Printable Rules and Guidelines

These guidelines have been simplified in an effort to increase racer participation. Whether you are a first-time participant or a veteran, we recommend reading these carefully as they have been updated..  Contact us with your race questions, and tell us how to improve this event.  (509)670-7687, fax (509)663-3894, email, website

Table of Contents

  1. General Rules Definitions and Penalties

A technical committee will rule on penalties and disqualification.  Decisions will be based on advantage gained, safety compromised, and the sportsmanship-like attitude of the racers involved. A referee station will be located near the finish line. Penalties and disqualification include, but are not limited to:
1.2 All racers will be given a reasonable period of time to finish their leg of the race. The exchange zones and bike course will be closed and racers will be officially out of the race.
1.3 Absolutely no practice runs below the starting area of the alpine leg of the course will be allowed on race day. A 5 min penalty will be assessed.
1.4 A penalty will be assessed when skiers are judged by race marshals to be skiing in an unsafe manner, endangering other skiers.
1.5 A 15 second penalty will be assessed in the Alpine skiing leg for each gate that is missed (for which the skier does not climb up and rerun the gate). If you miss a gate, then a gate keeper may blow a whistle to inform you that you are being assessed a penalty.
1.6 Cyclists must make their own repairs with tools and parts carried by them during the race, without assistance from spectators or other racers. A penalty will be assessed for giving or receiving outside assistance.
1.7 Drafting during the bicycle leg is disallowed in all divisions for reasons of safety and artificial advantage; a 2 minute penalty is assessed for drafting.
1.8 A 30-second penalty will be assessed for false starting the sprint portion of the portage/sprint leg. The sprinter may begin when the boat reaches the line in the center of the transition zone.

2 Divisions Traditional Course or Columbia Course
2.1 Team: Three to six participants doing different legs of the race.
2.2 Tandem: Two participants doing different legs. Only one team member is required to cross the finish line.
2.2.1 Tandem teams will follow the same course and rules as the iron divisions.
2.2.2 Tandem bicycles are not allowed in any class, including the Tandem Division.
2.3 Iron: One participant doing every leg.
2.3.1 Iron participants, age 16 and younger, must write a letter of application to the Ridge to River Board of Directors describing: 1) their skill level and experience in all events of the race; 2) give a description of the skis, bike, and kayak that they plan to use in Ridge to River; 3) list the names, telephone numbers, and race day location of the support people who will be assisting with transition and equipment at the exchange zones; 4) pass a skills test if the Board deems it appropriate. This letter of application must be signed by the applicant and parent or legal guardian, and must be submitted to Ridge to River prior to April 11th .
2.3.2. Iron persons must change from Nordic equipment to conventional Alpine equipment for the Alpine leg.
2.3.3 One assist person is allowed to ride the chair lift at Mission Ridge for each Iron participant.
2.4 Adventure Duo: Two participants doing every leg together as iron.
2.4.1 Both members of the Adventure team will participate in all six stages of the race simultaneously. No Adventure racers will be allowed to start the next leg of the race until both team members are present, and they are required to cross the finish line in Walla Walla Point Park together.
2.4.2 Adventure teams use all Pro Iron rules, courses, equipment, holding areas and exchange zones.
2.4.3 Both team members must participate in the water leg, and may use one or two boats. Both members will proceed together on the Iron sprint course to the finish line.
2.5 Columbia Course Follow the same ski legs and run leg as the Traditional Course. On the bike leg, in the Chatham Hill area, the Columbia coursers will turn east (right) towards the Columbia River and ride to an exchange zone at Confluence State Park. At Confluence, they will pass off to the boaters, who will paddle to the Boat Landing and continue the race on the traditional portage/sprint finish. The bike leg is approximately 10 miles and the water leg is 3 miles.

3. Equipment (Pro, Rec, Really Rec, Columbia Course)
3.1 Nordic – All classes
Skis must remain parallel in the first Ten yards of the start. Nordic skiers are required to start wearing their skis. They will not be allowed to start the race by walking.
3.1.1 Pro: Participants may use recreational or racing equipment and techniques of their choice.
3.1.2 Rec including Iron Rec.:
Any style of skating is disallowed in Rec classes. This includes skating, marathon and flying-herringbone (herringbone with a glide) techniques. Officials will be on the course to observe violations in technique
3.1.3 Really Rec: Nordic skis must have a minimum width of 50 mm at the tip(shovel).

3.2 Alpine - All classes
Alpine ski equipment is required to have appropriate retention devices, including telemark. Telemarking equipment with hard plastic boots and telemarking techniques are allowed and lockdown mountaineering bindings are allowed. Snowboards are allowed.
3.2.1 Teams (excluding Tandem teams) must run the first section of this leg with their ski boots on and carrying the rest of their equipment.
3.2.1 Iron, Adventure Duo and Tandem (if also doing the Nordic leg) must change from Nordic equipment to conventional Alpine equipment for the Alpine leg.

3.3 Run - All classes
Runners are required to stay in the right lane and must be alert to automobile and mountain bike traffic.

3.4 Bike - All classes
CPSC, ANSI or Snell approved helmets are required. Fairings are not allowed. Recumbent and tandem bicycles are not allowed in any class including the Tandem Division. Cyclists must travel the right side of the road, except Squilchuck Road to Methow and controlled intersections or corners. Drafting during the bicycle leg is disallowed in all divisions.
Mountain bikes are allowed in any division with mountain bike handlebars, bar ends, but they are not excluded from meeting all other rules in their category. At the Exchange Zone, biker also doing the water leg must dismount at the exchange zone, proceed on foot. These racers must change shoes and clothing outside of the actual exchange zone to avoid collision with incoming bikers.
3.4.1 Pro: Any bike not restricted in the general bike rules above is allowed.
3.4.2 Rec (including Iron Rec): Wheel covers; solid disk wheels, tri-spoke wheels, tri-bars, aerodynamic bars, and clip-on bars are not allowed in the Rec class and Rec class road bike rims must have metal spokes with a 1" max dish (rim depth).
3.4.3 Really Rec: Mountain bikes must be used and must meet all Rec. rules and have tires no less than 1.5" or 35c and have mountain bike type handlebars.
3.4.4 Eco Boomers: Any bike not restricted in the general bike rules above is allowed.

3.5 Water - All classes
Each boat must have a USCG approved (Type III or V) personal floatation device for each water leg participant. A vest type personal floatation device must be worn (zipped and/or buckled) at all times when in the water. Inflatable life jackets are considered unreliable and are not allowed in Ridge to River.
All canoe division canoes must be of the open design. Spray skirts are allowed. All canoers must use canoe paddles (not double-bladed kayak paddles). One or two team members may participate on the water leg, but not more than two participants per boat. In all two-person boats, only the two water leg paddlers may carry the boat to the water, and no help is allowed. The partner waiting with the boat is not allowed to move the boat until his or her partner with the chip touches the boat. In the team division the paddler must take the chip from the biker unless the biker is also paddling. This cannot be done by another member or the support person. In a single person boat, each participant is allowed to have a support person or a race volunteer assist them in the exchange zone at Monitor and at Confluence.
3.5.1 Pro: Kayak (K) Pro-K. class. Any paddle-powered craft without oar-locks is allowed.
3.5.2 Rec: including Columbia River Rec. The minimum canoe width allowed team divisions is 31", measured at the 4" waterline. Maximum canoe length is 18'. Kayaks allowed in team divisions are plastic sit-on-top style vessels with a maximum length of 14'1".
3.5.3 Iron Rec: May use a kayak or a single-person canoe. Kayaks are limited to a minimum 23" width. In addition, down river racers are specifically excluded, as are all other streamlined hull designs that have been built or modified to meet the 23" width rule.
3.5.4 Really Rec: Columbia Course boats must be two person canoes and must be constructed of either plastic or aluminum, not fiberglass or wood, and paddles must be of straight design.
3.5.5 Eco Boomers: Any paddle-powered craft without oar-locks is allowed. 

Variance Request: If you feel that your boat should qualify to compete with the boats described above, but it does not meet the length or width criteria, submit a photo and a letter requesting a variance to Ridge to River Relay, no later than April 7.

3.6 Portage - All classes
All team members participating in the portage are required to have participated in one or more of the previous legs of the race: ski, run, bike, or water leg. Any members of your team may participate. All participating must have a race number visible.
3.6.1 Pro, Rec, Really Rec and Eco Boomer teams: The only equipment required to be carried during the portage is the boat.
3.6.2 All Iron, Adventure, Eco Iron and Tandem classes: Only the paddles and life jackets must be carried during the portage/sprint.

3.7 Sprint - All Classes
Only one member is allowed to sprint, except in Iron Adventure class, where both team members sprint to the finish. The sprinter must have the timing chip while sprinting. The timing chip must cross the finish line and be turned over to the finish line

Ridge to River   1312 A Maple Street   Wenatchee, WA  98801   Pnone: 509-662-8799   Fax: 509-663-3894   Email:
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