Top skiers prepare for final Rahlves’ Banzai Tour challenge at Sugar Bowl

The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour will end where it all began more than 70 years ago — the Silver Belt gully at Sugar Bowl Resort.

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 at Sugar Bowl.

The Rahlves’ 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 include Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA.

The Rahlves’ Banzai dates back to the famed Silver Belt downhill race, which began at Sugar Bowl in 1940 and was considered one of North America’s premier ski races, attracting elite skiers from across the nation.

Daron Rahlves — Olympian, X Games gold medalist, one of the most decorated downhill skiers in U.S. history, and freesking film star — helped reshape the race into the four-resort circuit that it is today. Although he does not compete in the other three stops of the tour, he will take on the ski winners of all four tour stops in a one-time, winner-takes-all, $10,000 cash prize Super Final at Sugar Bowl on Sunday.

Apart from the $10,000 Super Final prize, another $25,000 of prize money will be handed out to winners at Sugar Bowl’s Rahlves’ Banzai 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.

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.

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 Sugar Bowl’s own Jesse Maddex, who raced to a win at the Alpine Meadows stop of the Banzai, and who will be competing on his home turf in the Super Final.

For more information on the Rahlves Banzai Tour, visit www.rahlvesbanzai.com. For more information about Sugar Bowl Resort, visit www.sugarbowl.com.