Is this the craziest sport on the planet?
What is Red Bull Crashed Ice, you ask? Oh, just the official Ice Cross Downhill World Championships – aka the fastest (and downright craziest) sport on skates.
Here are some snaps from this year's event showing exactly how insane the competition can get. If you're thinking of entering one day, we recommend seeing a brain doctor first.
If you've seen ski cross, imagine that – but on an ice race track, complete with rollers, banked corners, bumps and jumps. And taking place in the middle of a city.
On day one of the event, each of the 70 athletes races alone against the clock on the course, with the fastest 64 qualifying for the finals.
In the finals, the athletes race in groups of four determined according to the qualifying results from day one. The fastest two racers in each heat progress to the next round; the remaining two athletes are eliminated from that leg of the competition and ranked according to their qualifying times.
The first leg of the Crashed Ice tour took place in Quebec City on November 28 and 29.
Three further Crashed Ice events will follow, in Munich, Germany; Jyvaskyla/Laajis, Finland; and Saint Paul, USA. Points are awarded to competitors based on their rankings at each event, with the final overall winner being the athlete with the most points by the end of the season.
Scottish skiing legend Alain Baxter, one of the most successful alpine skiers of all time, made his return to the winter-sports scene by competing in Quebec. The 41-year-old retired from ski racing in 2009.
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Baxter said of the competition: “It’s out of this world, a different experience to anything I’ve ever done before. I’ve raced at the Olympics, in the biggest slalom races, with huge crowds. But this event, it’s like nothing else.
“The atmosphere is electric and the crowd is so close, hanging over the barriers. It’s dark, there's bright lights, there's noise – it’s incredible! It’s hard to describe the buzz that I get from it.”
Baxter hurtled towards finals qualification, nearing speeds of 60 kilometres per hour, but crashed out with a heavy fall on the final bend.
Baxter still qualified for the finals, but as his crash left him with three broken ribs and a bruised lung, he was left with no choice but to forgo competing. He hopes to have recovered in time to compete in the next leg of the competition in Munich.
He said of the crash: “I went hard on the last set of rollers. My toes on my skates suddenly dug in, and next thing I was flat out on top of the roller, with the wind knocked out of me. I hit it hard, and felt it RIBS? crack! I don’t know how I managed to get up and skate to the finish.”
In the finals, America's Cameron Naasz swooped in to claim first place.
Second place went to Canadian Dean Moriarity, while defending champion Scott Croxall, also from Canada, skated into third.
The next leg of the Crashed Ice competition will take place in Munich on January 8 to 9 2016.
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This article was from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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