Red Bull Raid–the only freeride event in the United States that blends the endurance aspect of competitive uphill ski mountaineering with the technical, progressive style of big-mountain riding–returns to Squaw Valley April 2-3, 2021, at the new location of CII Ridge. This time, the competition is taking place with a unique twist: it’s locals-only, and free to enter.
After a sterling first year in 2019 that reimagined the core concept of a big-mountain event, the global health crisis dashed any plans of Red Bull Raid returning in 2020. Now, following the most unique ski season in recent history, Red Bull Raid is able to return in 2021, with some modifications and adjustments for health and safety purposes. The event celebrates the mountain town locals who made it all possible; the essential workers in the resort and food and beverage and various other industries across Tahoe who allowed the 2020-2021 ski season to take place in spite of massive headwinds.
Red Bull Raid is open to 60 local competitors, across ski and splitboard, who will showcase their abilities against professional Red Bull Snow athletes like John Collinson for all-mountain bragging rights, a gear prize package provided by Red Bull Raid partners, and monetary prizes for podium finishers – half of which will be awarded to local business heroes of the winner’s choice from Red Bull.
The contest will follow the same structure as 2019 with two separate heats for the competitors. Each heat in the event will consist of two portions: A timed uphill race and a technically judged big-mountain freeriding contest. Each heat can be awarded a maximum of 200 points–100 for the timed uphill race and 100 for the downhill portion of the event.
The 100 points for the uphill section of each heat will be awarded based on who is able to most quickly navigate a Le Mans-style mass sprint start, transition into their touring gear, skin up the face of the mountain, and transition to being ready for the downhill–skins away, splitboards assembled, and bindings no longer in walk mode. The fastest finisher will be awarded 100 points, with each subsequent finisher given one point less. The 100 points for the downhill section of each heat will be awarded by a panel of three judges based on the difficulty of the line each participant rides, and the control and style with which they ride it.
After the first heat, there will be a cut to the competition field and the remaining contestants will repeat the same process until first through third place winners are announced in four categories–men’s and women’s ski and men’s and women’s splitboard.
Red Bull Raid is a celebration of mountain excellence, in both uphill capabilities and downhill prowess, and this year’s event, following a year of immense disruption, seeks to celebrate all aspects of snow sports and those who participate, recognizing the support these essential workers, locals, and athletes bring to ski communities.
Red Bull Raid 2021 is open to residents located within 120 miles of Squaw Alpine. If participating in the event, please respect local health & safety rules and regulations, adhere to all posted signage and visit http://redbull.com/raid2021 for more information.