Last week, 300 snowkite competitors from 28 countries gathered in the Hardangervidda mountain range in Norway for the biggest and toughest snowkite race in the world, Red Bull Ragnarok. Although the course was shortened down from five 10-to-12-mile laps to four due to weather conditions, only 14 out of the 300 kiters riding on skis and snowboards were able to finish the race. It took most top racers anywhere from three to four hours to complete the course. The sky was blue and the sun was shining, but slow winds made for a challenging and strenuous competition.
This was the fifth year of the race and last year, 44 out of the 300 kiters were able to reach the finish line. Space is always limited and the process to secure a spot at Ragnarok this year started in December 2014 when Red Bull opened up the roster to 200 slots. Later, 100 more slots opened up in January 2015.
The location of the race was top secret up until the morning meeting on race day. The competition was separated into four classes; men skis, men snowboard, women skis, and women snowboard. Winner of the women’s skiing category, Steph Bridge, says the race was tougher than giving birth. Despite the challenge, racers wrapped up the three-day event by popping champagne and enjoying the beautiful northern lights that appeared around 4 a.m.