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All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

- JRR Tolkien

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Focus

Mar 03, 2017

Red Bull Crashed Ice Exists and You Should Know About It

Yes, this is a real sport—and yes, it’s kind of insane.

WRITTEN BY

Alyssa Fowler

The Ice Cross Downhill World Championship is in Ottawa, Canada this weekend (March 3rd-4th) and it will be the tightest season climax to date. This is how the fastest sport on skates has evolved—especially for the women.

To sum it up in one long-winded sentence, Red Bull Crashed Ice takes some of the best and toughest skaters in the world, pins them up against each other (literally shoulder to shoulder), sends them skating down a massive ice track with high drops and sharp turns, and then crowns the one that gets to the bottom first.

Sounds simple enough.


On top of that, The Red Bull Crashed Ice events have only gotten progressively bigger and more competitive.

Red Bull Crashed Ice legend and 2012 World Champion, Kyle Croxall told The Outdoor Journal that “the sport has really grown in the past couple of years. The tracks used to be a lot longer. Now they’re shorter, faster and more technical.”

 

Scott Croxall of Canada, Kyle Croxall of Canada, Marco Dallago of Austria and Luca Dallago of Austria perform at the second stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Jyvaskyla-Laajis, Finland on January 20, 2017.
Scott Croxall of Canada, Kyle Croxall of Canada, Marco Dallago of Austria and Luca Dallago of Austria perform at the second stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Jyvaskyla-Laajis, Finland on January 20, 2017 / Red Bull Content Pool

Though the sport has been officially around since the first ever race in 2001 in Stockholm, Sweden (set-up in a fish market), it has only been the last 7 years where a point system was introduced and the sport entered into the ‘world championship era’.

Even the gear has evolved substantially with the athletes in a short amount of time. Speaking with three-time competitor Paul Tremblay, “when I competed, we were showing up in hockey helmets, now everyone’s wearing legit gear. They look like motocross racers. The most successful guys are border-cross, ski-cross guys. They’re coming from sports that are relatable and are training in the off-season.”

Croxall said that was a big part of why he feels so good this year. “My skating was good, but the wide range of technical things I worked on in the off-season are much better.” A lot of the technical training his younger brother, Scott Croxall—who is also racing and is in the running for the men’s championship title—have been doing for the past few years.

Scott Croxall of Canada, Kyle Croxall of Canada, Marco Dallago of Austria and Luca Dallago of Austria compete during the finals at the third stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States on February 4, 2017.
Canadian brothers Scott Croxall and Kyle Croxall sandwiching Marco Dallago of Austria and trailed by Luca Dallago of Austria at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Saint Paul, Minnesota earlier this year / Red Bull Content Pool

This year, both the men’s and women’s title races are expected to make this the most exciting World Championship the sport has seen. A 4-way point battle between American Cameron Naasz, his compatriot Maxwell Dunne, Canada’s Scott Croxall and Austria’s Marco Dallago makes it anyone’s game.

And the stakes are just as high for the women’s races. Going in with a chance to come out on top are American Amanda Trunzo and Canada’s Jacqueline Legère and Myriam Trepanier.

Myriam Trepainer of Canada, Amanda Trunzo of the United States, Maxie Plante of Canada and Haylea Schmid of the United States compete during the finals of Women at the third stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States on February 4, 2017. // Andreas Langreiter / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20170205-00162 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
Myriam Trepainer (CAN), Amanda Trunzo (USA), Maxie Plante (CAN) and Haylea Schmid (USA). Photo by Andreas Langreiter / Red Bull Content Pool

Getting hooked on the sport since she first discovered and competed in 2014, Myriam Trepanier has watched the women’s races get “deeper every year.”  

“This is only the second season where the women are invited to participate in all four races. You can tell we have gained a lot of experience and new talent emerges from the popularity that the sport is gaining.”

Between their fierce off-season training and having being added to the world tour, the gap once seen between the men’s and women’s races is barely visible—not even the length of hair will help distinguish.

Coleton Haywood, Kyle Croxall, Steven Cox of Canada prepare for a training session at the fourth stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Ottawa, Canada on March 02, 2017. // Armin Walcher / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20170303-00116 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
Coleton Haywood, Kyle Croxall, Steven Cox of Canada at a training session in Ottawa on March 02, 2017. Photo by Armin Walcher / Red Bull Content Pool

Attempting to get more skaters involved, both men and female, the Riders Cup was initiated in 2015. These events are spread across the world and are open to anyone—top athletes looking to score a few extra world championship points and newbies alike.

More locations. More excitement. Bigger crowds.

“Every year I competed there were over 100,000 people downtown—and it wasn’t just popular in Quebéc City.” says Tremblay.

It’s no wonder the hosting city of Ottawa pushed hard for the event to make its way to the capital during their year long celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday—on top of their official opening of the world’s longest trail.


It seems obvious from the videos above that there’s no shortage of adrenaline for the racers, but Trepanier says “it’s multiplied by the whole ambience and the energy of the crowd. That’s what makes the experience really unique.”

“The growth of ice cross downhill has been exponential in the last few years, and I don’t think it’s about to stop.”

Oh, The Outdoor Journal may have also heard that Red Bull Crashed Ice is now less of a party weekend than previous years. Not that we’ve ever heard of athletes that party

Red Bull Crashed Ice Ottawa will broadcast LIVE on their website and Red Bull TV on March 4th at 8.30 PM EST (1:30 AM GMT).

Feature image Myriam Trepainer of Canada, Amanda Trunzo of the United States, Jacquleine Legere of Canada and Elaine Topolnisky of Canada, courtesy of Red Bull.

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Events

Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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