There was no problem creating ice for the Red Bull Crashed Ice Athlete Search at Loon Mountain Jan. 12, where temperatures were cold but competition was hot for a wildcard spot in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at Fenway Feb. 8 - 9.
After a series of flat-ice pre-qualifiers, the 48 skaters who made it to Loon had to quickly adjust to the downhill terrain, as they experienced the sport of the Ice Cross Downhill for the very first time.
The 600-foot track of downhill ice dotted with hairpin turns, switchbacks and drops stood between competitors and their opportunity to skate under the lights at Fenway, with each athlete receiving two practice runs before racing in heats with the goal of claiming the top time.
Athletes from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada represented the competition with the Male and Female wildcard spots going to Northeast locals.
New Hampshire’s Thomas Missert secured the male wildcard spot, crediting his outdoor preparation in the frigid temperatures. Missert beat out the fierce competition by only a fraction of a second.
“My family and I are huge Boston fans. I will have "do damage” put somewhere on my jersey. I keep trying to imagine myself seven stories high above Fenway park, probably the most iconic baseball field in the world. I’m extremely grateful of Red Bull for putting this together,” Missert told SnoCountry.com.
Female wildcard winner, Katie Guay of Mansfield, Massachusetts, is no stranger to fierce competition, as the first female to ever referee a Men’s D-1 collegiate hockey game andan official in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
“A few years ago I saw a Red Bull Crashed Ice competition on TV and remember thinking how fun it would be to test my hockey skills on a downhill course. Then this fall I heard it was coming to Fenway Park and I was thrilled for the opportunity to skate at Fenway,” Guay told us. “Every time I walk into Fenway Park, it is such a nostalgic feeling and I am thrilled for the opportunity to skate from center field down to home base.”
Guay liked the adrenaline rush of the competition at Loon to skiing a black diamond run: “Sometimes standing at the top of a steep trail, fear sets in and it takes a little extra effort to turn my skis downhill and embrace the adventure. At the Red Bull Crashed Ice tryouts at Loon Mountain, I had that same exact feeling. I was standing at the starting gate and 20 yards away was a jump with a 90 degree turn. I felt like I was on the top of a double black diamond but once the legs started moving, it’s was an incredible ride down the mountain.”