This weekend the primary focus at the Banzai Tour is this: Can anyone beat downhill skiing legend Daron Rahlves to the bottom and claim $10,000?
After a month-long, head-to-head contest of speed, skill and stamina on snow, it all comes down to this weekend (March 9-10) at Sugar Bowl ski resort in Lake Tahoe.
Rahlves will put himself on the line Sunday afternoon in the “Super Finals” of the Daron Rahlves Banzai Tour. He is the Banzai two-time defending champion at his home mountain.
The Banzai Tour is also a competition that includes snowboarders. There is a men’s and women’s competition in both snowboarding and skiing. The total purse for the Banzai Tour is $80,000. Competitors must be aged 18-above.
Banzai has link to historic Silver Belt
The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour will end where it all began more than 70 years ago – the historic Silver Belt gully at Sugar Bowl. Some of the best skiers and snowboarders in the West will battle it out to cap off the four-stop skiing competition with a win this weekend.
The Banzai Tour is described as “big mountain freeskiing meets skier/boardercross.” Competitors race in four-person heats over natural terrain in a contest of pure skiing speed. Previous stops included Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley.
Winner takes home $10,000
Although he does not compete in the other three stops of the tour, Rahlves takes on the ski winners of all four tour stops in a one-time, winner-takes-all, $10,000 cash prize.
“What’s so unique about this race is every-day rippers line up against pro-level athletes and have a shot at the title of Rahlves Banzai champ,” said Rahlves, who created the event. “It’s a competition among competitors. But ultimately, it’s against the mountain.”
The Rahlves’ Banzai’s roots date back to the famed Silver Belt downhill race, which began at Sugar Bowl in 1940 and was considered one of North America’s premiere ski races, attracting elite skiers from across the nation.
Super Finals run
The Rahlves Banzai course starts at the top of Mt. Lincoln, Sugar Bowl’s highest peak. From the Block House starting line, it drops into the Elevator Shaft and into the Silver Belt Gully. As skiers pass the Keyhole, they have an option of going either right or left, around an island that will open to spectators during the race. After dropping into the CEP Compression Gully, it is a flat-out, mad dash race to the finish.
Rahlves is an Olympian, X Games gold medalist, one of the most decorated downhill skiers in U.S. history, and freesking film star. He helped reshape the race into the four-resort circuit that it is today.
Additional $25,000 prize money
Apart from the $10,000 Super Final prize, another $25,000 of prize money will be handed out to winners at the Banzai’s final stop.
Prizes, including the coveted Banzai’s Silver Belt Buckle, will be handed over at an awards ceremony at the Mt. Judah Lodge on Sunday afternoon, featuring Red Bull and Sierra Nevada drink specials.
A portion of each drink sale will support the High Fives Foundation. A Banzai Barbeque featuring Sierra Nevada beer, burgers and bratwurst, will be set up at the Rahlves Banzai finish line both days, allowing spectators to eat and drink while they watch the race action.
The race will be announced by X Games commentator Chris “Uncle E” Ernst and High Fives Foundation Executive Director Roy Tuscany.
Tour winners so far include the Sugar Bowl’s own Jesse Maddex, who raced to a win at the Alpine Meadows stop. Maddex will be competing on his home turf in the Super Final.
For more information on the Rahlves Banzai Tour, visit rahlvesbanzai.com.