This is the world’s toughest snowkite race in GIFs

Find out what it takes to compete at the wildest snowkite race on the planet, the Red Bull Ragnarok.
By Dominique Granger

The epic snowkite battle Red Bull Ragnarok has taken place once more in the snowy hills of Hardangervidda, Norway. Just you, your kite, the wind… and a few hundred other riders, all hungry for victory. Think you have what it takes to win – or just make it to the finish line in one piece? Here are a few things you should know first…

This year saw 333 participants – that’s a lot of people snowkiting in one place! It means any moment can become mayhem, especially if the wind drops slightly. Why is it more difficult to navigate your way in a crowd of kites in lower wind speed? Because in order to generate more power, the riders need to move their kites up and down. Add to that a crossing in the racecourse, and you have a wild 3D maze which you must make your way through with full spacial awareness if you want to avoid tangled lines…

The course is about 20 kilometres long, depending on the route the participants choose. In order to finish the race, five laps must be completed with the only requirement being to pass through the gates set up by the race team in order to be registered by the results system. That means a total of about 100km (good maths, eh?)… if you make it to the end. What if you don’t? You have to drag your gear in deep snow, and walk quite a way. Let’s just say you must be mentally ready for this option: this year only 22 people out of 333 finished the race… But if you do finish…

… with a race flag!
Fortunately, this isn’t a traditional Norwegian way of congratulating the winner!

The location for the race is top secret and isn’t announced until race day. This means you can't rely on forecasts and the wind and weather may change at any time. Mother Nature can be moody in the Northern winters... And the Vikings? Well you never know. Better safe than sorry!

Participants arrive on the Thursday night and leave on the Sunday morning. It’s your chance to meet new friends, see some old ones and even meet World Champions like Gisela Pulido and Christophe Tack. So bring some hot beverages and other goodies and get ready to share – you will spend all day together in the middle of nowhere – a great bonding opportunity!

Finally, what you should really prepare for is to have an awesome time. The vibe is a really good and mellow one and you will definitely want to have new kite buddies to go exploring with on other days as well as share good times at the legendary after party.

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