I'm probably going to sound old and curmudgeonly and definitely from the Mid-Atlantic by admitting this, but I've ever heard of Downhill Ice Cross until today. Apparently its a hybrid Norwegian (maybe?) sport that combines hockey with downhill skiing and roller derby on a frozen course vaguely resembling a bobsled track. The sport consists of competitors wearing hockey skates and try to topple and battle each other as they sprint down the 446-yard course at speeds of up to 40 m.p.h. It looks brutal and ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN' AWESOME.
Red Bull's press release says the Championship series began in 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden. This past weekend Red Bull sponsored the Crashed Ice 2012 World Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota, marking the first ice cross downhill championship in the United States since 2004. Over 80,000 came out to watch Canada's Kyle Croxall bested defending champion Arttu Pihlainen of Finland. A few University of Minnesota students participated in the competition as well, says MNDaily. A couple more details about the sport below, via Red Bull:
Take some of the best and toughest ice-hockey players in the world, a sizzling atmosphere, stunning surroundings, tonnes of steel, a huge cooling system and thousands of square metres of frozen water. The result? Red Bull Crashed Ice! Since the first ever race back in 2001, Red Bull Crashed Ice has developed to become the most breathtaking winter sports events in the world. Ice-hockey aces hurtle down courses up to 500 metres in length in groups of four, shoulder to shoulder, as they fight it out for victory. The whole race is held on a steep downhill track dotted with chicanes, jumps and rollers. Pushing, sliding, sprinting and wrangling are all on the menu as the athletes race down the course, but the rules are, in fact, very simple: first to the bottom wins.
In Red Bull Crashed Ice, skaters descend a steep ice canal filled with bumps, jumps, rollers and obstacles four-at-a-time, jostling for position as they reach speeds of up to 70kph. With only the top two racers going through to the next round, competition is fierce. The event is held in a classic knockout format, and the field of 64 riders starting the main event is whittled down to just four athletes competing for the title in the Final.
Here's a look at the track in St. Paul:
Gnarly. How many hockey players out there want to do this?