Crashed Ice qualifiers Oct. 20
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
Skate hard or go home.
After more than 432 locals signed up for the Forest City qualifier for a chance to compete at the 2013 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship, the field has been narrowed down to 200 men and 20 women who will compete for just seven spots — five men and two women.
If you have ever seen the skating challenge on television, the 350-metre ice track can be daunting. Hairpin turns, no flat surfaces and jumps fill the course, while racers speed through it getting up to 65 km/h.
It’s not everybody’s dream to drop into an icy gauntlet from about four stories high, but for J.P. Stollar the Crashed Ice event is mayhem at it’s finest.
“When you’re at the starting gate on the final day, and that’s when everybody comes out with over 100,000 people plus, and the crowd is roaring, the lights are going, it’s night time and sometimes the snow is falling and you’re just looking down at the track,” said Stollar, a London resident who has qualified three times in the past and looking to make it four. “The gates open and you take off. That moment right there is like no other.”
The Forest City auditions, held at Budweiser Gardens on Saturday (Oct. 20), will be less exhilarating than the actual extreme sport itself, but a must to move on — London qualifiers consider this a warning.
“(The qualifier) is all on flat ice, so it doesn’t really give the new guys, if they make it through, a good example of what it’s going to be like when they get there,” Stollar said, his best finish a 16th place spot at a Quebec City Crashed Ice event. “There’s some really, really big hills, some tight corners…the first drop is pretty intense. There’s nothing like going down a hill and having to skate, not just glide down, you have to actually skate to be one of the best.”
Athletes who qualify in London skate their way to the Crashed Ice season opener in Niagara Falls on Dec. 1. The top 65 Canadian men and 16 women at the Niagara event will move on to the season finale in Quebec City in March. This is the first time two Crashed Ice events have been held in Canada in the same season.
To learn more about the championship, visit www.redbullcrashedice.com.
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