The stoke level was high after The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour wrapped up its first stop at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, February 27 and 28. Beautiful weather, amazing snow conditions, adrenaline packed racing, big airs, and even bigger smiles made for an awesome weekend that lived up to the Rahlves’ Banzai reputation. The addition of the Mini Banzai tester for kids 8-11 years old was a crowd pleaser and brought another exciting dimension to the Tour.
This year’s Tour saw many returning veteran Banzai athletes as well as a lot of new athletes which kept the competition “spicy”as Men’s Ski division winner, Josh Anderson described. “As soon you start getting into that first round of sixteen it starts heating up,” said Anderson. With the start gates dropping at the steepest part of the Wall things really heated up fast, literally from 0 to 40 mph.
The course was set by Daron Rahlves and like always he challenged the riders’ abilities in the fastest and most aggressive way possible. Starting on the near vertical drop-in, four racers fought for the “CLIFDrop Holeshot.” Conditions were bumpy and rough with chalky, wind blown snow at the top but then transitioned into some softer snow as the racers made wide G.S. turns, making their way down under the Wall chair lift and then sending it off the “Down A Deschutes” cat-track jump into “Giro Gully.” With legs burning racers then navigated the technical winding gully and come out in a tuck for the finish line.
Both the Men’s and Women’s ski and snowboard finals were exciting with plenty of unexpected adrenaline fueled action. In Men’s Ski division Final, Kyle Coxon, reigning Banzai champion from last season, took the holeshot, with Alec Jones, Josh Anderson, and Garrett Oren battling each other to make a pass. Anderson made a move on the big wall turn which kicked up a cloud of snow taking out Oren. Coming into the gully, Jones hit a big rut which took off one of his skis. Anderson made
some lighting fast evasive maneuvers and saw Coxon ahead. According to Anderson, Coxon was far enough ahead to seal the deal but decided to take a tighter line and ended up getting bucked back seat and could not hang on to it. “I got to ski through another explosion; it kind of felt like Mario Cart,” said Anderson laughing. Anderson gave a quick glance and a “hope your ok man” to make sure Coxon was alright and then he got real excited because he realized there was no one behind him.
“I had to put the arms in the air. I felt pretty good, haven’t won one ofthese things before,”said Anderson.
When you talk to the Banzai athletes about what keeps them coming back every year, one thing is clear, and that is the camaraderie. Women’s Ski division winner, Shannon Rahlves, explained, “There’s a core group of about 40 of us that have been doing it for probably four seasons; skiers, snowboarders, men and women, it’s like our little family.”
“We’re all out here having fun and challenging ourselves but at the end of the day we all care for each other,” said Rahlves. At the top of the course there are lots of laughs and high fives but the athletes do not take the racing lightly.
“Once your tips are on the gate, it gets a little quite for sure,” said Anderson
“A crazy feeling runs through you looking off the Wall from the Banzai start knowing you're about to race for the CLIF Drop holeshot with three other competitors. It's steep and fast! It took me two runs to feel comfortable and go for it, but then it was, bring it on! I'm sure most others felt the same way. We had ideal race conditions Sunday with sun and great snow. The snow on top was soft and dry then turned into butter on the bottom. A fired up crowd got loud and really supported
all competitors. They caught all the action lined up from the top rope line to the road jump off 'Down a Deschutes'. It got real intense in the final from the start through Giro Gully with multiple passes and close racing. It was a rowdy Banzai like always. I was at the start for the finals and have to say the Women Ski and Men Snowboard were awesome with all the battles of position changes. A new addition was the Mini Banzai. We ran a test event with 8 strong kids to get a feel of how we can expand it in the years to come. It was on the same track, but started half way down. The 8-11 year old boys raced hard with huge smiles. Definitely a crowd pleaser. Thanks to all Rahlves' Banzai Tour sponsors, athletes, Banzai event staff and everyone at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Now onto the Silver Belt Banzai at Sugar Bowl Resort starting with the Banzai Bar Crawl March 4th in Truckee at Tahoe Sports Hub then going to Mellow Fellow and Pastime Club.”
Rahlves' Banzai Bar Crawl - Truckee - March 4
2016 Rahlves Banzai Tour: SilverBelt Banzai @ Sugar Bowl Resort - March 5 & 6
Super Final March 6th
Daron Rahlves, World Champion, Olympian, X-Games Champ and Sugar Bowl Resort Ambassador will
race on his home turf the two winners from each stop and then a randomly drawn men skier out of the
small and big final from the Silver Belt Banzai. $5,000 winner takes all
Red Bull | Deschutes Brewery | Giro Snow | Cliff Bar | Barton Health | Tahoe Center for Orthopedics | Flylow Gear
Zinka Sunscreen | Atomic Skiing | Wend Waxworks | Tahoe Sports Hub | Coal Headwear | Squaw Valley Electric |
101.5 FM FTKE www.truckeetahoeradio.com | World Cup Supply | The Bar Effect & TRX |
Coffeebar Truckee | Powder | California Burger Co. | Base Camp Pizza | Virus Action Sport Performance
Thank You 2016 Rahlves’ Banzai Tour Sponsors
LINDSEY JACOBELLIS TAKES HOME 10th X GAMES GOLD MEDAL
Vista, California - February 5, 2016 - This past weekend, WEND team rider Lindsey Jacobellis set a new record by winning her 10th Winter X Games medal in Women's Snowboarder X, the most gold medals earned by any women to compete in X Games history. Finishing second in qualifiers to Czech Republic's Eva Samokva, defending Olympic gold medalist, Lindsey made sure to put up a fight for the 2016 X Games gold. Samkova and Jacobellis each winning their semifinal heats, both moved on to a very heated final round. With Samkova making her way to the front of the pack early in the final race, Jacobellis trailed close behind until taking the inside line of the most critical turn throughout the course, knowing that Samkova would take the outside line, allowing Jacobellis to pull out front taking the first place position. Holding Samkolva tight to the finish line, Lindsey proved her talent, experience and strategy by taking home the X Games gold, beating Eva Samkova by 0.04 of a second.
Lindsey Jacobellis earned her first X Games Snowboarder X gold medal in 2003 at the early age of 18. Since then, Lindsey has only once missed the top podium taking the silver medal finish in 2007. With 10 X Games gold medals, Jacobellis is the most successful boardercross racer ever, medaling 11 straight times out of 13 X Games appearances. Her 0.769 winning percentage is the best of any X Games athlete with at least 10 starts in a single discipline. In addition, Lindsey's hard work continues to pay off as she is a four-time World Champion (2005, 2007, 2011 and 2015), three-time Olympian (winning silver in 2006, finishing fifth in 2010 and seventh in 2014), and holds 27 wins on the FIS World Cup circut.
"It was a great week at X Games, I was over the moon and excited to come home with my tenth gold and I thank all my sponsors for their ongoing support!" stated Jacobellis. "It means a lot to be a part of a close family brand like WEND and to have their support on the slopes, as well as in the surf. I'm happy to be part of the Wax Research family!"
John Dahl, President at Wax Research commented, "Watching Lindsey's race had us at the edge of our seats. We were so pumped when she made the pass and are proud to be a supporting component that continues to get her across the finish line first."
About Lindsey Jacobellis
At 30 years old, Lindsey Jacobellis is one of the most successful women snowboarders of all time with a record setting 25 World Cup victories in Snowboard X & Halfpipe. She is also a three-time Olympian with a silver medal at Torino, four-time SBX World Cup Champion, and now ten-time X Games gold medalist. Lindsey was introduced to snowboarding in 1996 by her older brother, Benny, and the same year started racing boardercross at a local event held at Stratton Mountain. Jacobellis also credits her success to her attendance at Stratton Mountain School, which holds a program allowing students to ride daily while earning their high school diplomas. Lindsey's first X Games invite came to her at the early age of 15. Not only does Jacobellis hold 11 medals in Snowboard X, but has also earned herself a Slopestyle bronze medal from Winter X Games 2003.
About WENDWEND, a Wax Research Inc. brand, is an innovative line ofNatural Meadowfoam (MF) and fluoro racing waxes, overlays, bars and pastes, including a full range of tuning shop waxes and base treatments. WEND continues to redefine the way we think about snow waxes. As a leader in the global wax market, WEND unwinds traditional logic as witnessed in the performance of their trailblazing formulas. Founded in Encinitas in 1971, Wax Research is recognized by the international sport community as one of the original surf accessory companies. This family of like-minded people is dedicated to that vital spark of individualism and adventure. A grassroots manufacture, every handcrafted bar of high quality surf and ski wax is poured in their California factory.
WEND Team Rider Alex Deibold Attends Drink Water's 4th Annual Rat Race at Mt. Hood
July isn’t a month that most people in the Northern Hemisphere associate with snowboarding. BBQ’s, beach visits, and camping trips are probably more the norm. For the small group of us that do make the pilgrimage to the ever shrinking glacial snowfields in the Pacific Northwest we are rewarded with sunny, slush-filled days of summer shred. This year I decided to make the trek to check out yet another rider hosted banked slalom, the Rat Race presented by the We Drink Water crew.
Mt. Hood saw one of its worst snow years in recorded history forcing founders Austin Smith and Bryan Fox to find a new local for the event, now in its 4th year. Not to be deterred, they found a spot above the Palmer Snowfield that would require anyone interested in taking part to earn their turns and hike the course for every lap.
Rider hosted events have a unique vibe that sets them apart from other more traditional competitions. Sure there are some sponsors, most of which back the riders putting the blood, sweat and tears into pulling the thing off, but there are no TV crews, no marketing budgets, an the little press that they do get is typically putout by industry insiders that take part in the mayhem. This was just a small group of dedicated dudes with some shovels, rakes, and a couple hundred pounds of salt. Being my first time to the event and not knowing the Drink Water crew very well, I figured it would be in my best interest to show up early to help dig. These events don’t get any help from snowcats or machines, it’s all hand built chaos.
The event got its start from the pastime of the Drink Water crew when they were diggers at High Cascade Snow Camp. They would salt in a set of tight rollers next to the digger tent dubbed the ‘death track’ and see if anyone could make it through without eating shit. Unlike most banked slalom events I’ve done, the Rat Race has a handful of tech rollers and doubles to keep you on your toes. This year it was the start and finish that gave most people issues, myself included; during my first attempt I didn’t even make it to turn 1. And the two sets of doubles just before the finish line claimed more egos than you could shake a Cobra Dog at. The summer sun and 100 or so shredders help ride in some of the features to make them a little more manageable, but even still, some of the most legendary riders in the industry found themselves on the wrong side of the fine line.
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This is where dreams were either made or broken...
The Rat Race is the first event I have ever been to where they were stoked to see participant numbers smaller than the year before. It’s not about being the next must do event, it’s about getting together with a core group of people that love snowboarding and raising money for a good cause (this year they donated over $20k to water.org, a non-profit aimed at getting clean drinking water to those around the world without access).
The awards ceremony that took place at Frog Lake after a BBQ hosted by Bryan and Austin’s parents, is a prime example of what sets this event apart. They give out a handful of ‘Rat Trap’ awards to those in the field who don’t necessarily get to stand on the podium to recognize that it’s not all about the fastest time of the day. There were stories told about almost everyone who was awarded anything. They made sure to bring up and recognize all the people who helped dig and make the event possible. And there were more than a few f-bombs dropped to emphasize their passion about reducing your footprint as consumers and helping others in need.
After the Mt Hood moon dust had settled Hailey Langland and Harry “Mr. Banked Slalom” Kearney took home the top honors as well as custom hand shaped surfboards by Chris Christenson. They brought up the top 10 finishers for pro-men and at first I was a little bummed to hear my name called out for 9th, but when the next four or five names were guys I’ve idolized and respected for my whole career, I was honored to be standing amongst some modern legends. As the party wound down, hands were shook, high fives were doled out, and I left with feeling of pure stoke that reminded me of why I started snowboarding in the first place.
Top 10 Pro Men. A heavy line up to say the least. PHOTO: Nick Hamilton
The 5th annual race series, which kicks off this weekend at Alpine Meadows, features skiers or snowboarders charging down a wide-open, ungroomed course four at a time, with each hoping to be the first to the bottom. Jockeying for position adds to the challenge presented by Tahoe’s terrain. Billed as “the ultimate test of ski and riding skills,” catching air while surrounded by other competitors during the mad dash to the bottom is not uncommon.
View of the Starting Gates at Alpine Meadows, Tahoe