Rally racing hits Maine ski resort this winter

For one day this winter, skiers and snowboarders at Maine's Sunday River Resort will have to keep their eyes out for some very unusual uphill traffic. On January 14, eight 900-horsepower off-road Pro4 rally trucks will take to the Sunday River slopes to compete in the Red Bull Frozen Rush, a snow-laden rally racing event making its debut on the Red Bull Signature Series this season.

"Defying climate constraints, ripping figure eights, and flying off jumps on steep snowy inclines and declines is what eight professional drivers will use to test their skills against one another on uncharted territory for the first time," Red Bull announced in a press release.

The hybrid motor sport is the brainchild of three-time TORC Series Champion Ricky Johnson, who first tested his snow racing at Mount Snow resort in Vermont last year. According to Red Bull, Johnson enjoyed it so much he advocated for the creation of a signature race, and thus the Frozen Rush was born.

Ricky Johnson takes on some of the gates at last year's Frozen Rush rally racing test event; photo courtesy of Brian Nevins/Red Bull Content Pool

Ricky Johnson takes on some of the gates at last year’s Frozen Rush rally racing test event; photo courtesy of Brian Nevins/Red Bull Content Pool

The Frozen Rush race format will be head-to-head, bracketed, single elimination with two drivers on course at a time. Racers will rise over 550 feet before beginning a decent toward the finish line in this mile-long course, all the while maneuvering through slalom gates and launching off jumps.

For those who can't make it up to the Northeast Kingdom this winter, NBC will air Frozen Rush in 2014 as part of the Red Bull Signature Series.