Ice Cross Downhill: The Extreme Side of Ice Skating
Figure skating is a wonderful sport, a delight to follow both on-screen and in person. It is an artistic discipline that mesmerises the audience that can’t help but marvel at the skill the performers need to do their routines on the most slippery surface we know. Watching the athletes slide effortlessly on the rink makes us forget that there’s an extreme side to ice skating that involves a completely different set of skills, and elevates ice skating to the rank of an extreme sport.
Ice cross downhill
To earn the rank of an “extreme sport”, a discipline has to involve a high degree of risk. For many, putting on skates and venturing on the ice is a sport extreme enough. But not for the people involved in ice cross downhill, a sport that takes sliding to the extreme.
Ice cross downhill was officially invented in the early 2000s, initially as a singles event, then evolving into a World Championship that is today listed among the Vwin official odds. And the risk it involves is real.
The sport was inspired by disciplines like ski cross and snowboard cross but with some major differences: the track is covered in ice, and the athletes wear ice skates. The competitions are usually held in urban environments, on a track that has many steep curves and high vertical drops.
In the early years of the competition, the athlete to stand out the most was the Swedish bandy player Jasper Felder who won the singles events for six years in a row. For those unfamiliar with the sport, bandy is a lot like a combination of ice hockey, involving skaters and sticks, and field hockey, involving a ball rather than a puck. Felder won all major events between 2001 and 2005 and returned to the top spot of the podium once more in 2009.
Since 2010, ice cross downhill has had a points system. Usually, four racers compete simultaneously on the track, and the best of them get the most points, of course. At the end of the season, the racer with the most points is crowned World Champion.
There are several levels at which athletes can compete: ATSX100 corresponds to a “national” championship, ATSX500 and ATSX250 races correspond to the “Riders Cup”, a lower-tier championship where competitors can earn 250 and 500 points, respectively, as opposed to the ATSX1000, the World Championship event.
The racers currently having the most points in the discipline are US athlete Cameron Naasz in the men’s competition, Canadian stuntwoman Jacqueline Legere in the women’s competition, and Finnish athlete Leevi Nakari in the junior’s competition.