Continuing a storied legacy, from a decorated ski racing career to creating ski events and mentoring young athletes, Rahlves returns to the mountains he grew up skiing on for his next chapter
[Olympic Valley, Calif.] Nov. 1, 2021—Palisades Tahoe is excited to announce the newest member of its athlete team, Daron Rahlves, who starts his partnership with the resort today. As a decorated World Cup and Olympic ski racer and prolific force in the ski industry, Palisades Tahoe is honored to have someone with such a deep and enduring passion for skiing and the community it creates join its team. Rahlves grew up skiing at the resort, and is thrilled to be able to return to the slopes where he got his start, and watch his kids do the same.
“Daron has been a champion for skiing and the Tahoe community for decades, as well as a strong role model for kids, especially our athletes on snow. His values match ours,” said Dee Byrne, president and COO of Palisades Tahoe. “We are so fortunate to have him representing our resort in a more formalized relationship. Palisades Tahoe is the land of legends; so much of what defines us comes from the numerous boundary-breaking athletes who have called this place home. Having Daron on our team fits perfectly with who we are, especially as we enter the next chapter of this resort’s history. We are looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”
Rahlves’ very first day on skis was at Palisades Tahoe, when he was just three years old. His family drove up from the Bay Area to Tahoe every weekend, before his family decided to move to Alpine Meadows full-time when he was 11. Rahlves joined the Alpine Meadows Ski Team when he was seven years old, though his family still started every weekend morning with NASTAR laps on Kangaroo before the kids would meet up with the ski team to train gates and do drills—but most importantly rip around Hot Wheels Gully with their friends.
Rahlves was on the ski team until he was 14, when he went to the east coast to attend the ski academy Green Mountain Valley School. He would still come home every spring break to soak up the best part of the ski season at Palisades Tahoe.
Rahlves had an impressive ski racing career; he was named to the U.S. Ski Team in 1994, and competed in downhill, Super-G and Giant Slalom for 15 years. He is the most decorated male American Downhill skier in history, winning on the tour’s most challenging course, the Hahnenkamm, in 2003 and again in 2004 in Super-G. Rahlves credits his first World Cup win in 1995 to the unique influence of the mountains and athletes of Palisades Tahoe.
“Just before that week in early March I was home skiing pow with Shane McConkey and Jonny Moseley,” Rahlves said. “We had a blast and I wasn’t holding back, even with a few World Cup races left on the schedule. I took that same mindset of fun and flow freeskiing with those guys into the Kvitfjell downhill track and made it mine those two days. That was the culmination of a ton of hard work, and fulfilled a dream to be the best in the world. From then on I realized making it happen on the World Cup was as much about working hard, skiing tactically smart and laying it on the line, as it was to harness the mindset of skiing for fun and feeling the flow.”
After racking up accolades in alpine skiing, he made the move to skier cross, and competed nationally for two years, helping the sport grow in recognition and participation. After he left competitive skiing, Rahlves remained a force in the ski industry, filming ski movie segments for Warren Miller Entertainment, Matchstick Productions and Teton Gravity Research. He also created the Rahlves’ Banzai Tour, a skier cross-type event that held stops at Palisades Tahoe, and oversaw the event for six years. For the last two decades Rahlves has represented Sugar Bowl Resort, where he worked on building ski events and mentoring local youth athletes.
“Now is the perfect time for me and my family to make the move back to Palisades Tahoe, Rahlves said. “I have so much more desire to pass on the passion to all skiers, young and older, in race, freeride and general ski enthusiasm. I definitely feed off the high-energy vibe here, and continue loving the challenge of all the terrain both mountains have to offer.”
Rahlves has skied at Palisades Tahoe every single season since those first runs at three years old. While his career has taken him around the globe, he has maintained a special affinity and involvement with Palisades Tahoe, still competing in events, supporting charity events hosted at the mountain, guest coaching at ski racing camps and freeskiing here whenever he had the chance. As a member of the athlete team, he will represent the mountain, but also has a special interest in assisting Team Palisades Tahoe, and will help train and mentor the athletes on the team.
“Having Daron working with Team Palisades Tahoe will bring an incredible benefit to our athletes,” said Bill Hudson, Director of Teams at Palisades Tahoe. “Daron knows what it takes to win, and he knows that part of that is learning to read this mountain and have fun on skis. His philosophy of mixing hard work and training with skiing the entire mountain aligns with our goals, and now our race and big mountain team athletes can learn that from one of the best.”
Rahlves joins legendary athletes Jonny Moseley, Jeremy Jones, Cody Townsend, Michelle Parker, JT Holmes, Travis Ganong, Bryce Bennett, Amie Engerbretson, Connery Lundin, Sammy Luebke, Keely Cashman, and AJ Hurt on the Palisades Tahoe Athlete Team.
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