Coming up in Ottawa – Red Bull Crashed Ice Championship 2017

This is a guest post by Charles Ducrot. Charles is a young linguistics student based in Montreal, Canada. He owns the Airadrénaline blog and is a big fan of extreme sports. In the winter, you can find him snowboarding at Mont Saint-Bruno or playing a game of pick-up hockey with his friends before studying for his next exam. Even though he loves X-games, he knows he will never be able to compete on a professional level so he decided he wanted to become a sports journalist after college.

Next year promises to really Give Us Wings, in Ottawa this time! 2017 Red Bull sponsored event, the “Crashed Ice” championship is brought from its usual host city, the so-called Mecca of downhill ice cross, Quebec, to a new and exciting Canadian location, the Capital city, Ottawa ; home of the Ottawa Senators hockey club !

This is done in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and it is going to be BIG and AWESOME like never before. “Modern, edgy and appealing” is what executive director Guy Laflamme described the event will look like in his vision, in an interview for CBC News. The Red Bull Crashed Ice promises to crown the men’s and women’s championships for downhill ice cross and will be free for everyone interested in watching it. It will be fast and furious with an INSANE look to it! There will be more wild fans than ever (more than 120,000 as last year), the same high stakes and big drama in the fight for supremacy on the icy traitorous track of the championship and more of a show than ever!

This change of scenery won’t keep extreme sensations addicts away!

The change of scenery won’t keep past competitors from attending the event this year as well. For Theo Morazan, who skated in every competition since 2009, there is no question he and his old pair of Bauer skates will be on the starting line this year as well: « Just book me an hotel room right away» said the young man from Brossard, Quebec.

«I’ll even negotiate something with my boss to arrive a week or so prior to the event and get accustomed to the conditions of the new race track!».

Nothing new for the young aspiring athlete who retained the services of a LTL Shipping company to temporarily move to Niagara Falls prior to the 2012 edition that took place in Ontario.

«It’s like no other sport out there! the adrenaline pumping through my veins, the noise of the crowd going crazy, the pumped-up music! I wouldn’t miss it for the world !»

So, what is the Red Bull Crashed Ice all about?

It is a first time event for Ottawa and this is an achievement for eight years of efforts by the executive director Guy Laflamme who has been trying to bring the event over several times.  Like every year, Canadians welcome the world championship with open arms and an intoxicating enthusiasm for winter sports. The extreme sporting occasion is unique because of the urban environment in which it takes place. Made great by the high number of competitors participating as well as the impressive interest of the spectators, the championship unravels with heats of 4 people at a time doing skating at high speed, on an ice track built for this purpose, around the city. Racers speed down the course, taking wild turns, sprinting, leaping and jumping with extreme precision, sliding at high speed shoulder to shoulder, pushing forward with everything they have for the delight of the public watching them – nothing short of crazy in many people’s opinion.

This is Extreme Ice Skating. The hockey outfits complete the image of a dangerous sport, powerful and impressive, looking to astonish everyone.

What changes are we to expect from this change of scenery?

Event planners are still thinking about the details, but the event sports director, Chris Papillon, has announced his thoughts are to consider and include the wonderful landscape that Ottawa makes available, designing the track near the Rideau Canal locks, Château Laurier and Major’s Hill Park. Hopes are to have Parks Canada as a partner in the event. Rideau Waterway is 202 kilometres long it is a UNESCO Heritage Site which needs to be protected and promoted to people visiting Ottawa.

This is why the grass area around the locks could be a great place for the ice track to run through, but this has to be done with consideration regarding the number of people attending the event and possible damage to the area. If converter into an icy spectacle, into a slope with propulsive speed bumps that skaters slide on, it has to be done with great care. We say the track design sounds like a dream! While we still do not know how it will all look like really and are simply making assumptions based on what we saw in the previous years, the theoretical plan sounds great.

The considered numbers are surely more than impressive; it is estimated to cost Ottawa $1.5 million to put up the event and should bring an increase in economic activity of $10 million. That is something to look forward to.

Why is this a must-see this winter in Canada?

Every year, the ice track impresses with challenging lengths (600 m in 2014, 460 in 2015, 500m in 2016), with hairpin turns, with skating talent from the best skaters from around the world. It has never disappointed. The best national athletes and international elite participate in the competition, with an incredible heart racing downhill ride which makes us stop and stage in amazement. Dedicated people make this possible every year, knowing that setting up the event in the safest and most professional way possible is not easy. However, they make it happen because This Is Entertainment At Its Best!


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