Foreword: As an English person studying in Canada, it’s obligatory to attend ice skating events. I’ve frequently made the mistake of calling hockey ‘ice hockey’ since being here – which apparently is a massive faux pas, as hockey is meant to be played on ice and ‘field hockey’ is different… Anyway, The Red Bull Crashed Ice is an event where ice skaters race on a downhill track full of obstacles including hills, jumps, and sharp corners. It seems very difficult – as I can’t even skate without holding onto a barrier. I applaud these people. I was very excited to attend this event and experience a competitive atmospheric sporting event to observe the theatricalities as well as the cold Canadian winter.
The cold Canadian winter bit wasn’t wrong, it was -14 degrees and even colder with the windchill, I couldn’t feel my face or my toes; yet I was still excited to see the skaters tackle the elaborate race track. At first I thought that they would skate one at a time and just record the amount of time it took for each of them to complete the track, but no. This is Canada. Four skaters took to the track at one time, racing each other to reach the end first whilst undertaking jumps and hills – it was very impressive and somewhat scary.
The whole area surrounding the canal was packed with people, it was also covered in ice which made moving around very difficult, and leaving virtually impossible. Logistical problems aside, the atmosphere was electric as everyone waited to watch the sport. Extravagant lighting lit the entire canal area, with fancy blue lights highlighting the Fairmont Château Laurier. Music played and then a very rehearsed-sounding sporting voice boomed over the speakers as the first race was announced. To be honest, unless you’re following the scoring, it’s just the same stuff happening over and over again. The energetic booming voice eventually got very tiring and I could no longer feel my face so I called it a night. Overall, a very enjoyable night watching an extreme sport, with all the theatrics to go along with it.