As 70,000 of you know, Crashed Ice invaded the river valley this weekend and turned the downtown core in a party the city hasn’t seen in ages. To make things even more awesome, the guys from Violent Gentlemen flew up to spend the weekend with us and take in the festivities. As you can tell from the video above, we had a hell of a good time.
Not only was it surreal to have such a massive event coming to Edmonton, it was even more ridiculous to be watching it with George Parros and pro-skater Mike Vallely. As a hockey fan and former (awful) skateboarder this was a surreal experience to not only meet but get a chance to spend some time with a couple heroes like that. To make things even better, these guys were probably some of the nicest people we could ever have met.
Going into Friday night I wasn’t really too sure of what to expect. I mean, I had watched Crashed Ice before but I had never seen the event live and I wasn’t even sure where we would be watching from. Fortunately, the Friday crowd was about 10% of what showed up on Saturday night so we were able to wander around and get as close to the action as we wanted.
After watching the finale for the team event (won by team Living the Dream) we made our way to the official kick off party at Knoxville’s which was a rowdy affair. Not surprisingly, the bar was absolutely slammed and the atmosphere was bumping. Trying to look cool in front of our guests, I refrained from speaker dancing even though the Violent Gentlemen probably would have been appreciated my moves.
THE MAIN EVENT
After resting up on Friday night, we made our way back to the grounds to see that the river valley had completely been overrun. Walking down Jasper Ave it didn’t take long to see that this party was going to be electric. The crowd was as large as anything I’ve ever seen in the downtown core. Even with our press passes, making our way through the crowd was a challenge and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
The event itself was pretty incredible to watch. Despite the unseasonably warm (read awesome) temperatures the people at Red Bull were able to maintain the ice and keep things rolling on schedule. One of the most amazing things that we found out afterwards is how they had to rush in an extra truck full of Red Bull because they got cleaned out the night before. We were told that Red Bull expected a big turnout, but true to form Edmonton crushed those forecasts!
As an awesome aside, I never “outted” myself to anyone but I was still approached and complimented on my NationGear a few times. Although that wasn’t really surprising it was the kind of support that only a Nation Citizen could provide. Even funnier was when we were walking through the crowd and I could see people recognize either George Parros, Mike Vallely, or even Jeanshorts and seeing the lights go on when they put it together.
SHINNY AT RX1
After the night we had on Saturday, it wasn’t surprising that I felt like a truck had hit me on Sunday morning. Little did I expect to look over at my phone and see a text message saying that I had better suck it up because we were going to be playing some puck at RX1 that night. After rehydrating as best I could, I grabbed Jeanshorts and made our way down to the rink.
To say that playing shinny on the same ice as the endless rebuild was surreal would be the understatement of a lifetime. I often found myself ignoring the play and looking around at the seats that I’ve spent so many nights in. At one point, I was standing next to Mike V and he said “this is crazy, right?” which was something we were all thinking as we tried to soak in the moment.
To me, playing shinny at RX1 with a bunch of great people was about as good as it gets. It was an experience that I won’t forget in a very long time, and I’m very lucky to have that experience. Fortunately, the surreal moments didn’t end there.
MIKE VALLELY SKATE DEMO
The plan for Monday was to take the Violent Gents to check out the mall (as if you expected us NOT to take them there). Mike V had the idea that since there is a skate park in the mall that maybe he should do a short demo for all the kids that had been sending him messages on Instagram. As I mentioned, Mike V was a hero of mine since I was a terrible skateboarder in high school so the idea of watching him skate in the flesh was something that 14 year old baggedmilk was freaking out about.
Not only did Mike V shred the course, at West 49 (you can see some of the videos on our Instagram page), he took the time to talk to all the kids, and take pictures when they asked. He was the consummate professional, and you could see the appreciation on the kids faces as he signed skateboards and took pictures. I did my best not to cry and control the 12 year old that used to buy his shoes any time he released a new model.
VG AT THE OILERS GAME
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMjeanshorts) March 17, 2015
The weekend wouldn’t have been complete without taking the Violent Gents an Oilers game, amirite? Amazingly, the Oilers cooperated and gave the boys something to cheer for. Actually, I’m going to start working on moving the Gents up here because they are now 3 for 3 when going to see games at random rinks, and having the home team win. Those are some odds we could use!
All in all it was an amazing weekend of touring around this great city of ours. Not only was it great to see the downtown core as vibrant as it’s ever been, it was also amazing to share the experience with the guys from Violent Gentlemen. The guys were so impressed with the city, and the people, that this definitely won’t be the last time that they visit.