Local skiers, riders dominate Red Bull Raid
The third Red Bull Raid went down last Friday at Palisades Tahoe, bringing some of the top all-mountain winter athletes to the resort for the only freeride event that blends elements of uphill skiing with a big mountain contest.
Athletes began at Cornice II for a Le Mans-style start to see who could reach the top of the 1,500 vertical feet of uphill climbing the fastest. From there, the competitors skied or rode down, hitting chutes and steeps while throwing tricks to impress a field of legendary big mountain riders including Mike Laroche, Sammy Luebke and Kenzie Morris. The three judged athletes on style, control, and line, which were then combined with times on the uphill section to determine a winner.
First-year Palisades Tahoe ski patroller Zach Williams stole the show, winning the men’s ski division.
“I’m just so stoked — this is my first time on the top of a podium,” said Williams in an interview with Red Bull. “It’s my first year patrolling, but I grew up skiing here and I always considered myself an uphill athlete as well as a downhill one.”
Local legend Daron Rahlves took second place. Rahlves won the inaugural Red Bull Raid in 2019.
Another skier from the area, Colton Shaff, took third place in men’s ski.
Locals continued their strong showing on the women’s side as Kelsey Wittels, a structural engineer, captured first place.
“I was born and raised in Tahoe City,” said Wittels in an interview with Red Bull. “And my dad was a ski instructor for 35 years here.”
This was Wittels’ first year competing in the Red Bull Raid.
“I won because I love Palisades,” she concluded. “I love skiing here and today I just got to do what I loved!”
Jenna Kane took second place and Lydia Christian was third.
In snowboarding, TahoeLab Snowboards co-founder Abe Greenspan took top honors in the men’s division. Liam Bourke was second place and Garrett Cygwin was third.
On the women’s side, another local, Alison Hardy, took first place. Jenna Shlachter was second. Last year, Shlachter took first place and Hardy was runner-up. Samantha Rubin was third.
First place received $1,000, second place received $500, and third-place finishers took home $250.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at email@example.com
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