Crash Course

Crash Course

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Edmonton’s river valley plays host to the season finale of Red Bull’s Crashed Ice

Imagine hurtling down an urban ice track weaving through the streets of downtown Edmonton and the river valley at breakneck speeds of over 60 kilometres an hour while thousands cheer as you fly by, knowing that one wrong move could send you into a glorious crash… Well, you don’t have to just imagine, as The City of Edmonton and Red Bull have teamed up to bring the grand finale of the 2015 Red Bull Crashed Ice to our city on March 14, and you may even get the chance to take part!

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Ice cross downhill (or downhill ice cross), involves direct competitive downhill skating at extreme speeds on a walled track featuring sharp turns and high vertical drops. A combination of hockey, bordercross and downhill skiing, only the toughest and fasters skaters from around the world shine in this extreme sport. Entering its 15th year of competition, ice cross downhill is recognized as one of the most unique and challenging sport of its kind, as well as the fastest sport on skates.

Since the first-ever race back in 2001, Red Bull Crashed Ice has developed into one of the world’s most breathtaking winter sports events. Riders hurtle down courses up to 600 metres in length in groups of four, shoulder to shoulder, as they fight it out for victory. The whole race is held on a steep downhill track dotted with chicanes, jumps and rollers. Pushing, sliding and sprinting are all on the agenda as the athletes race down the course, but the rules are very simple: first to the bottom wins.

“Hosting major international events during the winter helps us share our passion for winter and show the world that Edmonton is a prime winter destination. Red Bull Crashed Ice aligns extremely well with the Edmonton Winter City Strategy and is yet another reason for Edmontonians to embrace winter, and our northern heritage. This event is going to transform downtown and bring excitement to an area that is growing and becoming more vibrant,” says James Jackson of Edmonton Tourism.

Red Bull says that bringing Crashed Ice to the city of Edmonton is an exciting end to the 2015 season. The season finale stop is consistently renowned as the most iconic of the circuit and Edmonton’s will feature the longest track of the entire 2015 season. Other stops prior to Edmonton include: Saint Paul, Minnesota (Jan. 24);  Helsinki, Finland (Feb. 7); and Belfast, Northern Ireland (Feb. 21).

“As the sport of Ice Cross Downhill grows, it’s very exciting to expose Red Bull Crashed Ice to a new audience in Western Canada,” says Christian Papillon, Ice Cross Downhill Sport Director. “The city offers a perfect urban backdrop. I can tell you that Edmonton’s final showdown will have the most impressive and challenging track of the season.”

As the event is completely free to attend, organizers expect tens of thousands of people from all over the world to come and enjoy Crashed Ice and the general party atmosphere of downtown during this world-class event.

“In Quebec City last year, they saw roughly 100,000 people come to enjoy Red Bull Crashed Ice. I have a feeling Edmontonians will come through with flying colours,” says Jackson, adding that past Red Bull Crashed Ice events have brought in significant and positive economic impacts for previous host cities.

“This event is going to transform downtown.”

“Red Bull Crashed Ice, and all the other incredible sport and cultural events our community hosts have already put us on the map. We have a historic and well respected history of ice hockey and hospitality, not to mention a renowned event hosting capacity.” said Jackson.

Even though competitors come from around the world for Red Bull Crashed Ice, fearless local male and female athletes also have a chance to participate. If you feel like you have the right mix of strength, speed, stamina and courage, then Red Bull is inviting 200 male and 20 female athletes per qualifying city to participate in the Edmonton qualifier on January 31 (registration closes Jan. 23). If more than 200 men and 20 women register, then a lottery will be held to see who will be randomly selected for time trials.

As for the “professionals” competing in Edmonton, two Canadian athletes currently hold top 10 spots in the sport of Ice Cross Downhill. Scott Croxall (Ontario) sits at second place, trailing only Marco Dallago of Austria. Scott’s older brother, Kyle, a resident of Calgary, currently sits in ninth place overall and will have the coveted opportunity to battle on his home turf this season.

“Edmonton’s final showdown will have the most impressive and challenging track of the season.”

According to Red Bull, they are expecting the event to be one of the best yet in the history of the sport.

“Edmonton has a longstanding history of hosting world-class sport and culture events. From festivals to outdoor recreation, Edmonton residents come out in the thousands as spectators and volunteers to support major events. The city is a prime winter destination in Canada, with a population that truly embraces the winter season,” says Emily Palley-Samson of Red Bull Canada.

Closer to the March 14, further event information and broadcast details will be released. For more information, or to register as a participant, visit RedbullCrashedIce.com.

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