Quebec City. Helsinki, Finland. Belfast, Ireland. Davos, Switzerland. Moscow, Russia.
And now: Edmonton, Alberta.
Maybe you missed it if you haven’t been paying attention – Edmonton has landed an event this March that puts us among some pretty impressive International company.
For most of us born and or raised and or living in Edmonton who don’t know what Crashed Ice is you might be like, “Damn right there is ice in Edmonton — snow, too. I’ve crashed on it plenty of times. How and why is this news exactly?”
Red Bull Crashed Ice is part of a world tour of Ice Cross Downhill, which means ripping along a track in the middle of the city, over high vertical drops and steep turns.
Competitors race in heats of four with the top two advancing to the next round until a winner is declared or F16s are scrambled because of unidentified bogeys breaking the sound barrier in Canadian airspace. Whichever comes first.
Qualifying events have been going on all around the world in recent months in Saint Paul, Helsinki and Belfast leading up to the finals. And after having been hosted in Quebec City for the past 9 years, the Finals are coming to Edmonton for the first time.
Not too shabby at all.
So the crazy folk from Red Bull are going to be setting up a giant race course in the River Valley like in the videos above and below. Competitors from all over the world will be coming to Edmonton, ready to strap on the blades, suppress the part of the brain that creates fear chemicals and go barreling down the track at top speed.
The track, by the way, is in the River Valley – arguably our nicest part of the city and usually reserved for slower events such as walking at a safe pace, running at half speed or daredevil bench sitting. This will be the biggest event the River Valley has ever seen and easily the most extreme.
Get a load of the camera strapped to this dude if you don’t know what Crashed Ice is all about. It’s pretty awesome.
Think luge except you aren’t lying on your back waiting for the angel of death to carry you away. Think bobsled except you don’t get those cool sleds to gingerly climb into and then presumably sip on bourbon while texting friends in the crowd as you careen down the track.
This is much more extreme than all of that. These cats smash into each other all the way down the ice and go over jumps with all sorts of mayhem.
This is a legitimately big deal, and if you think those fancy pants in Davos aren’t fretting over their 100 Euro lattes about the Canadian city way up North eating their lunch and hosting the finals, you are wrong. Dead wrong.
Now it is hoped that Edmontonians will turn out in full force to cheer on the global field of competitors. They say Saint Paul Minnesota had 140,000 people at their race in 2015 and the extreme sports community will be looking to Edmonton to see how we measure up.
So the event is going to go down on March 14th. Admission is free, you just wander down to the starting point just below the Shaw Convention Centre. Then you are treated to crazy daredevils breaking the sound barrier on their way down a course made of solid ice until a World Champion is declared.
The NationHQ gang will be in attendance and we will be having a hell of a shaker afterwards at one of the many events planned throughout the City.