World’s toughest snowkiting race fills frozen plateau with colour

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Red Bull Ragnarok returns to Norway’s stunning Hardangervidda for a 10th time.

The skies above the starkly beautiful wilderness of Hardangervidda were once again filled with hundreds of kites as 250 participants from 30 different nations tackled the gruelling five-lap course. Competitors took on the challenge on either skis or snowboards, with only the very hardiest managing to overcome the changeable wind conditions to go the full distance. Here is all you need to know:

– The world’s biggest snowkite race, Red Bull Ragnarok is held in Hardangervidda, the largest mainland national park in Scandinavia.

– Participants attempt to use kite power alone to complete five laps of the course in the shortest possible time.

– The race format is a mass start and the kiters then have a five-hour time limit to finish the course.

– Winner of the men’s ski category was Felix Kersten of Germany, who crossed the line in 3h 10m to claim his third title and his first since 2017.

– Speaking after the race, Kersten said: “This year’s race was quite tough, because after the first round the wind died completely and we had to walk a little bit. I was in front, but I saw everyone was catching up to me and I lost a little bit. In the second lap I overtook them again, and from this point I was in the lead and I took it o the end!”

– There was a familiar face at the top of the women’s ski podium: Steph Bridge of the UK won her fifth consecutive title and crossed the finish line for the very first time. She completed the course in 4h 45m.

– Bruce Kessler took the men’s snowboard win with a time of 3h 23m. The 19-year-old from Switzerland had previously won silver here on skis, but this was his first title.

– The women’s snowboard was won by Aija Ambrasa from Latvia. She came close to finishing four laps and claimed the gold ahead of Norwegians Kirsti Henriksen and Sigrid K. Gaup Aamot.

– The event name is inspired by Norse mythology, where Ragnarök is the final battle between good and evil.

– In 2016 only 25 out of 350 kiters completed all five laps (100 km). In 2017 only eight out of 350 kiters completed all five laps (130 km). In 2018 only three out of 350 completed all five laps (105 km). This year saw 13 of out of 250 complete all five laps (105km).

Red Bull Ragnarok 2019 results:

Men’s ski
Felix Kersten (GER), Dmytro Yasnolobov (UKR), Daniel Riegler (AUT)

Men’s snowboard
Bruce Kessler (SUI), Peter Martel (CAN), Christian Labbe (CAN)

Women’s ski
Steph Bridge (GBR), Jennie Milton (AUS), Lorenza Malaguti (CAN)

Women’s snowboard
Ajja Ambrasa (LAT), Kirsti Henriksen (NOR), Sigrid K. Gaup Aamot (NOR)

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