2016 RAHLVES BANZAI TOUR WEEKEND RECAP
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 of
these 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
WallBanzai Overall Results:
Men’s Ski: 1st – Josh Anderson | 2nd – Kyle Coxon (DQ) | 3rd – Alec Jones (DQ) | 4th – Garrett Oren (DQ)
Women’s Ski: 1st – Shannon Rahlves | 2nd – Shelly Robertson | 3rd – Caitlin Robinson | 4th – Katie Wry
Men’s Snowboard: 1st – Lucas Dehmlow | 2nd – Jayson Hale | 3rd – Sylvain Duclos | 4th – Roger Carver
Women’s Snowboard: 1st – Audrey Hebert | 2nd – Yoko Nakamura | 3rd – Mariah Dugan | 4th – Bre Stringfellow
Mini Man Banzai: 1st – Carl Ottoson | 2nd – Florian Standteiner | 3rd – Jack Schrady | 4th – Dreyson Rahlves
“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