Sugar Bowl Resort's famed Silver Belt Banzai is no ordinary race. The combination downhill race on natural terrain mixed with skier cross tactics is stomach churning to watch, let alone race in. This year, Daron Rahlves is expanding the race into the Rahlves' Banzai Tour 2011 to include stops at Alpine Meadows and Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
Daron Rahlves, four-time Olympian and multiple-year winner of the Silver Belt Banzai, announced the expansion of the race into a tour with a $50,000 prize purse. Each of the three stops will have a $10,000 purse. The remaining $20,000 is to be split in half between overall tour winners and a one-run Banzai Super Final where the winner takes $10,000.
The tour races will follow the same format, which mixes downhill racing, big mountain freeriding, and skier and boarder cross elements. Four skiers or snowboarders bolt out of the starting gate at a time to race down an all-natural course with gates in strategic locations. The top two advance to the next round. Qualifying races take place on Saturdays with final races on Sundays. The competition breaks into men's and women's division, but competitors must be at least 18 years old.
The Beaver Bowl Banzai takes place Jan. 22-23 at Alpine Meadows followed by the Eagle Bowl Banzai Feb. 5-6 at Kirkwood. Sugar Bowl will host the Silver Belt Banzai and Super Final March 12-13.
The race has always attracted a handful of elite athletes like Rahlves. But he will no longer race in the Banzai, but instead act as Banzai Ambassador for the tour.
Entry for each event is $100 and includes a lift ticket for Saturday's qualifiers and one for Sunday for those who advance. Registration is available online.