Local favorites claimed top spots when this year’s snowkite endurance race Red Bull Ragnarok took place on the snow covered mountain plains of Norway. Bjørn Kaupang (NOR) and Remi Meum (NOR) won the men’s ski and snowboard classes, while Malin Rapp (SWE) claimed first place in the women’s mixed class.
200 of the world’s best kite riders went head to head in the epic Norse battle that is Red Bull Ragnarok. The conditions this year was much better than the previous years, with steady wind and plenty of snow.
- As the conditions today were great, the race was closer than ever. Last year there were 30 minutes between first and second place, but today the gap was only a minute. So it feels extra good to win, says Bjørn Kaupang, the third-time winner of the men’s ski class and fastest rider all over.
Kite riders from 20 countries went through an 8,5 kilometre course, five times. On home soil the Norwegians proved hard to beat, even though the competition was fierce. In opposition to previous years, the wind was constant during the whole race, producing stable winds from East, 15-20 knots and overcast weather.
-The conditions really did it for me today, says winner of the men’s snowboard class and current Snowkite Freestyle World Champion Remi Meum.
The female winner, Malin Rapp, was also content about today’s conditions. She had prepared herself for though weather like in the previous years. -I packed a big backpack with lots of supplies, including snickers and compass. But luckily I didn’t need it during the race, she says.
The race is rapidly growing and this year the interest for the competition was enormous, with 400 kiters on the waiting list. Among the 200 that did compete, there were kiters from all over the world, including Dutch kiteboarding star Ruben Lenten and Brazilian Reno Romeu. -It is a rush to see the 200 kites in the air at the starting line, says Ruben.
Reno, who has snowboarded only twice in his life tried snow kiting for the first time during today’s race. He was happy with his debut, finishing 1½ lap. But he hails the Scandinavian winners: -The locals are amazing, he says.
1. Remi Meum, NOR
2. Christian Juell, NOR
3. Marius Coucheron, NOR
1. Bjørn Kaupang, NOR
2. Alexandr Palekhin, RUS
3. Nils Arne Rø, NOR
1. Malin Rapp, SWE
2. Mila Polyakova, RUS
3. Ingeborg Ims Winther, NOR
This is Red Bull Ragnarok
Red Bull Ragnarok is named after the last battle between the good and the evil Gods in Norse mythology – where only the heroes of the battlefield would survive.
It is an endurance based competition where the riders race on skis or snowboards, while being pulled by a kite.
The riders go through a 8,5 kilometre long course five times and the first to cross the finish line after the 5th lap, wins.
The competition imitates the myth of Ragnarok in the way that only a few snowkite heroes will succeed the whole 5 laps. But if they do, they might have kited about 70km in total with all the crossing back and forth. Pretty impressive then, that the winners finished the entire course in less than 2 hours.