Red Bull might just have the next big up-and-coming winter sport on their hands – Crashed Ice.
The company has sponsored the extreme sport’s World Championships for several years now and this year is partnering with NBC Sports. If you are unfamiliar with the sport, Crashed Ice is a downhill ice skating competition where skaters suit up in hockey equipment and see who can get down hill first, with four skaters competing per heat. In the words of NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick:“It’s literally downhill roller derby on an extremely tense speed track.”
With the second leg of the event from St. Paul, Minn. set to air Saturday at 4 p.m., we got a chance to speak with one of the participants, Kyle Croxall, to find out his background in Crashed Ice and what he enjoys most about the sport. The 24-year-old Calgary resident – and reigning champion – finished first at the Dec. 1 Niagara Falls event and is currently in the lead for the 2013 series title.
Crave: How did you learn about the Crashed Ice event?
Croxall: Well about seven years ago, while at school in Ottawa, I saw on TV that there were tryouts coming up and I applied, tried out in Ottawa, and came to Quebec. From there I did my first race in Quebec.
Crave: Have you been doing it ever since?
Croxall: This is my sixth year doing it. The first time I tried out, I came in second and then decided to start racing that very same year.
Crave: What did you find most appealing about it?
Croxall: Well the speed and the racing aspect of it. To me of course, it’s a good time and I enjoy getting to travel all over the world promoting it. When you get on the podium it’s a great feeling. I like everything about it, pretty much.
Crave: It requires a similar skill-set to ice hockey; do you have any background in that sport?
Croxall: Yeah, I have been playing hockey since I was three years old. It might seem young, but I’m grateful for the early start – it helped me become who I am on the ice today.
Crave: What goes through your mind when you’re at the top of that hill waiting to go down?
Croxall: My mind is pretty clear really. I know that I have to be the first one out of the gate every time.
Crave: Can you give us a tease of what we can expect to see this weekend?
Croxall: The Red Bull Signature Series with [commentator] Sal Masekela is putting the events on TV on NBC February 16th and everyone is going to see the event from St. Paul, Minnesota that took place three weeks ago. Basically, it’s 100 guys battling it out, with four people per heat, all-night until the finals.
Crave: Did you like the setting of the event – with St. Paul in the back drop?
Croxall: Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Red Bull tries to use key features to make the event, or party, at the start of the track. They do a good job – definitely.