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Having A Blast At Ottawa’s Red Bull Crashed Ice Finals

ALEX DUCKWORTH

 

A few weeks ago, I hopped on a train from Montreal to Ottawa with my good friend Erin to celebrate Canada turning 150 years old. We had tickets to the Red Bull Crashed Ice Finals (aka the fastest sport on skates) where the top Ice Cross Downhill athletes from around the world were gathering to battle it out for the world title. If you haven’t already heard of this terrifying event, the downhill race uniquely blends power skating, ski cross and boarder-cross all into one. The athletes race each other in packs of four down the steep 600-meter-long ice track, which was first brought to life by Sweden in 2001 (fun fact, eh?).

 

 

Dressed to impress (ourselves) with five or six layers each, we took advantage of the bright, natural light—a by-product of the perfectly clear skies that Ottawa was providing that day. It was one of those classic brisk days in Canada, but what was even more Canadian was that no one seemed to care. Upon arrival at the Crashed Iced grounds, the crowds were lined up in thousands, hoping to cling on to the track for the highly sought after front row viewing.

 

 

Lucky for us, the city of Ottawa hooked us up with VIP access to the Ice Club. Let me tell you, if you ever get the chance to be apart of the Ice club, you take it. The evening started like most nights for me, walking through the lobby of the Fairmont Chateau (the staff of the Fairmont deserve to live in the Ice Club— they are royalty). Upon entry I was handed a new Red Bull toque and a fresh delicious Red Bull version of Aperol Spritz. The Club consisted of multiple rooms with endless food, drinks and jumbo screens to watch the race outside. It would be easier to list the items lacking, rather than rack my memory to recall the long, long list of delicious offerings. Dare I mention the pulled pork sliders and poutine from Ottawa’s dear neighbors in la Belle Provence?

Post gorge, we walked outside into the VIP viewing area where we were kindly welcomed by heaters and a front row view of the track. It was freezing (did I mention it was freezing?) but the spirits were high. Parliament Hill’s stunning architecture surrounding the track completed the intense positive energy and picturesque views. Even Justin Trudeau and company made an appearance to cheer on the international field.

 

 

Feeling pleased and proud that a Canadian Jacqueline Legere won the women’s category and Canadian Scott Croxall came in 2nd place (Disclaimer: he didn’t invent crocks!), we ended up running into the American male winner (Cameron Naasz). This was the interview we’d been waiting for. Sure enough, Erin missed the record button and we swiftly exited stage left to the after party.

We followed the signs to the shuttle that took us to the next venue—the flawlessly organized Red Bull dance party in the one of a kind Aberdeen Pavilion—a National Historic Site and the oldest surviving venue in which the Stanley Cup was contested, having hosted Stanley Cup challenge matches in 1904. The keeners that we are, we were the first to arrive, but very happy to see that the DJs were up to give us a private show. As the crowd trickled in, Crashed Ice fans managed to fill what seemed to be an impossibly large space. This was all really great, however, once DJ Jazzy Jeff hit the stage things got taken to another level. The limbo line stopped, and the dancing started. Hypeman and rapper, Dayne Jordan was on stage making everyone in the room feel like their flyest self. Sorry, Red Bull, but we’re pretty sure we got our wings from Dayne.

Ottawa, Crashed Ice, thank you for having us. Your hosting was top shelf and we will one hundred percent be back for more #Ottawa2017 events. Check all of the excitement Ottawa has to offer this year here

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