Donner Summit, CA (November 24, 2008) — Top freeride skiers from across the globe will descend upon Lake Tahoe’s Sugar Bowl Resort January 31st and February 1st, 2009 for the running of the Silver Belt Banzai, a progressive event coupling the energy and tactics of ski-cross with the action and excitement of a traditional downhill race. Starting atop Sugar Bowl’s famed Silver Belt run, skiers will test their skills on this spectator-friendly course, racing out of the gate in six-man heats with rules being to simply stay on-course and finish in the top two to advance. Up to 100 qualifying and invited skiers both men and women will race for upwards of $10,000 in cash and prizes, with qualifying skiers competing in heats on Saturday to earn a spot in Sunday’s finals race. Entry fees are set at $100 per qualifying racer, and free for invited racers. Red Bull Energy Drink will be in-resort, fueling the on-mountain action and live music after-event parties.
The Silver Belt Downhill, dating back to 1940, was for many years considered the preeminent North American race for skiing’s elite. Racers would travel from home resorts to compete for top honors on the challenging and formidable course, always followed with a legendary celebration. The 2008/09 Silver Belt Banzai will keep this tradition alive, honoring past racers with the event itself while enticing today’s top skiers with the latest racing discipline, all in a festive atmosphere complete with live music and parties.
And as skiers prepare for race day, a perfect training ground will be Sugar Bowl’s newly enhanced Tunnel 41 run. With ski-cross making its Olympic debut in the Vancouver 2010 Games, Sugar Bowl has embraced the discipline aggressively, announcing plans to convert the Tunnel 41 run into a season-long, dedicated, Olympic-caliber ski-cross and boarder-X training course for athletes to work on their skills, greatly improving chances for a U.S. podium finish or a Silver Belt trophy. World Champion and Sugar Bowl sponsored athlete Daron Rahlves, competing in the ski-cross discipline in Vancouver, says the Silver Belt Banzai is a must-see for spectators and a must-show for athletes. “As the ski-cross and Olympic hype continues to grow, we should see the discipline explode as athlete’s recognize its legitimacy and fans realize that it’s a very exciting style to watch. You can bet the sport’s top athletes will turn up to race for this trophy”. This year’s event marks the return of the Silver Belt after a four year hiatus. For further information visit www.sugarbowl.com/sbbanzai
Sugar Bowl, located atop Tahoe’s Donner Summit, has been in operation since 1939. The closest major resort on the western front of the Sierra, Sugar Bowl is just three hours from San Francisco and 45 minutes from Reno. With 1,500 acres and 1,500 vertical of skiing on 500″ of annual snow, Sugar Bowl prides itself on not just impressive terrain but also an attention to the guest experience. For more information on Sugar Bowl please visit www.sugarbowl.com or call (530) 426-9000.