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February 7, 2013
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Rahlves' Banzai Tour to swing through Alpine

The Rahlves' Banzai Tour is pulling into Alpine Meadows for stop No. 2 this weekend.

Racers who dare sign up will go head-to-head and four at a time down some of Alpine's toughest terrain for a share of $80,000 in cash and prizes. There are no restrictions here. The fastest skier or snowboarder who goes top to bottom wins.

"This is paying tribute to what ski racing, and skiing in general, is all about," said former Olympian and race founder Daron Rahlves. "It's racing in its purest form. Skier against the mountain."

The four-stop series kicked off last weekend at Kirkwood on what Rahlves deemed "the most challenging track in Banzai history."

"I'm really impressed. The athletes have gotten better from this year to last year already," Rahlves said. "We gained a lot of momentum at Kirkwood and it's a great way to roll into Round 2."

Don't be surprised to see some of the same faces from the Kirkwood stop gunning for a piece of the $15,000 Alpine purse.

It all starts Saturday. Racers will take solo timed runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to qualify for Sunday's final heats. Sunday's finals will be a four-at-a-time showdown, again from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The men's ski division winners from each stop will race Rahlves in the Super Final at Sugar Bowl on March 10, a race Rahlves has never lost.

The winner-takes-all Super Final is worth $10,000.

"We're making better skiers and riders out there at every stop because the challenges they face they normally wouldn't do on any given day," Rahlves said. "That's one of the reasons I created this event, to help people find out what they're made of and what they can handle."

Like all the Banzai stops, Rahlves has personally selected the Alpine course.

Racers will start in the Wolverine Bowl and plunge into Wolverine Meadow before reaching the Face.

"The Face is the standout section of the course, where everyone is wowed by what goes down in there," Rahlves said. "Last year, it was really thin with trees, and rocks and big moguls and it was kind of the deciding factor of who really was on top of their game."

Whatever speed racers can keep coming off the face will carry them over a long flat section into Kangaroo Gully. The Gully will spit racers over the finish line.

Spectators can catch the action from the chair lift, the race start or the finish line. But the best spot to post up will be the top of the Face. From there, viewers can catch the race start as well as the plunge down the Face.

After the Alpine stop, the Banzai Tour chugs along to Squaw Valley on March 2-3, and wraps up at Sugar Bowl on March 9-10.

"If you're a good skier or snowboarder you can handle it, so don't be afraid to test it. It's not anything that's way beyond most ability levels," Rahlves said. "Last year, we had four major events and no injuries."


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 7, 2013 09:40PM Published Feb 7, 2013 09:40PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.