Sugar Bowl to host Silver Belt Banzai race March 13-14 |

Sugar Bowl to host Silver Belt Banzai race March 13-14

Sun Staff report

DONNER SUMMIT and#8212; Top freeride skiers and riders will descend on Sugar Bowl Resort on March 13-14 for the running of the Silver Belt Banzai, a unique race that blends skicross and boardercross action with the tradition of a downhill race.

Starting atop Sugar Bowland#8217;s Silver Belt Gully, skiers and riders will race out of the gate in four- and six-person heats with the simple rules of staying on course and finishing fast enough to beat the other racers and advance to the next round.

Up to 100 skiers and riders ages 16 and older, both menand#8217;s and womenand#8217;s divisions, will compete in the race. Qualifying heats will be run on Saturday, March 13, with winners earning a spot in Sundayand#8217;s final races and a chance for cash prizes. –

Entry fees are set at $100 per racer, which includes a lift ticket valid for the first day of racing, and both days of racing should the competitor advance to Sundayand#8217;s finals. If a lift ticket is not needed, entry fees are set at $50 per racer for the event.

Celebrating its 70th season, Sugar Bowl is steeped in tradition and history, and the Silver Belt Downhill is an integral part of the resortand#8217;s storied past. Dating back to 1940, for many years the race was considered the preeminent North American race for skiingand#8217;s elite. Racers would travel from their home resorts to compete for top honors on the challenging course, always finishing the event with a legendary celebration.

The 2010 race will keep the tradition alive, enticing todayand#8217;s top skiers and riders by incorporating racingand#8217;s latest discipline of skicross and boardercross action. Each afternoon will finish with festivities including live music and a post-race party in the Judah Lodge on Sunday.

To prepare for race day, the perfect training grounds will be Sugar Bowland#8217;s Silver Belt gully, essentially guaranteed to have a deep enough base for the event after recent storms dropped over 7 feet of snow, and Sugar Bowland#8217;s new skicross and boardercross run on the Tunnel 41 trail. The Olympic-caliber course under the Mt. Judah Express lift will be used as a pre-Olympics training ground for the U.S. Skicross Team and Sugar Bowland#8217;s own Daron Rahlves.

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