Red Bull Raid returns to Squaw for 2nd year
After a successful inaugural event that saw winter sports stars like Daron Rahlves and JT Holmes compete alongside dozens of other athletes at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, the Red Bull Raid is back for a second year.
Billed as the only freeride event in the nation that blends the endurance aspect of competitive uphill ski mountaineering with big-mountain riding, the competition challenges athletes on a timed uphill race, which is then followed by a judged freeride competition down a venue at Squaw Valley.
“There are a lot of people out there now doing backcountry touring who are looking for the best lines and snow,” said Rahlves after capturing first place at last year’s event. “Red Bull Raid incorporates more of an overall experience that’s inbounds. You have to be in shape to hustle up the hill and you also have to back it up with a good line that has it all: line selection, speed, air, style, fluidity. To win took someone who has strengths in both.”
Last year’s event was held at Squaw’s Silverado area. From there, racers went up to High Camp before putting on a show for spectators by ripping down Kathmandu. The location of this year’s competition has yet to be determined.
This year the field of athletes will be expanded from 60 to 75, and the event window, which is the first weekend of April, has increased to two days, allowing for a chance of better conditions.
Each of the two heats in the event will consist of two portions: A timed uphill race and a technically judged big-mountain freeriding contest. Each heat can be awarded a maximum of 200 points — 100 for the timed uphill race and 100 for the downhill portion of the event.
The points for the uphill section of each heat will be awarded based on who is able to most quickly navigate a Le Mans-style mass sprint start, transition into their touring gear, skin up the face of the competition zone, and transition to being ready for the downhill. The downhill section of each heat will be awarded by a panel of three judges based on the difficulty of the line each participant rides, along with the control and style with which they ride it.
After the first heat, there will be a cut to the competition field and the remaining contestants will repeat the same process until first- through third-place finishers are announced in four categories — men and women’s ski and men and women’s splitboard. Winners will take home cash prizes as well as new skis and splitboards. The event will finish with an awards ceremony and an après celebration at the KT Base Bar.
Participant registration next week and can be found at http://www.redbull.com/us-en/events/red-bull-raid-2020. Registration cost is $50 and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants must be 18 and over on the event day.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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