For three exciting days from March 12 – 14, tough athletes from across the country and around the globe will hurtle down an ice track at breakneck speeds reaching 55 km/h. Their goal? To beat out the other racers and win Red Bull Crashed Ice!
The skaters will push, slide, and sprint down the longest track of the 2015 season, which measures over 415 m in length. The track is built with massive drops — the biggest vertical drop is 45 m! — gaps, steps, and hairpin turns. The field of 64 riders will be whittled down to four athletes in the exhilarating final run on March 14.
To prepare the frozen track, 20 cases of crushed ice (each weighing 1,700 lbs.) are dumped onto the track, and water is then sprayed to create the first frozen layer, and then sprayed again and again over the week it takes to prep the ice and ensure it’s perfect.
One of the brave athletes, Ben Hilborn — who’s an Edmonton resident — wasn’t expecting to make it to the final, but was “pretty pumped” when he heard he’d made the cut. Hilborn mentions that though there’s no special training he went through to prepare him for this type of sporting feat, he’s played hockey for his whole life, so he plans on drawing from many of the skills he’s learnt while playing.
To face such a steep and slippery slope, you need a strategy, and Hilborn has prepared one. “There are lots of experienced guys running it,” he says, “and I’ll watch how they perform for any tips and strategies.” He’s feeling mixed emotions about the event, but overall he’s pretty excited. “I’m nervous about doing it in front of 100,000 people,” he says, “but hopefully I’m prepared.”
The event is free for all spectators to take in, and you can also stream the event live from the website if you’re not feeling brave enough to brace the weather. For tips on where best to watch the event and more information, please visit the website.