Sore, dehydrated and with no wind to boost her kite, Canadian Marie-Eve Mayrand had to run the last few hundred metres to win first place in the women’s snowboard category at the Red Bull Ragnarok 2016 world snow-kite race in Norway.
Marie-Eve recounts her challenges, experiences and journey to gold at Ragnarok.
The first lap took almost three hours. I started behind a lot of people and was downwind. It took me 15 minutes just to cross the start line. I made navigational errors and even got lost. At one point, I was in such a bad spot that I just packed everything and ran up a big hill in deep snow to improve my position. I ended the lap in eighth place in my category.
This was a near-perfect focused lap. I went where the wind was, avoided slow kiters, did not make mistakes and moved up to second place. I clocked 54 minutes -- the fastest time by any woman on a snowboard in the 2016 edition of Ragnarok.
The final lap
This was a good lap at 62 minutes, but there was no time for a fourth or fifth lap. Also the wind had died out. Many people were still trying to ride but without much success. The last gate was blocked by a couple of kiters who were trying to keep their kites up. A few hundred meters from the end, I just threw my lines and board on the ground and ran as fast as I could to cross the finish line.
I didn’t know that I was the winner. Apparently Red Bull was trying to interview me, but I was nowhere to be found! I was packing up my gear and celebrating my Canadian friends’ achievements, Peter Martel and Josh Barker among them.
It felt awesome to be on the first step on the podium on that day, among last year’s winners and pro-riders that I admire and met at Ragnarok! I was also excited to share the Norway experience with my Canadian teammates, they keep pushing me and helping me to become a better kiter (on snow and water).
The right kite for the race
I used my Chrono V2 15M for the race. Since I'm a freestyle rider on water and also do a lot of backcountry kiting during winter in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Chrono V2 is a perfect kite for me -- easy to launch and re-launch under all conditions, great for light wind, fun to ride and also very good for races such as the Ragnarok.
I know I could have done better during my first lap. I feel like I gained experience with the Norwegian terrain and getting into a mass start. I would love to go back next year as it was an incredible experience.”