Four-time Olympic skier Daron Rahlves may be retired, but his presence remains a major force as a ski racer in the Lake Tahoe region.
Rahlves announced plans to initiate a new multi-resort race series that makes stops at Lake Tahoe ski resorts Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood and Sugar Bowl.
The “Banzai Tour” races will combine freeriding, downhill racing and ski & boarder cross strategy. The format has roots tied to the original Silver Belt Banzai at Sugar Bowl that was held for several decades. The Banzai races feature four racers at a time blasting out of a ski-cross start with the goal of finishing fast enough to advance to the next round.
Each race boasts a $10,000 purse, with an additional $10,000 given out to the overall Tour winners. And while Rahlves himself will not race in any of the three tour stops, acting instead as Banzai Ambassador throughout, he will await each of the Men’s Ski division winners from prior tour stops for a final day, one run, winner-take-all $10,000 “Banzai Super Final.”
Open to men, women, skiers and boarders age 18 years and older, historically the Silver Belt Banzai at Sugar Bowl has seen a mix of higher-level athletes, racing enthusiasts and everyday skiers and riders just out for a good time at a great event. Entry fee is $100, which includes a lift ticket on race day, and a $50,000 overall prize purse. The Rahlves Banzai Tour should see approximately 100 athletes racing at each tour stop.
Rahlves is currently a Sugar Bowl Ski Ambassador. He is the most decorated men’s downhiller in U.S. history.
“With so many competitions being of such a serious nature, the Banzai Tour invites skiers and riders to come out, get in the gate and point it, still maintaining a high level of racing of course, but also having a great time and enjoying the festive atmosphere that the Banzai is all about.,” Rahlves said.
The events are expected to draw more than just competitors with vendor village exhibit areas, numerous spectator viewing spots, finish line BBQ’s, and post-race parties complete with live music.
Dates for the 2011 Rahlves’ Banzai Tour are:
- Alpine Meadows – January 22-23
- KirkwoodMountainResort – February 5-6
- Sugar Bowl Resort – March 12-13
Visit www.rahlvesbanzai.com for more information.