Bad weather, snow conditions cut short KT-22 Banzai

Courtesy Dave ClockSnowboarders drop into The Wall at the start of the Kirkwood stop of the Rahlves' Banzai Tour. The Squaw Valley stop this past weekend was cut short due to weather conditions. The tour concludes this Saturday and Sunday at Sugar Bowl Resort, where the race originated.

Daron Rahlves thought his Rahlves’ Banzai Tour could beat the elements.It always did – rain, snow, fog or ice – until Sunday.Mother Nature had the final say in cutting short the KT-22 Banzai at Squaw Valley this past weekend, as crummy conditions caused by a wet mix of rain, snow and fog forced the cancellation of Sunday’s finals. “It was a bummer. I always thought that out motto was, ‘If we can make it to the top of the mountain, we can run Banzai.’ But we had such challenging conditions, with the fog and everything, that we decided that it was best to call it off,” said Rahlves, who was laid up with a dislocated hip suffered in Saturday’s time trials, taking him out of the running for the Super Final at Sugar Bowl this Sunday.Rahlves said with so few trees atop KT-22 as reference points, visibility was dangerously low in the flat light, while the “rotten” snow prevented the gates from staying upright.”I never even thought this would happen. I thought we could always pull it off, no matter what,” Rahlves said. “But the b-nets weren’t even staying in, and you couldn’t see the ground.”With only half of the race completed, Rahlves and his Banzai crew decided to use Saturday’s individual time trials as the final results. Typically, the second day of the Banzai Tour stops are reserved for the finals, which feature eliminating heats of four skiers or snowboarders racing down a course that follows a resort’s natural terrain. John Bochenek out of Squaw Valley, who won the men’s ski division in the opening Kirkwood stop, easily claimed his second tour victory with a time of 1:41.90. Kyle Coxon finished second in 1:46.75, and John Lange was third in 1:47.34.Initially, Lange was awarded second place due to a timing mistake, Rahlves said. But second place was later awarded to Coxon after it was determined upon further review that his time was actually faster. The position was crucial because, along with the $1,500 payout, it also comes with an entry into the Super Final and overall points awarded toward the tour title, since Bochenek had already secured his spot. The Super Final is a one-run, winner-takes-all heat among the winners of the men’s ski division from each of the four tour stops. With Rahlves sidelined, the Super Final will pay $5,000 to the fastest of the four – Bochenek, Jesse Maddex, who won the Alpine Meadows stop, Coxon and whoever wins the final men’s ski event at Sugar Bowl.Rahlves said he feels bad about the initial mistake and confusion, but he’s glad race officials got it right in the end. “I’d rather suck it up and admit that we made a mistake, because I don’t want to live with a mistake. We had to make sure we got it right. It’s a big deal,” he said. “There’s a lot of money on the line.”Daron’s sister, Shannon Rahlves, claimed victory in the women’s ski division, as she posted a time of 2:11.59 to runner-up Shelly Robertson’s 2:11.94. McKenzy Golding was third in 2:19.91.Lucas Dehmlow won the men’s snowboard division in a time of 2:35.10, while Rob Vandervoort was second in 2:35.33 and Ronnie Schoff was third in 2:40.01.Macy Price slipped into first place in the women’s snowboard division ahead of Iris Lazzareschi (3:14.28) and Casey Lucas (3:23.40).The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour will wrap up at the place it all starter, Sugar Bowl’s Silver Belt Gully, this Saturday and Sunday with the Silver Belt Banzai and Super Final. Competing athletes and sponsors are invited to the event kickoff at Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats in downtown Truckee on Friday from 5-7 p.m. After the solo qualifying runs on Saturday, everyone is invited to the Rahlves’ Banzai Aprs Party by the High Fives Foundation at the Sierra Vista Bar from 3-6 p.m.

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