Olympic Valley, CA. (APRIL 15, 2019) – First of its kind event, Red Bull Raid descended on Squaw Valley’s Silverado ski area on April 13, tasking 60 enthusiastic competitors with a fast up and skillful down in an all out earn-your-turns backcountry-inspired contest. Squaw Valley, a breeding ground of some of the world’s best big mountain freeski and freeride athletes, and home to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, was the perfect location, terrain and athlete-wise, for an event such as Red Bull Raid.
The skiers and splitboarders, male and female, took on the spring skiing conditions with valor, using season-long training to bring backcountry skills to the resort, and at the same time, opening up the oft underrepresented sport of human-powered ski and splitboard touring. The competition was composed of two parts: men’s and women’s combined ski touring or splitboarding up and then the descent on the same equipment. Limited to 60 total competitors, the categories include men’s ski, men’s splitboard, women’s ski and women’s splitboard.
Each run was able to score a maximum of 200 points: 100 for the climb and 100 for the descent. The first competitor to reach the top in each category scored the maximum 100 points for the climb, with each subsequent position facing an incremental deduction of one point. The descent was scored by a panel of three judges on three categories: style, line and control.
The two heats and subsequent finals saw blistering uphill climb times from the top competitors, the record uphill time of 15:12 minutes from Squaw resident, and 2nd place overall in men’s ski, Kyle Cota. Red Bull athletes Daron Rahlves and JT Holmes each placed 2nd in their heats and took on the finals with a vengeance, both performing huge airs and drops over different cliff sections of the course to impress the judges and wow the crowd of spectators swarming the finish zone.
In a Le Mans-style start for the finals, all skiers and splitboard athletes, male and female, took to the course together, with the fastest to the top and most styling to the bottom taking top honors. With a potential total of 400 point to accumulate, the overall winners are as follows:
First in women’s ski was Anna Sullivan, home resort of Mont Tremblant, QC with 333 total points.
First in men’s ski was Daron Rahlves from local Sugar Bowl Resort, CA with 365 total points.
First in women’s splitboard was Jaime Vincent, hailing from her home resort of Bear Creek, PA with 308 total points.
First in men’s splitboard was Brian Stenerson from nearby mountain resort, Kirkwood, CA with 344 total points.
Daron Rahlves, winner of men’s ski category said, "There are a lot of people out there now doing backcountry touring who are looking for the best lines and snow. Red Bull Raid incorporates more of an overall experience that's inbounds. You have to be in shape to hustle up the hill and you also have to back it up with a good line that has it all: line selection, speed, air, style, fluidity. To win took someone who has strengths in both."
Judging the stacked field were pro-skier Amie Engerbretson, pro-big mountain snowboarder Sammy Luebke, and AFP Platinum judge and pro-skier Mike Laroche, using their combined expertise and racing backgrounds for this innovative new event and amalgamation of disciplines to identify the mountain athletes at the top of their game.
An event that evolved with athlete input, and was years in the making, Red Bull Raid recognizes the ultimate mountain athlete; the combination of both speed-based touring and style-based freeskiing and riding.
Additional information and results can be found here.
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