Red Bull Ragnarok 2017 report

The battle draws to a close at the most challenging Ragnarok yet!


350 competitors from 29 different countries toed the line at this year’s Red Bull Ragnarok, the seventh one since it first began in 2010, in Haugastøl on the Hardangervidda plateau in the mountains of southern Norway.


Photo: Daniel Tengs/Red Bull Content Pool

The Red Bull Ragnarok is, without doubt, the world’s toughest kite-race, on snow or otherwise. At 130 kilometres, this year’s Ragnarok was the longest race to date, 30 kilometres longer than previous races. Competitors had five hours to try to complete gruelling course.

Although immensely challenging, this seventh Ragnarok since 2010 attracted a whopping 350 competitors from 29 different countries who toed the line in Haugastøl on the Hardangervidda plateau in the mountains of southern Norway.

In Norse mythology, the Ragnarok is a great battle that will someday come to pass during which the sun will turn black and all of the gods will meet their ultimate end. This year’s race was sure to be an epic battle in itself. Gusty winds blew in excess of 50 knots across the summits and frequently dropped to almost nothing in the valley bottoms – requiring intuitive and technical kite handling skills to negotiate the terrain. The course comprised of five x 26 kilometre laps.

Of all the kiters that have entered the event over the years – some of them very seasoned professionals – many have been beaten by Ragnarok – and this event proved to be the hardest yet with only eight competitors completing five full laps of the course – far fewer than the 25 who completed it last year.

German kiter Felix Kersten claimed victory on skis, claiming his second gold medal at the event after covering five laps of the course in 3 hours 40 minutes, finishing with a 27 minute lead over Bruce Kessler from Switzerland who took second in the ski division. Felix has real pedigree in snowkite racing as the overall winner of the 2017 Swiss Snowkitetour with some convincing wins already under his belt earlier this year at the WISSA (World Ice and Snow Sailing Association) 2017 events in Russia. He’s had four podium finishes at previous Ragnaroks and his expert flying skills came to the fore as he piloted his Ozone R1 V2 across this challenging course. 


Photo: Daniel Tengs/Red Bull Content Pool

The men’s snowboard event was won by Jonas Lengwiler, another Swiss rider, who’d only taken up snowboarding two months prior to this year’s event. He’s an experienced snowkiter and has finished in fourth place twice on skis in the past but had decided to take a chance on the snowboard discipline this year and, speaking after what he believes was the hardest Ragnarok he’s participated in, Jonas said, “It’s really nice that I can win. Next year I will start again and try to win with skis, that’s my goal.”


Photo: Daniel Tengs/Red Bull Content Pool

British rider Steph Bridge had a great race and, while she didn’t manage five laps of the course, she secured the top spot on the podium for the third time in the women’s ski category ahead of Norwegians Camilla Ringvold and Camilla Nore. 

Latvian rider Aika Ambrasa took first place in the women’s snowboard event, stating afterwards that it had been a dream of hers for a long time.

Regardless of how they finished, one thing that all of the competitors can surely agree on was that it had been a struggle worthy of the Ragnarok name and course winner Kerstens finished by saying, “This was far harder than previous Ragnaroks. I’m totally done and totally happy”.


Photo: Daniel Tengs/Red Bull Content Pool

Men’s Ski

  1. Felix Kersten (Germany)
  2. Bruce Kessler (Switzerland)
  3. Dominik Zimmermann (Germany)


Men’s Snowboard

  1. Jonas Lengwiler (Switzerland)
  2. Sigve Botnen (Norway)
  3. Miroslav Schutz (Czech Republic)


Women’s Ski

  1. Stephanie Bridge (Great Britain)
  2. Camilla Ringvold (Norway)
  3. Camilla Nore (Norway)


Women’s Snowboard

  1. Aija Ambrasa (Latvia)
  2. Iris Straume (Norway)
  3. Marie-Eve Mayrand (Canada)

Check out this year’s highlight video for a glimpse of the Red Bull Ragnarok 2017


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