Rally time in St Anton

28th January 2012, by Chris Gill

Whoopee!  Red Bull Rally St Anton (c) <a href=

Whoopee! Red Bull Rally St Anton (c) http://www.redbull.at

St Anton’s Red Bull Hut Rally, which sees amateurs take on the professionals at the Freeski 6 Cross Race, has been taking place this weekend.

The ‘hüttenrallye’, which is a bit of a free-for-all event and features obstacles and hay barns along its route, is in the Austrian resort for the second year. It is taking place over two days 27/28th January – with a special TV broadcast on Sunday (29th) about the competition. And the top prize is a car – so there will be some thrilling competition as the racers throw themselves at the course.

Participants include 24 of the international free ski elite athletes – among them is last year’s winner and super G world champion Daron Rahlves (USA); plus ski-cross world champion Andreas Matt. The pro group forms teams of six with a bunch of amateur ‘hobby’ skiers. Each team includes four pro-skiers and two amateurs. The three fastest skiers among them reach the next round.

Each team will race in a fierce showdown along a 2km course on the Gampen mountain, elbowing their way through challenging narrow sections for 450m vertical. There are no rules as such: the fastest times in each round go through to the final, where the overall winner walks away with the top prize.

Most competitors are men, but there are a few women taking part too. So far, the women’s results are in: Meryll Boulangeat of France won, with silver and bronze going to Austria. Going into the men’s final today (Saturday), Daron Rahlves said, “It’s a very challenging course. Some of the corners are extremely difficult to ride and you have to really get the best line, otherwise you are definitely out. It’s going to be an exciting finale.’

After the racing, there’s the blowout dinner and partying – which the legendary St Anton does rather well!

Here’s a video capturing last year’s inaugural event.

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