UPDATE: The Red Bull Raid has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns as well as ski area closures. You can find more information about these closures here.
On the weekend of April 3-4, one of the most intense ski contests in the US is returning to Squaw Valley for a second year with a bigger competitor field and even more action. What makes the Red Bull Raid so crazy? In the first event of its kind: Skiers are awarded points for being the quickest to safely navigate a Le Mans-style mass sprint start before additional points are awarded on the downhill big mountain section based on line choice, style, and control.
“I loved watching everyone else compete! It was super entertaining,” says Anna Sullivan, last year's winner. “I know a lot of the racers from around here, especially Daron [Rahlves] with his background in ski racing, and it was really cool to see him step it up on both the hike and the big mountain portion of the competition.”
The current rise in uphill skiing means more people are opting to earn their turns and are swapping lifts for skins both in the backcountry and at resorts. This event is catered to those who love to rip big mountain lines with the added pain and suffering from a grueling sprint to the top.
Because of its idyllic location and unmatched terrain, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is home to some of the best big mountain freeriders in the world, making it the perfect location for an event of this magnitude. With 75 athletes charging the mountain the Red Bull Raid looks to, “push progression at the intersection of man-powered ski travel and big-mountain freeriding.”
Athletes compete across four categories: men’s ski, men’s splitboard, women’s ski, and women's splitboard. Winners range from pros like Sullivan and JT Holmes to everyday outdoor enthusiasts like Jamie Vincent, a teacher from Oregon who won the women’s splitboarding division last season. The event is divided into two heats, the first will include all competitors while the second is narrowed down to the top athletes who return to the course a final time for the crown.
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For newcomers to the Raid, Sullivan suggests, “Take the touring setup to the resort so that you feel comfortable skiing in all types of conditions and terrain on the light setup.”
If you're looking to push the boundaries at this event, registration is first come first serve and participants must be 18 and over on the event day. Find out more information and register on Red Bull's website.
Wondering what Uphill Skiing is, or want to get started? Check out "Uphilling 101," an online course created by AIM Adventure U and SKI that will help you start to ski uphill, gain fitness, and take on ski areas in a whole new way. Learn more about the course here.