A 400 meter race does not sound intimidating to most runners. Add the immensity of a Nordic ski jump at 6,870 feet of altitude and the challenge factor increases exponentially—thus the conception of the Red Bull 400. The Red Bull 400 comes to the United States for the first time since the inception of the race in 2011 in Tauplitz, Austria and debuts at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, UT as the last stop on the tour.
Alan Alborn, head coach and program manager for the Park City Nordic Ski Club (PCNSC) and head coach and athletic program manager for the Women’s Ski Jumping team learned of the Red Bull 400 events in Europe and knew immediately, that he wanted to bring the event to the Utah Olympic Park. Alborn, a three-time Olympian, competed on the Nordic ski jump “normal hill” and “large hill” during the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Let’s just say he has a personal passion for these Nordic Ski Jumps.
“Given the unique situation of working with a club and national team, I see every day the need for exposure in order for the sport to grow and reach a higher level. The Red Bull 400 was something I thought was a perfect fit to show what our club program and terrific venue can offer,” said Alborn.
Alborn suggested the idea over a year ago to Red Bull and the Utah Olympic Park, and after a great deal of planning, the event will finally come to fruition on September 26, 2015.
Proceeds from the U.S. debut of the Red Bull 400 at the Utah Olympic Park will benefit the Utah Olympic Park’s in-house program, PCNSC.
PCNSC, winner of the 2015 USSA Club of the Year, has produced one of the strongest women’s ski jumping teams in the world as well as fielded the first ever Women’s Ski Jumping Olympic team made up of Sarah Hendrickson, Lindsey Van, and Jessica Jerome.
“The international success of an athlete like Sarah Hendrickson speaks volumes about the opportunities that the Utah Olympic Park facility and PCNSC provide for local athletes,” said Alborn. “I’m thrilled we are going to host the Red Bull 400 in support of PCSNC and this amazing facility.”
What can a participating athlete expect from the 400 meter course at the Utah Olympic Park?
Participants will compete in heats of up to 50 runners. The top 50 times per division will go on to compete in the finals. Participants will climb the hill and ski jump in-run with no assistance of stairs nor can they touch, grab, or hold onto the sidewalls of the jump.
“The K120 Nordic ski jump, the race course at the Utah Olympic Park, has a 36 degree incline at its steepest point and a total altitude gain of 528 feet. It’s quite a challenge even for elite athletes that run the stairs for training. Take the stairs out of the equation and it really becomes a full body challenge,” said Jamie Kimball, Park Operations Manager.
The Grand Prize for 1st place men’s and women’s participants is an all-inclusive to trip to a secret location in Europe alongside the winners of other the six global locations.
Registration is available online at RedBull400.com.