If all in the world was progressing as it should, we would be nearly two months into the NHL’s regular season. Disagreements between the league and the Players’ Association mean that the NHL lockout is unlikely to end any time soon. And as there is one SmartNews writer who is Canadian, there is a certain sense around here that everyone should be super upset about this. But, in the spirit of moving forward with our lives, maybe it’s time we all start looking around for another sport that can give us our fill of skate-laden men coursing over ice and crashing into each other.
With that, we turn to Red Bull’s apparently eleven-year-old sport Crashed Ice, a combination, it seems, of downhill skiing, hockey and luge. (Wikipedia says it’s like ski cross on skates.) This weekend, the Crashed Ice contest will kick off in Niagara Falls. The Niagara Falls Review:
Close to 250 athletes from Canada and around the world will race down the 460-metre track in hockey equipment, navigating sharp turns and jumps at speeds of up to 55 km/h. The Falls’ track, which starts at the Skylon Tower and ends near Edgewaters Tap and Grill, has natural — and steeper — drops. That makes the track unique, Drouin said, which is important in helping to grow the event.
…Originally, the sport was a one-on-one race down a 300-metre ice track, the first of which was set up through Stockholm’s fish market. Since then it has evolved to four competitors battling to the bottom of 400- to 500-metre urban ice tracks.
The event is open to anyone — including novices who feel they’ve got the talent and the strength and the will to make it to the bottom. Thousands of online ballots are submitted to the Red Bull Crashed Ice website. The organization randomly chooses candidates it will test on flat-ice obstacle courses to get a sense of how they will do on the downhill rink.
This weekend’s Niagara Falls event will be the first of five Crashed Ice contests held around the world throughout the winter. The next event will kick off January 26th in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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