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Feb. 8-9: Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Feb. 15-16: Squaw Valley
March 8-9: Alpine Meadows
March 15-16: Sugar Bowl Resort
LAKE TAHOE — Lake Tahoe’s most popular racing series — the Rahlves’ Banzai Tour — is back, with ski and snowboard racing in its purest form.
The 2014 Rahlves’ Banzai Tour, presented by Bank of the West, will span four weekends at Lake Tahoe resorts, from Feb. 8 through March 16. The ski venues are Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and the Finals and Super Finals at Sugar Bowl Resort.
The race founder and still a dynamic skier is Daron Rahlves, a former World Champion, X-Games Champ, four-time Olympian, and Sugar Bowl resort ambassador and ski Super Final competitor.
“There is no other race like this in the world,” Rahlves said. “What’s so unique about the Banzai is that every-day rippers line up against pro-level athletes to find out what they’re made of, battle for Rahlves’ Banzai titles and an $80,000 purse. When the gate drops, it’s on, as four competitors go head-to-head in a top to bottom race over natural terrain.”
Last year’s tour was filled with as many highlights. The tour kicked off with an amazing start dropping into the Wall at Kirkwood, followed by a Men’s Ski Final win by inches at Alpine Meadows.
The Squaw Valley tour stop tested the Banzai spirit when the Sunday finals were eliminated by weather, but rebounded strong with new snow and bluebird conditions at Sugar Bowl, culminating in a spirited weekend of competition on a technically challenging course.
Chelone “Chilly” Miller from Franconia, NH won the Overall Men’s Snowboard title as spectators witnessed his “live free and send it” approach that produced an exciting wrap up to his notorious come from behind wins on the 2013 tour.
Unfortunately, Miller, the younger brother of Olympic Gold Medalist Bode Miller, died from a seizure in April 2013. This year Rahlves has chosen to honor the competitive spirit of Miller by introducing the “Live Free and Send It” award.
This year’s tour features 2013 Overall Champs Johnny Bochenek, Shannon Rahlves, Casey Lucas and $5,000 Super Final winner Kyle Coxon.
It’s quite a mixture of skiers and riders of all levels, including skiers/riders representing their home resorts, to skiers/boarders of all levels coming out for a fun and competitive experience, to competitors making a name for themselves on other tours in racing, ski cross and big mountain.
For more information, check out previous race results, videos and register for events at rahlvesbanzai.com.
Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his Website at tahoeskiworld.com.