Expert downhiller Claudio Caluori straps on the ice skates and takes a 22-second run down an ice cross downhill track–the first permanent facility located in Landgraaf, Netherlands–and takes you along for the ride. He speeds down the 1,082-foot course with a vertical drop of 230 feet and crashes into the retaining wall on what’s been called “the craziest track the sport of ice cross downhill has ever seen.” Hold on:
Now, add three more skaters to the mix and you have ice cross downhill, which is similar to boardercross and ski cross. The sport is popular in Switzerland and Finland, but the Red Bull Crashed Ice tour also makes stops in Niagara Falls, Minnesota, and Canada.
“The sport is becoming more and more famous,” Jim DePaoli of Switzerland told Red Bull. “People want to try it. People want to feel a different feeling that they have on the flat ice. So having permanent track and allowing people to try the sport is really important.”
Added Arttu Pihlainen of Finland: “We need more guys who can actually do it. For that we need more tracks everywhere across the world.”
Last weekend, the first Ice Cross Downhill World Championship race at an indoor track took place at SnowWorld in Landgraaf in the Netherlands. Here’s a look at the competition, which gives you an idea of what the sport is all about: