Competitions: Play Your Own Games

Feb 1, 2006
Outside Magazine

KINGS OF THE HILL: Derby de La Meije, La Grave, France    Photo: Bertrand Boone/Derby de La Meije

Derby de la Meije, La Grave, France, April 4–7
The rules are simple: Get from the top to the bottom of Vallons de la Meije ski area as fast as possible, by nearly any route. In a good year, about 1,000 snowboarders and tele-, mono-, and alpine skiers take on the nearly 7,000-vertical-foot, off-piste challenge. Whether you ski it or decide to skip it, be sure to stick around for the four-day festival, which includes rock, reggae, and electronica.

Engadin SkiMarathon, Maloja to S-Chanf, Switzerland, March 12
Gliding over 27 miles of frozen lakes and through forests and meadows requires a lot of endurance and heavy breathing, but more than 12,000 cross-country skiers—rom world-class fitness freaks to lounge lizards—ign up each year. Chase the course record of one hour 32 minutes or take it slow and soak in the splendor of the Engadin Valley.

Giro d'Italia, Italy, May 21–28
Followed by the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, the Giro is the year's first grand-tour stage race. Ride Strong ( offers one-week trips that let you spin ahead of all the pros on the tough midrace mountain stages in the Dolomites.

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