Do you enjoy ice skating at your local rink, or perhaps at a lake or pond in the colder months? It fun for the whole family, a romantic date for couples, and a fun hobby for most. However, did you know that ice skating has a more extreme version? That’s right, Ice Cross Downhill can almost remind you of a rollercoaster. You’re on ice skates skating down a course making sharp turns, going down steep vertical drops and racing other competitors. Sound intense? It is!
All About Ice
Redbull Ice Cross Downhill is an intense winter racing activity that involves numerous skaters competing against each other on a downhill track. Aside from the skates, racers use some of the same equipment as ice hockey players. Each race has a maximum of four competitors, and the first to cross the finish line wins. Competitions are held in the heat format. Racers are eliminated until only four remain for the final race to determine the overall champion.
Courses are purpose-built with an icy surface appropriate for ice skates. It has multiple steep curves on both the left and right, ramps for jumps, and vertical drops. Red Bull Ice Cross World Championship is a prominent international tour for the sport that includes races in both North America and Europe. Racers are granted points according to their finishing place. The racer with the most points at the end of the tour is crowned world champion.
Skaters will reach up to 50mph as they glide down the steep twists and turns of the course.
The idea is straightforward. Four ice skaters race down a 700m ( 0.43 of a mile) track at speeds of up to 50mph in Ice Cross. Each racer must attempt to be the first or to reach the finish line while avoiding being wiped out by others as they weave around twists, turns, and obstacles.
Each race is a frenetic mix of technical prowess, outrageous bravery, and – sometimes– high-speed collisions.
It’s the Thrill of Ice Cross Downhill
Though the races take less than a minute, every second from the opening of the starting gates high above a steep, slippery drop to the instant the competitors cross the finish line, is pure action in an ice race. Racers tuck into drops, scramble through curves, race down straightaways, and sacrifice every ounce of energy in the pursuit of victory.
However, the sport as a whole is intriguing because of the athletes. Hours of course research, weeks of focused training at the gym, skate rinks and other training centers, plus dozens of prior races, and years of practice all go into that 50 or 60-second dash down the course.
A 300-350-meter racecourse gives no room for error; take a bend too wide, and you lose that half-second that may mean the difference between first and second place at the finish line. If you land a leap too high, your opponent may be able to turn inside. Fall, and you’re done; you’ve lost your chance.
The races are held on specially designed courses that are designed to be safe for both competitors and viewers alike. In addition to jumps, turns, and edges, racers also have to contend with grinding rails—which will test their skill at balancing on their skates.
These races are held around the world, in places like Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Czech Republic, and Canada.
The Basic Rules of the Game
- The majority of the ice cross downhill contests are made up of four different Red Bull Crashed Ice races, with the best performances in any three courses put together to decide the champion.
- If two contestants have the same amount of points, the number obtained in the first crashing ice competition ranking is used to decide the winner. If there is still a tie, the second-place finishers in the respective events are considered. If there is still a tie between the players, another race is held to determine the winner.
- A racer must finish by bringing the front tip of his or her skate blade to the finish line.
- It is banned for athletes to purposefully kick the skate towards the finish line or to fling their bodies through the finish line. This instantly disqualifies the competitor from the event. The rider must keep control of their skate.
- If a racer trips or falls near the finish line and his/her ice blade’s front tip hits or reaches the finish line, the race is still classified as completed.
- The first and second riders to reach the finish line ahead of all other competitors advance to the next round.
- During the commencement of the competition, contestants are not permitted to grasp or pull any starting machine.
- The contestants must wear a helmet, chest guard, elbow pads with shoulder protection and guards, shinbone and knee protectors, and gloves.
- The skates used during the contests should not have any sharp edges or other features that might endanger other participants. On the top rear area of the blades, a plastic knob should be included.
- Many optional protectors, including neck, spine, and throat protectors, as well as mouthguard, chest, and back protection shields, are permitted for the safety of all riders.
How To Watch?
I’m sure you’d love to attend in person, but if you can’t, Red Bull TV has all the action, so be sure to head over there for it all!
One thing is for sure—Ice Cross is insane, but our kind of insane. Imagine going to the largest cities in the world, and skating at top speed on the world stage in iconic locations. The prize money, the fame, the adrenaline rush—it’s got our hearts pumping just thinking of it!
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