First stop of Rahlves’ Banzai Tour challenges athletes with ice, bumps, wind | SierraSun.com

First stop of Rahlves’ Banzai Tour challenges athletes with ice, bumps, wind

Staff report

Bullet-proof snow, massive bumps and a 60 mph east wind greeted athletes on the first stop of the Rahlves' Banzai Tour this past weekend.

In typical fashion for a Banzai Tour event, the Face Banzai at Alpine Meadows put skiers and snowboarders to the test. This was particularly true for Sunday's finals, when high winds atop Wolverine Bowl forced organizers to create a 90-degree kick-start below the original starting gate on the ridge.

"From Alpine Meadows to the athletes, everyone was on edge and a little scared of the snow conditions," said tour founder and former Olympic downhill racer Daron Rahlves. "It was intense."

After Saturday's qualification round, Sunday's final, four-person heats were packed with adrenaline-fueled action as the top 16 skiers and snowboarders jockeyed for position down the icy pitch.

In the end, 2014 champion Kyle Coxon took the win in the men's ski category ahead of Casey Riva, Shawn McGee and Ben Paciotti, while Shannon Rahlves beat Shelly Robertson, Caite Zeliff and Alexis Machovsky to the finish line in the women's ski final.

Among the snowboarding field, Bobby Minghini claimed victory in the men's final and was followed by Sylvain Duclose, Jayson Hale and Dillon Candelaria. Audrey Hebert, meanwhile, the reigning women's snowboard champion, won the final heat ahead of Mariah Dugan, Lindsay Wexler and Erika Vikander.

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The Rahlves' Banzai Tour continues with the Wall Banzai at Kirkwood on March 7-8 before concluding with the classic Silver Belt Banzai at Sugar Bowl on March 14-15.

Men’s ski

1. Kyle Coxon

2. Casey Riva

3. Shawn McGee

4. Ben Paciotti

Women’s ski

1. Shannon Rahlves

2. Shelly Robertson

3. Caite Zeliff

4. Alexis Machovsky

Men’s snowboard

1. Bobby Minghini

2. Sylvain Duclos

3. Jayson Hale

4. Dillon Candelaria

Women’s snowboard

1. Audrey Hebert

2. Mariah Dugan

3. Lindsay Wexler

4. Erika Vikander