Norway’s stunning Hardangervidda frozen plateau conquered by kite.
Florian Gruber wins Red Bull Ragnarok, the hardest snowkiting race in the world.
The ninth edition of Red Bull Ragnarok took place once again in the wilderness of Hardangervidda with racers facing one of the hardest editions to date.
More than 350 participants from 30 nations travelled to the famous plateau in Norway with the aim of snowkiting five laps of a brutal course on either skis or snowboard.
Here is all you need to know:
Red Bull Ragnarok is the biggest snowkiting event in the world, with 2018 seeing 350 competitors from 30 nations take on the challenge.
The race format is a mass start, with the skiers and snowboarders then attempting to complete five full laps (a total of 65 miles) in the five-hour time limit.
The ultimate objective is to see who can complete the course in the shortest possible time using kite power alone.
Red Bull Ragnarok is named from Norse mythology, where Ragnarök is the final battle between good and evil.
This year’s course was cut by 15 miles due to only eight participants being able to finish all five rounds in 2017.
The wind died down at the end of the day however, and only three people made it across the finish line in time.
from Germany beat last year’s winner Felix Kersten by only two minutes after four hours of racing with Jonas Lengwiler clinching the third place in the men’s ski category.
Gruber, who also won in 2016, said: “This is my third time competing in this race, and this is the toughest Red Bull Ragnarok I have done for sure! At first we had good wind and smaller kites, but then we had to rig bigger. I always saw people in front of me, and managed to catch up with Felix and Jonas right before the last lap. It was a tough fight and the wind was up and down, so I am super happy to win this battle.”
On the women’s side of the skiing competition, British Ragnarok veteran Steph Bridge claimed her fourth title in front of the two Norwegians Frøydis Sjøvold and Camilla Ringvold.
No snowboarders made it across the finish line in time this year due to the wind dying down during the last hour of the race. Valeria Garashenko of Russia and Peter Martel of Canada came closest, so took home the victories.
In 2016 only 25 out of 350 kiters completed all five laps (62 miles). In 2017 only 8 out of 350 kiters completed all five laps (81 miles). In 2018 only 3 out of 350 completed all five laps (65 miles).