the excitement in their eyes.”
Telluride residents now well into their 20s remember the early days of the sled derby with great fondness – one of them is Bailey Mallette, who not quite two decades ago with his racing car-shaped cardboard box sled.
The One to One Cardboard Sled Derby has returned, Fusting said, thanks to renewed support from the Telluride Ski Resort - and Chuck Horning and Jeff Proteau.
Kids ages 5-17 from Telluride, Norwood, Mountain Village, Ridgway, Ouray and beyond have been busy building their sleds, which must have sides of at least six inches and cannot be built with metal tape, ropes, or strings (waxing is permitted.)
The Cardboard Sled Derby takes place on Sunday, March 24 at the Telluride Ski Resort’s lift 2. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m., with a 10:30 a.m. race time.
This event is sponsored by the Telluride Ski Resort, Johnson Family Foundation, Aplin Masonry, Nevasca Realty, Telluride Properties, Two Skirts, the Elks Club, Flavor Telluride, Dancing Bear Ranch and Kurucz Development Company. Special thanks to supporters Allan Gerstle, Land Title, The Harvey Team, Todd Creel, Telluride Coffee Roasters/The Steaming Bean, Telluride Daily Planet, Watch Newspapers, Baked in Telluride, and the Elks Lodge. The event is free and open to the public.