McDonald’s Cardboard Derby

cardboard derby

The McDonald’s Cardboard Derby at Purgatory Resort is a classic winter competition you won’t want to miss! Build your derby racer out of cardboard and duct tape only, and pilot it down the slopes during one of the most fun days on the mountain!

Watch as teams compete in vessels made entirely out of cardboard and duct tape. Or, sign up yourself and participate in the fun. All it takes is some creativity, engineering skills, and courage.

Register Now!

Need inspiration? Check out this How To video from the 2016 Derby.

McDonalds logoNeed Supplies?

McDonald’s (201 W. College Drive) has heaps of cardboard to give away FREE so you can build your best derby vessel.  Just swing by and ask for the general manager.



Cardboard Derby Rules

Build your vessel before derby day.  Take as much time as you want to plan, design, and build.

Your derby vessel must consist of the following materials only:  cardboard, duct tape, string, twine, paint. Each vessel will be inspected by our judges at check-in to ensure that it complies with the rules.

Vessels will navigate the course one at a time. This is a derby, not a race.

Your objective is to successfully pilot your vessel down the course towards the scoring zone at the bottom. Your vessel must come to a stop on its own.  You cannot use your arms or legs as brakes.

All participants must wear helmets.

Children under 6 must co-pilot with an adult. Sorry, children under 3 may not participate.

Each vessel may only be used by one participant or team.

Judging & Prizes

Each vessel will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Proximity to the scoring zone
  • Creativity of concept and design
  • Enthusiasm

Prizes may be awarded for any or all of the following:

  • Funniest derby vessel name
  • Largest derby vessel
  • Loudest competitors
  • Slowest vessel
  • Most colorful derby vessel
  • Most creative vessel
  • Best costumes

Competition Categories

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Solo Pilot — 16 and under
  • Solo Pilot — 17 and over
  • Team — 16 and under
  • Team — 17 and over
  • Team — Adult and Kid
  • Local Business Sponsored Vessel

Event Schedule

10:00 am: Check-In

10:30 am: Mandatory Participant Meeting

11:00 am: Cardboard Derby

12:30 pm:  Awards Ceremony


Registration and Entry Fees

Space is limited to 30 registrants. This event will fill up!

Registration Date: Entry Fee
By February 28 $10
March 1 – March 10 $15
Derby day $20


Email Matthew Krichman, Events Manager, [email protected]

Tips for building your derby racer:

  • Sled-shaped vessels tend to get the best momentum — long and narrow.
  • Duct-tape on the bottom of your vessel increases momentum.
  • There are different kinds of cardboard.  The kind with plastic coating will slide better.
  • Weight distribution matters.  The heavy part of the sled (wherever you are seated) will naturally “want” to be in front.  This means that rear-weighted vessels will tend to spin 180 degrees and send you down backwards.
  • Adding “runners” to the bottom of your vessel may increase your speed by reducing surface friction with the snow.
  • Weight = speed.  All other things being equal, adding bodies to your vessel will cause it to go faster.

Post courtesy of PurgatorySki

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