On Friday April 1st, 350 kiters from over 30 countries gathered on the icy mountain plains of Hardangervidda in Norway, to compete in the world’s biggest and toughest snowkite competition. The wind played its April Fool’s jokes and in just a few hours the weather went from sunny and windy, to cloudy with no wind at all, until it finally picked up again. Choosing the right kite and strategy was the key to success, and Peter Martel (CAN) was the first male snowboarder to pass the finish line after five laps – finishing the course of 100 kilometers in four hours and 49 minutes.
“My start was really rough, I had to run and walk in kneedeep snow, and was really sweating and struggling. I managed to take lead, but then my steering line broke during my final lap, and I fell behind and had to tie a knot and use my lines in the best way. It was the most challenging race I’ve ever been in” says Peter Martel.
This years edition of Red Bull Ragnarok is the sixth, and the competition is growing each year. 350 participants stands as a new record, gathering kiters from all over the world, with 30 different nationalities from all continents. “I love it, even though I can’t feel my nose,” said Alaa Dal Dadachili from Dubai, “It was hard, gusty and light wind, but I almost made it two and half laps, 50 kilometers in total. I’m really happy with that, and I’ll definitely train more and come back next year”.
Amongst the international participants were some of the world’s most well known riders, like the youngest world champion in kitesurfing’s history, Gisela Pulido (22) from Spain. Red Bull Ragnarok was her third time ever kiting on snow, and in spite of being in the world´s elite of kiting, Red Bull Ragnarok became one of the toughest kite races she had ever participated in. “I’m really stoked that I was able to compete in Red Bull Ragnarok, it was a sick experience. It didn’t go as planned because the wind was super light and I was using my freestyle gear, but next year I’ll come more prepared to perform better,” said Pulido.
The challenging course and changing weather conditions are a huge part of the Red Bull Ragnarok concept – only the toughest riders will succeed, and endurance is paramount.
1. Florian Gruber (GER)
2. Bjørn Kaupang (NOR),
3. Felix Kersten (GER)
1. Peter Martel (CAN)
2. Reinhold Gehrer (AUT)
3. Josh Barker (CAN)
1. Steph Bridge (UK)
2. Camilla Ringvold (NOR)
3. Eugenia Gueorguieva (USA)
1. Marie-Eve Mayrand (CAN)
2. Marit Nore (NO)
3. Manuela Jungo (SUI)
*Photos courtesy of Redbull Content Pool