A Guide to an Adventure Packed Weekend at the World Championship Derby Complex

Kortnee Hass

December 15, 2020

Known as the “Indianapolis 500 of Snowmobile Racing,” the World Championship Derby is not only the largest and most prestigious snowmobile competition in the sport, it is one of the highest-ranking winter sports events in the Midwest. Recognized Internationally as the world’s premier snowmobile racing event with over 1,400 entries from all over the United States, Canada and beyond.
First-time visitors and sports enthusiasts can enjoy seeing high-tech snowmobiles reach speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour on a solid ice oval.


Snowmobile racing and Eagle River have become so deeply intertwined for the past 4 decades that the names are almost synonymous. The history of snowmobiles started in Vilas County long before the first eagle River race in 1964. The sport actually has its beginning some 40 years before that when Carl Eliason of Sayner invented the first snowmobile that could be related to the present machines. Although it was more of a snow toboggan, it has the same principles, and a rack to drive the machine over the snow.

The Eagle River Derby Track’s history is long and proud. While each year brings new challenges and changes, fans and racers have yet to be disappointed by what the Derby offers as the first-rate entertainment and world-class snowmobiling racing. To ensure the health and safety of all, the World Championship Derby Complex has been working hard to put safety first for their visitors and community members by following state and county guidance and protocols.

Things to do during the Weekend

The World Championship Derby Complex is a multi-use facility that includes, but is not limited to a race track, convention center, music venue, and bar. With a wide variety of activities and elements for all attendees to enjoy such as kids races and hot seats for those visitors not accustomed to the Northwoods colder temperatures.
Some of the activities you will find during the derby weekend:

  • USSA Ice Oval Class World Champions Races and feature World Champion Crowned
  • Vintage snowmobile display

For all derby event, dates and tickets, visit derbycomplex.com

Where to Stay

Wild Eagle Lodge – After an adventure-packed day at the race tracks, take a step back to reset and relax at Wild Eagle Lodge. You are sure to relax with great indoor amenities like a heated swimming pool, hot tube, or sauna, just to name a few. For more information on amenities and COVID-19 precautions read our blog on Wild Eagle Lodge.

Where to Eat

During the derby events, food and beverage vendors will be available in the expo hall. For breakfast and dinner, here are a few of our favorite spots to stops:
Leif’s Café – A family-friendly restaurant located close to the World Championship Derby Race Track.  Leif servers a wide variety of home-cooked breakfast, lunches and dinners. If you visit recommend you try their breakfast menu or famous chicken and dumpling.
The Craftsman American Tavern – A blend of Northwoods and modern charm, this casual dining aims to be unique and family-friendly. Specializing in Wisconsin Craft Burgers, Beer and cocktails. Serves lunch and dinner.
Kickback Grill – A lakeside upscale dining option located on Duck Lake. During summer days dock your boat or during the winter months, arrive by snowmobile. Serving lunch and dinner.
*Due to COVID-19, please call venues directly to confirm hours of operation

Snowmobiling is a decades-long tradition in Eagle River, and the World Championship Snowmobile Derby showcases that tradition to the world. If you’re planning on attending or have attended before, in the comment below let us know what is/was your favorite event!

You May Also Like…

Peaceful Paddles in Wisconsin

Peaceful Paddles in Wisconsin

As the budding begins, new opportunities arise–like peaceful paddles in Wisconsin! Home to two Great Lakes, 66 state...