Red Bull Crashed Ice

posted by @HeyItsKamo

I want to start off this post by saying this: I went to this event stone cold sober and stayed that way the entire time. And there’s something really wrong with that.

This past weekend, Niagara Falls, Ontario played host to one of the most extreme sporting events I’ve personally ever gotten a chance to attend, Red Bull Crashed Ice. 60,000 of my closest friends and I got to watch some of the craziest assholes in the world compete in what can only be described as, “HOLY SHIT, HOW ARE THESE GUYS NOT DEAD?”

Red Bull Crashed Ice

If you’ve never heard of it (and honestly, it’s doubtful that you have- hell, I didn’t even hear about it until maybe a month before hand and it took place like 15 minutes from my house), Crashed Ice is something only crazy, bored white people would think up- four competitors, donning hockey equipment and ice skates, race each other to the bottom of an iced over downhill race course. Think of a luge track, except instead of being inside of a (somewhat)protective metal cart, you’re wearing hockey pads or motocross armor and skating down this bastard at speeds up to 35 mph while racing three other individuals, all of whom are nipping at your heels for their chance to cross the finish line first. There’s almost no rules- 16 women and 64 men competed in rounds of four, with the top two winners in each heat going on to the next tier until we’re down to a final of four for each category. The only real rule was individuals are not allowed to deliberately come into contact with each other, but that was pretty much dismissable as soon as the first race started.

Red Bull Crashed Ice - Niagara Falls - Canada

The track, which I would guess is about the same width as a typical ice luge course, is full of jumps, sudden turns, and intense drop offs, and other obstacles, all of which are geared at one thing: making this shit as exciting as possible. I mean, you have competitors skating down this ice course, and if that wasn’t dangerous enough, lets make them fly up an eight-foot ramp and then have to turn suddenly or else they go head first into the boards… rad.

Prior to Saturday, the only exposure I’ve had to Crashed Ice (also known as downhill ice cross) was a few YouTube posts and the one commercial I caught advertising the most recent event. I didn’t really know what to except besides from the videos I saw online, and looking back they really didn’t do it justice; Crashed Ice was more exciting and intense than I could have imagined. The weekend competition was the first of the 2013 World Championship season and just the first of three such events that will be taking place in North America this year (Minnesota and Quebec City, get ready!)- Red Bull is taking their extreme winter sporting event overseas to the Netherlands and Sweden to give the Europeans a taste of the insanity.

So on top of the awesome course, which the announcers revealed took ten days to set up and over 125 tons of crushed ice to create, Saturday was also the first time that female competitors got to try their hand at the sport, which was (predictably) highly entertaining. I don’t mean to be crass here, but watching those broads slip and fall all over the ice had the entire crowd cracking up. Oh man, do you remember when that poor girl went head-over-ass into the boards?!

Don’t get me wrong though, watching anyone fall on ice, male OR female, is hilarious; those girls have a lot more chutzpah than I do. I’ve played hockey for a long time and consider myself a pretty capable skater, but there is no way you’re getting me to gear up and slide my soon to be broken corpse down that fucking ice hell. The guys and gals that compete in this are in a league of their own and deserve some kind of higher level of respect (super respect?). It seemed like the course was a bit tame compared to the videos I’ve seen, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t difficult- the night was full of big spills and near wipe outs, and the crowd ate it up, especially thanks to the re-plays on all the big screens that were posted up around the track.

Although… that’s not without some suggestions for future courses, and who else better to throw some ideas out there than a random dude who just heard about this sport a few weeks ago? Things that would have made this event even better: Everyone competing has to be drunk, female skaters have to go topless, for one race the entire track is filled with marbles, skaters are required to do tricks over certain ramps (360s, etc.), body checking is encouraged. Maybe one race, instead of four competitors there’s, like, seventy. How cool would that be? It would be total chaos. I also think they could have gotten the crowd into it a bit more- maybe for one race if a certain competitor wins, everyone gets some free Red Bull or something?

Red Bull Crashed Ice - Niagara Falls - Canada

At the beginning of the night, my friends and I joked, “Oh shit, how funny would it be if these dudes had to go UP the course instead of down!?” Ha-ha yeah that’s shit’s so funny, dude, imagine if they actua- wait, what? They’re really going to do that? …YEP! Between the quarter and semi-final tiers, eight guys started at the bottom of the course and had to skate back to the TOP. If you’re not familiar with ice skating, there’s really nothing harder than having to do it UPhill. I’ve personally never tried, but just standing in net during a hockey game is a terror for my feet. Needless to say, it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while, but not as funny as when they made dudes dress up in full hockey goaltender equipment and skate down the course! The guys at Red Bull are fucking sadists. First no alcohol was available for purchase, then they make dudes ice skate up a hill, and then they put dudes in bulky goalie equipment and strapped on tiny goalie skates and expect them not to make fools of themselves? Red Bull, you asshole!

In the end, Canada absolutely dominated both brackets, with all four individuals in the Women’s Final coming from the snowy white North. I believe two Canadians made it to the finals in the Men’s, with the title going to reigning champ Kyle Croxall.

And to contine on with the fun, there’s even a Crashed Ice video game for the Xbox 360 that utilizes the Kinect motion sensor for the gameplay. It’s similar to other Kinect games (Kinect Adventures) in that you use your body to control an on screen player (fully customizable  btw), guiding them through a race course and trying to grab the best time. Pumping your arms moves your player forward (the faster you pump the faster you go, lol), jumping allows your character to leap over obstacles or get big air off of jumps, ducking allows you to slide under objects (fallen trees and whatnot), defending yourself with your arms allows you to crash through objects without taking damage or slowing yourself down, and you can collect power-ups (Red Bull cans, of course) to help you along the way. Oh, and you can also have a fucking blast while playing it- I don’t have many Kinect games, but this one rocks. Get it- the courses are fun and playing against your friends or random online opponents is fun as he*k.

Would I go to another Red Bull Crashed Ice event? Absolutely. This needs to be an event at the Winter X-Games. It was a big, crazy party: the DJ had the crowd going with awesome music, the announcers, while annoying, had the crowd into the action and never failed to make you laugh or cringe with their awful puns, the competitors were entertaining as any other sporting event (jumping all around, hamming it up for the audience, and one dude had mother fucking Buffalo Bills Zubaz on!), and the action was fast paced and intense.

And if you’re still not sold, there was a dude racing named Wizum Ghazoul. Best name ever.

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