The first weekend in March marks the beginning of SnowFest, North Lake Tahoe’s most anticipated celebration, as well as the return of the Rahlves’ Banzai to Squaw Valley. The 32nd annual SnowFest will kick off March 1 with a torchlight parade and fireworks at the base of Squaw Valley. Then, March 2-3, guests can join amazing athletes and great company while participating in or watching the third leg of Rahlves’ Banzai Tour: the KT-22 Banzai.
Banzai Tour showcases racing in its purest form, with four racers at a time going head-to-head over natural terrain in ski and border-cross style action. The winners of each respective tour stop will have the opportunity to compete in the “Super Final” on March 9-10 against former World Champion, 12-time World Cup winner, X-Games Gold Medalist and four-time Olympic skier and Sugar Bowl Resort Ambassador Daron Rahlves. The Sugar Bowl Silver Belt Banzai and Super Final race takes place during closing weekend of SnowFest!, so don’t miss the festive Banzai and SnowFest culminating events hosted by Sugar Bowl.
“The KT-22 Banzai is always one of the most exciting parts of the tour because of the great view of the course from the base of the mountain,” said Daron Rahlves. “Spectators get to watch athletes give it their all down the face of KT-22, which embodies everything the Banzai Tour is really about; the competition, athleticism, and most importantly, the enjoyment and camaraderie of the ski and snowboard community.”
Friday night before the tour stop, competing athletes, sponsors, media and special guests are invited to the event kick-off, “Rahlves’ Banzai Welcome Party” from 4-6 p.m. at Sandy’s Pub at the Resort at Squaw Creek. The welcome party ends right in time for athletes to participate in the annual opening ceremony torchlight parade. On Saturday after the solo qualifying timed runs to seed Sunday’s Finals and heats of four, all competing athletes, sponsors, media and fans are invited to celebrate all things Banzai from 3-6 p.m. at Le Chamois for the “Rahlves’ Banzai Après Party” thrown by High Fives Foundation. One dollar from each Sierra Nevada beer and Red Bull drink purchased throughout the après party will be donated to High Fives.
For those who are curious about the tour’s name, Banzai is a Japanese term expressed as an exuberant cheer meaning, “Long Life!” or “Hurray!” An apt name for a high-spirited downhill ski and snowboard competition, the Silver Belt Race first took place in the 1940s at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and was re-introduced with the head-to-head action by Daron Rahlves and Sugar Bowl in 2009. The race continued with one event for another year, and then Rahlves decided to take the show on the road, officially launching Rahlves’ Banzai Tour and expanding to stops at four of Lake Tahoe’s premier resorts.
The Rahlves Banzai tour is presented by Bank of The West. The Rahlves Banzai Tour is also supported by sponsors such as Red Bull, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Contour, CEP “intelligent sportswear”, North Lake Tahoe Chamber/VCB/Resort Association, Spyder, Atomic, Start Haus Ski Shop, Wend Wax, COAL, SVE/BOSE, The Bar Effect, World Cup Supply, Jagermeister, Snow Fest, Sports Insurance, Technical Equipment Cleaners, Resort at Squaw Creek, ZINKA, 101.5 Truckee Tahoe Radio, Tahoe TV, POWDER Mag, High Fives Foundation, World Cup Supply, and CRUX Events, thereby creating an alluring $80,000 prize purse.
For more information, to check out previous race results, videos and to register, visit online. For up-to-the-minute news, “Like” The Rahlves’ Banzai Tour on Facebook and follow @RahlvesBanzai on Twitter.