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article imageWorld Class Blade Bending at Red Bull Crashed Ice

By Bryen Dunn     Mar 31, 2010 in Sports
Quebec - There’s something mystical that happens when a half-kilometre long ice slope is constructed in the centre of an urban centre, and individuals race downward in an attempt to win it all.
This is the premise behind the Red Bull Crashed Ice competition that has been taking place annually for the past nine years in Europe and North America, over a total of 14 competitions.
The backdrop of this year’s North American challenge (March 20) was once again down the Côte de la Montagne in Quebec City, with the historic Chateau Frontenac as the starting point and the St. Lawrence River below as the finishing line. There were 64 men and 16 women who began the run and only one from each category would end up the champion. 2010 marked the first ever World Championships, meaning that out of the 19 national teams the individual with the greatest combined points from both the European and North American races would be crowned the overall champion.
This year it was estimated that 120,000 spectators took in the action, not only provided by the racers, but by full on joie de vivre in the streets as well. There was a new sectioned “Fan Zone” where people could purchase a ticket to chill at the finish line amongst 3,000 others in an enclosed licensed area with several large live-action screens, and a concert performance by Vancouver’s Hot Hot Heat.
With the track running 554 meters in length with a 60m vertical, the first hurdle was a barrel jump, after which speeds of up to 60 km/hr were sometimes reached while navigating a barrage of tightly woven twists and turns being cheered and jeered along the way, as AC/DC’s Highway to Hell echoed “no stop signs, speed limits” throughout the city. The majority of the racers are hockey players who look at this as an opportunity to breakdown barriers of the traditional flat ice surface, bending both genres and blades. While there was some jostling for position along the way, most is done in good sport.
Scott Jewett, National Sport & Event Manager for Red Bull Canada, is responsible for the overall planning, production and execution of the event, and has seen the event gain momentum since the first race back in 2006. “Canada is a country with an affinity for snow sports and winter. Combine this with our love of hockey and you have the perfect recipe”, he states. As for the future, Jewett is confident in saying, “Every year our registration numbers for qualifiers grows, the exposure for the event increases, the crowd gets bigger and the course gets faster.”
Creating history, Martin Niefnecker of Germany earned the title as the first-ever World Champion. He humbly stated, “It’s a very big honor to be the first World Champion”. While finishing second in Quebec, his combined point total from his first place victory in Munich earned him this prestigious honour. Toronto brothers Kyle and Scott Croxall took in first and third spots respectively. Reigning female champion Kerri Muir of Calgary took home first for the second year in a row. She stated, “I’m so happy, but I don’t know how I did it. I feel like I blacked out and somehow just stayed on my feet.” Second and third place were taken by Megan Vermillon and Kailee Ryan, both from Alberta as well.
Closing off the night, spectators were treated to a downhill motocross ride by Colton Facciotti and Dusty Klatt. The momentum around this sport is certainly building, and some racers have become recognized names, such as six-time champion Jasper Felder from Sweden, along with Alberta’s Kevin Olson and Gabriel Andre. The race ended around 10:30 but the revelry continued as people made their way to one of the after parties held at bars along the adrenaline pumped Rue Grande Allée. All in all it was an action packed evening of free outdoor entertainment that brought together everyone who was out to have un bon-temps!
More about Crashed ice, Quebec, Skating, Motocross, Red Bull
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