For those of you feeling like you could stand to break a few more bones or lose a few more teeth, we’ve got the sport for you! In what comes across as a mixture of ski cross, ice hockey, roller derby, and American Gladiators, competitors are lining up to throw themselves down solid ice in this injury-inducing sport. Downhill Ice Cross might be one the most dangerous – and most entertaining sports to pick up momentum and see rapid growth in recent years. “The growth is incredible,” said Christian Papillon the Red Bull Crashed Ice sporting director who estimates the number of worldwide participants has increased from only 150 to over 1,500 since 2012.
Courses are meant to be intensely challenging and are constructed from scaffolding that is set up into tracks up to 600 meters in length. Wood is utilized to create an array of course features such as embanked turns, table tops, gaps and hips which are covered with radiant-cooled mats and are sprayed with water to create a four-inch thick layer of ice. Four competitors donning protective equipment from various sports, mostly hockey, hurl themselves downhill at speeds of up to 55 mph in a first-to-the-bottom wins format.
Organized by the All Terrain Skate Cross Federation (ATSX), the sport continues to expand and become more accessible to men, women, and juniors seeking to test their mettle through a number of Rider Cup feeder competitions. Registration is open to anyone and results in the ATSX250 and ATSX500 qualifiers earn points towards the overall world championship and establish rankings to identify the top 64 to compete in the poster board events – The Red Bull Crashed Ice. This year’s circuit includes three of these ASTX-1000 events: Yokohama, Japan – Dec. 7-8, 2018; Jyväskylä, Finland – Feb. 2, 2019 Boston, Massachusetts – Feb. 8-9, 2019.
If competing doesn’t sound like your speed, you can buy tickets to attend the event and have a front-row seat to the action. Otherwise sit back and enjoy video from the safety of your computer screen. Either way, watching these brave individuals put general health and well-being on the line for our entertainment guarantees to be nothing short of exciting.