Turns for Tap Water: 2016 Drink Water Rat Race Gallery & Results

Morning fog fostered weather-related skepticism.
As is often the case on Mount Hood, the clouds broke near the bottom of the Palmer lift.
Five years running, the Rat Race raises a substantial amount of money for Water.org—this year an estimated $29,000.
Tripling up. Curtis Ciszek, Bryan Fox and Austin Smith.
A mandatory hike to the course makes you wonder if it was a ploy to force participants to, you know, drink water.
The word 'legend' is often used loosely. True legend Terje Haakonsen, dropping.
Danny Davis dips and dodges through the four-pack at the top of the course.
Technically, the number one ingredient in Mountain Dew is water... A well hydrated Danny Davis ripping.
Anyone who tells you they're not nervous before dropping in at banked slalom is lying. Marko Grilc calms his nerves and eyes his line.
Marko Grilc spreads his wings and goes left.
Second-place finisher Ben Ferguson on cloud nine, or ten, or maybe fourteen.
Many were convinced this run—the first of the event—was going to be the top time. Harry Kearney looking and riding fast on a fish.
Two of the top turners at Timberline, and in the world, Alex Yoder and Josh Dirksen taking it in.
He's known for his heelside turn, but Josh Dirksen's toeside is flawless as well.
Alex Yoder cruises through the feature that forced many to stop and hop.
Austen Sweetin screaming into the top ten.
Gus Warbington whips through the woops which went worse for many. Say that tens time fast. You might be able to. It's really not that hard.
Yoder slaying the dragontail.
Dustin Craven, Zak Hale, Mikkel Bang, Sage Kotsenburg, and Andy Wright lounging behind Danny Davis' adventuremoble waiting for awards to start.
An appropriately aquatic setting for the Drink Water Rat Race awards offered participants a beautiful to venue to recall a hairball course.
A game of muff... Don't drop the ball.
Seven custom Rat Race boards from Nitro for the winners of the un-sponsored division.
Custom rat trap trophies made by Preston Strout for the fifth year running.
What do you give a snowboarder who gets everything for free? A custom surfboard shaped by Chris Christenson. And maybe an Aesmo or a wetsuit.
Men's un-sponsored top finishers, left to right, 7th through first: Will Dennis, Danny Kern, Cale Meyer, Chris Luzier, Tanner McCarty, Gus Warbington accepting for Logan Beaulieu, and JD Dennis.
Men's un-sponsored division winner, JD Dennis, hoisting a brand new Christenson twin-fin. That's got to feel good.
Women's podium, left to right, 4th through 1st: Julia Marino, Zoe Bergermann, Spencer O'Brien, and Hailey Langland.
Tied for 10th place, Toby Miller and Danny Davis roshamboed for an Aesmo pow surfer, crafted by Wolle Nyvelt. Danny won. We're guessing he'll get more use out of it...
Men's sponsored division podium, left to right, 3rd through first: Chase Josey, Ben Ferguson, and Curtis Ciszek.

Photos: Darcy Bacha

The hallmark characteristic of any banked slalom is its capacity for an eclectic field, and the 2016 Rat Race roster had names who’ve stood on X-Games and Olympic podiums, like Danny Davis and Sage Kotsenburg, dropping into the same course as Mount Hood locals, and of course water-drinkers Curtis Ciszek, Austin Smith and Bryan Fox.

An eclectic start list was mirrored by a diverse set of locations from which Rat Race riders trekked. The community aspect of this event and those like it is as much or more a draw for participants as the few minutes spent on-course. Leanne Pelosi, who drove from Vancouver in the midst of editing the Full Moon movie says, "I wouldn't miss the Rat Race for anything. I've been here all five years, and it's one of those contests that's not even a contest. It's just a gathering of our snowboard family."

Alex Yoder flew from Japan to Los Angeles to pick up his truck and made the 16-hour drive north to Mount Hood. He echoes Leanne, "It's an annual pilgrimage. The Rat Race has been going on for five years, and I've been here every time. Now it's just part of my year. The best thing about banked slaloms is it's a reunion of people. There are a few major ones a year, and we all get to catch up. I love it. I love being around Austin, Bryan and Curtis, and all the people that show up and help build and put this thing together."

There is a rule of thumb for Mount Hood: summer doesn't officially show its sunny face until July 4th. Contrary to this, dense clouds loomed above the Palmer Glacier during the days leading up to July 11th’s Rat Race. With lifts closed, the crew crafting the course relied on snow cats to access the event site perched lookers' right from the top of Timberline's Palmer lift. A dedicated dig crew—sans several typical shovelers—sculpted a typically hairball course, with a noteworthy motocross-style woops section that gobbled and swallowed riders and egos before the finish line.

Despite the work put in by those willing to brave freezing rain, frozen slush and dense fog while much of the competition field sat comfortably on a Charlie's bar stool, no one was allowed to navigate the course in its entirety before race-day practice. This is in contrast to previous years in which most who have spent time building have lapped the course repeatedly, further substantiating digger Curtis Ciszek’s 2016 victory.

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But the Rat Race, which took place on a sunny Monday, while many were stuck in the daily grind, is more than a contest of speed or a venue to bro-down. It's a legitimate charity event that raised an estimated $29,000 for Water.org, a charity that works to bring clean water to those that don't have access to it. As Drink Water partner Stephen Fox puts it, "It's easy for us to take for granted that out of a faucet comes drinkable water. In lots of places that's not the case. [Water.org] saves lives."

If you couldn’t make it up to Mount Hood, you too can still support Drink Water’s mission, as well as Water.org, and be entered to win a custom Nitro snowboard by donating here.

Congratulations to the 2016 Rat Race winners which are as follows:

Men's Sponsored Division:
1. Curtis Ciszek
2. Ben Ferguson
3. Chase Josey

Men's Un-sponsored Division:
1. JD Dennis
2. Logan Beaulieu
3. Tanner McCarty

Women's Division:
1. Hailey Langland
2. Spencer O'Brien
3. Zoe Bergermann

2016 Rat Trap Winners:
Lady Boss: Juliette Pelchat
Hot Dogger: Darcy Sharpe
No Respect: Tonino Copene
Biggest Name, Biggest Time: Mikey Rencz
Java Award: Hannah Eddy
The Skier: Chris Shalbot
Eat Shit or Die: Ashley Barker
Best Hair Best Air: Spencer Schubert

Check out the full list of times and results here

Donate to Water.org for a chance to win a custom Nitro snowboard

Ralph Kucharek is the mellowest person at any banked slalom, and pretty damn fast, too. He enlightened us with some of his secrets for success.

Ralph's Rat Race Recommendations:

1. Start off by waxing your board early on the day before so you can have the rest of the day to chill. Usually I don't scrape until my first run though.
2. What I like to do is have several beverages, but I alternate them with water.
3. Next, I like to get a little inspired, usually with the homies and maybe around a fire—anything to keep the nerves at ease. If you have fun the night before the race, you're gonna do better because you're in a fun mindset.
4. Stay up an hour past your bedtime, maybe two hours.
5. Wake up early. Last night I stayed up 'til two and got up at seven, but I felt ready when I woke up.
6. Make it to the race course on time to take a practice run.
7. Drop in, tune out and go fast.

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