International Athletes Tear Down Red Bull Ice Cross Hill
Riders speed down the hill at 40-50 mph.
SUPERIOR, Wis.- Hundreds of athletes from around the world gathered at Mont Du Lac Ski Resort for the 6th Annual Red Bull Ice Cross World Championship.
“Maybe we’re a little crazy,” said Alex Mercier, a rider from Quebec.
Blink and you’ll miss the riders tearing down the hill. “These guys reach some pretty incredible speeds,” Operations Manager Mike O’Hara said, “jumping off jumps, landing on the ice. I mean, it’s just a fast action sport.”
“They’ve been up to 40 miles per hour, 50 miles per hour on some of the tracks,” he said. “They’re doing this probably in about 27 seconds.”
In 27 seconds these skaters soar through the air and whip around turns, not even noticing the snow pelting their face or the stinging cold wind.
“You don’t see all that, you’re just, you’re focused, you’re looking at the guy in front of you, you’re looking at the track, the rocks, you don’t really have time to think about anything but your race, honestly,” said Mercier.
But even with all that concentration, ice is still slippery.
“Some wipeouts are worse than others,” Mercier said.
A common sound on the course is the scrape of lost footing, followed by the thud of someone smacking the frozen pavement. “I mean, you’re lucky if you’re not bruised up or banged up after a weekend,” said Mercier.
This challenging and daring sport draws participants from across the globe to our snowy region.
“Today there are 18 different countries here in the race,” said O’Hara.
“Just walking around you get to hear all the people speaking different languages and meeting new athletes from other countries.”
And all those athletes draw their loyal fans. “There’s a lot of people, I think there’s more people than last year,” Mercier said. “And it’s always fun having people around and cheering and be amazed by what we do. It’s cool.”
For many returning riders, this year is the snowiest Ice Cross they’ve been a part of.
“We need to lay down a lot of ice so all we did this morning is basically shovel off all the snow that the Twin Ports got this morning,” said O’Hara.
But the blanket of snow didn’t put a damper on all the fun.
“Even this morning we had a lot of snow but everybody pitched in and helped,” Mercier said. “So it’s fun to see the community and all the riders sticking up together and having a good time.”