29 April 2012 - 16:03 Red Bull Ragnarok 2012 Vikings reign supreme in epic snowkite battle
EXTREME SNOW KITEBOARDING. Two hundred of the world’s best kite riders descended on Norway’s snowy mountain plains this weekend for the 2012 edition of the toughest snowkite endurance race on the planet – Red Bull Ragnarok. After around 70km of energy-sapping racing, top spot in the men’s ski and snowboard categories went to local riders Bjørn Kaupang (NOR) and Remi Muem (NOR), with Malin Rapp (SWE) making it a Scandinavian clean-sweep by taking victory in the women’s mixed event.
HAUGASTØL (Norway) – Steady winds of 15-20 knots and excellent snow cover meant that conditions were perfect on the mountain course dotted with natural obstacles such as ravines, drifts, rocks, hills and ice. In a race worthy of the mythical battle between good and evil Norse gods which gave Red Bull Ragnarok its name, the 200 riders were set the challenge of completing five laps of the 8.5km circuit. Joining a contingent of hardcore local heroes on the start line were famous faces such as Dutch kitesurfing star Ruben Lenten and Brazilian Reno Romeu, who had snowboarded only twice before.
As in previous years it was the Scandinavian riders who dominated events on their home territory, with reigning snowkite freestyle world champion Remi Muem taking victory in the men’s snowboard category and 2010 winner Bjørn Kaupang defending his title in the men’s ski race. Kitesurfer Malin Rapp once again made the successful transition from the waves to frozen water by taking first place in the women’s mixed race. Interest in Red Bull Ragnarok 2012 was huge, with 400 kiters on the waiting list for this year’s event.
“Conditions were great, so the race was closer than ever. Last year there were 30 minutes between first and second, but today the gap was only a minute. That makes it extra special to have won,” commented an exhausted Kaupang. “I packed a big backpack with lots of supplies, including chocolate and a compass. Luckily I didn’t need it during the race,” smiled women’s winner Rapp. Reno Romeu, who completed impressive 1.5 laps on his snowkite debut, was blown away by the skills and strength of the Scandinavian riders: “The locals are amazing,” commented the Brazilian kitesurf pro.