The 2012 Rahlves' Banzai Tour kicked off this weekend at Kirkwood. It was fast, it was treacherous, and it was fun! As a result of the low snow conditions in Tahoe the race course was moved from the wide open Eagle Bowl to the tight and winding Snow Snake Gully. There has been some concern about how snow conditions might impact the event but I don't think conditions could have been better for Sunday's race. Rahlves’ Banzai Tour Kirkwood Stop Was Rowdy! | Video & Results | Unofficial Networks

Rahlves' Banzai Tour Kirkwood Stop Was Rowdy! | Video & Results

Rahlves' Banzai Tour Kirkwood Stop Was Rowdy! | Video & Results

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Rahlves' Banzai Tour Kirkwood Stop Was Rowdy! | Video & Results

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The 2012 Rahlves’ Banzai Tour kicked off this weekend at Kirkwood. It was fast, it was treacherous, and it was fun! As a result of the low snow conditions in Tahoe the race course was moved from the wide open Eagle Bowl to the tight and winding Snow Snake Gully. There has been some concern about how snow conditions might impact the event but I don’t think conditions could have been better for Sunday’s race.

Rahlves Banzai Kirkwood 2012

Turn before the compression (Men's Ski)

The course was set wide open at the top and skiers and riders picked up some serious speed coming off the pitch in the photo above and into a compression roller and road jump into the gully. After that the track ran up onto the ridge of the gully for some tight chattering turns before diving back into the bottom of the snaking gully. The low snow actually made for really dynamic terrain. Exposed rocks, trees and rolling features were all over the lower portion of the course. It was fast, fun and technical… and LONG! The fastest men’s skiers were just under a minute thirty during time trials. It was a serious leg burner.

Rahlves Banzai Kirkwood 2012

Looking down a section of the gully for Saturday's time trial

There was a bit of a drizzle on Friday night and the overcast conditions kept the temps up so there was no hard freeze before Saturday’s time trial. The snow was soft and the light was in and out. A few turns on the time trial course became worn down to the turf. Skiers and riders were blasting full speed over grass and rock at a couple of gates. But edges seem to hold just fine on turf.

Rahlves Banzai Tour 2012 Kirkwood

Rough turn

Thankfully the skies cleared and there was a hard freeze Saturday night. The sun came out and the course ran fast and solid for Sunday’s race. The race crew at Kirkwood did a great job of moving snow and gates around to prep the course for Sunday. After the cold temps Saturday night the track was primed. Even Rahlves got in there with a shovel to make sure conditions on the course would go.

Rahlves Banzai 2012 Kirkwood

Popchips' Road Jump

It was a Banzai, and you can’t get through a Banzai without being bucked around a bit. Rubbing is racing, but if you’re gonna take the inside line you gotta at least be able to make the next gate. The contact below resulted in a tumble.

Rahlves Banzai Kirkwood 2012

Women's Ski

There were a few wipe-outs and even the odd on course collision,  but on the whole the conditions were great, the course in the gully was awesome in its speed and demanding variability, and racers charged hard in true Banzai style.

Props to Daron Rahlves, all of the athletes, Kirkwood Mountain Resort and all of the event sponsors for hosting the first Banzai of the season! The whole weekend was packed with energy and excitement!

Results: Kirkwood Banzai 2012, Snow Snake Gully

Men’s Ski:

  1. John Bochenek
  2. Lucas Matelich
  3. Marcus Caston
  4. George Rodney
  5. Toby Lamar
  6. Jesse Maddex
  7. Justin Roach
  8. Travis Wolfe

Women’s Ski:

  1. Keely Kelleher
  2. Shelly Robertson
  3. Shannon Rahlves
  4. Tara Hines
  5. Hanna Jermstad
  6. Ally Keefe
  7. Amie Engerbretson
  8. Catlin Robb

Men’s Snowboard:

  1. Sylvan Duclos
  2. Shaun Palmer
  3. Dave Trout
  4. Jason Kosich
  5. Matt Clark
  6. Dan Krenicki
  7. John McGovern
  8. Keith Davis

Women’s Snowboard:

  1. Mallory Olney
  2. Rose Marie Daiek
  3. Christy Deysher
  4. Brithany Thomson
  5. Raelynd Tamove
  6. Tassa Herndon
  7. Alissa Withrow
  8. Lindsey Saunders

If you haven’t run a Banzai yet you’re missing out on an awesome experience. Three more stops on the tour this season.

  • Alpine Meadows’ Beaver Bowl Banzai, Feb. 23rd-24th 
  • Squaw Valley’s KT-22 Banzai, March 3rd-4th 
  • And Sugar Bowl’s Silver Belt Banzai! Marth 10th-11th

Sign up at Rahlvesbanzai.com. Lets hope the snowpack builds for the banzai and for our winter.

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