HAUGASTØL (Norway), April 10 – 300 kiters from 28 countries gathered on the icy mountain plains of Hardangervidda in Norway, to compete in the world’s biggest and toughest snowkite competition, Red Bull Ragnarok last weekend, but constantly diminishing wind throughout the day made it challenging for the kiters. Despite the 100-kilometer course being shortened by one lap, only 4 out of the 300 kiters managed to complete the whole kite race. Among them were the top 3 men kiting on skis and the winner in the snowboard class for men, Norwegian Sigve Botnen.
“I had a tough first lap, but as soon as I changed to a bigger kite it got better. My tactic worked and the visibility was good. This years Ragnarok was challenging though. I can feel the lactic in my legs pretty well now”, said Sigve Botnen.
Ever since Red Bull Ragnarok was first arranged back in 2010, its popularity has only been growing. Two thirds of the starting lineup were international kiters, with participants travelling from countries such as Greece, South Africa, Croatia and Brazil, trading board shorts with windproof clothes. For some it was their fist time kiting on snow. While some had been training long and hard to go all in, others, like three guys representing The Dominican Republic, said they were born ready.
‘It was tougher than giving birth to a baby’, says Britain’s Steph Bridge, who won the woman’s skiing category and is a mother of three.
Among the international participants were some of the world’s most well known riders, like Dutch Ruben Lenten and Dimi de Jong, and Belgium´s Christophe Tack.
For Ruben Lenten, the event became an extraordinary experience as he decided to stay up until 4 AM to to capture the beautiful northern lights. ‘It was the most spectacular wrap up of an amazing day at Hardangervidda’, says Lenten.
Men ski: 1. Felix Kersten (GER), 2. Klemet Store (NOR), 3. Michael Kaspar (SUI)
Women ski: 1. Steph Bridge (GBR), 2. Camilla Ringvold (NOR), 3. Eugenia Gueorguieva (USA)
Men snowboard: 1. Sigve Botnen (NOR) 2. Reinhold Gehrer (AUT) 3. Peter Martel (CAN)
Women snowboard: 1. Linda Viktoria Olofsson (NOR), 2. Ingrid Danielsson (SWE), 3. Marit Nore (NOR)
About Red Bull Ragnarok
The name “Ragnarok” stems from an incident in Norse mythology, describing the last battle between the good and evil Gods, where only the heroes of the battlefield survive. Red Bull Ragnarok imitates this myth in the respect that only a mere few snow-kite heroes will succeed. Endurance is paramount, and only the toughest riders will successfully complete the course.
Red Bull Ragnarok takes place on the plains of the Hardangervidda, a vast area with ideal conditions for kiting. The race format is a mass start, where each participant must complete five full rounds of the chosen course (one lap = 15-20km) using only their kite, and either skis or snowboard.