Today, we talk with two ice cross athletes to learn more about this growing sport. Ice cross is kind of like a second cousin to inline marathon skating… many ice cross athletes train on inline skates during the warmer months to prepare for the winter season. And inline skaters can try it out locally for an adrenaline rush on hockey skates!
We interviewed Cameron Naasz and Amanda Trunzo, two world champions that have competed at many ice cross events including the well-publicized Red Bull Crashed Ice competition. Read on to learn about these two amazing athletes and the sport they love: Ice Cross.
NorthShore Inline Marathon (NSIM): What is ice cross downhill? How does this sport work, where do you compete, can anyone compete?
Cameron Naasz (CN): This is a massive question, but in short, Ice Cross Downhill is a sport in which 4 athletes race down an ice course filled with jumps, bumps, and hairpin turns with the goal of being fastest to the bottom. There are competitions all over the globe and anyone 16 or older can compete in most events! For all the sports specifics like rules, results, history of the sport, and race registration you can visit ATSX.org.
Amanda Trunzo (AT): The first two to the bottom advance to the next round and you continue on with that format until a winner is crowned at the end of night. Competition takes place across the world and you can get involved in this sport by competing in the ATSX250 and ATSX500 races which are smaller scaled then the main ATSX1000 races and earn your way in through a wildcard spot.
NSIM: In 2000, plans were put in motion to create a new sport that revolved around downhill inline skating. How has the sport changed since you’ve started?
CN: Back in 2000 this sport was just a pipe dream and the vision at the time was simply to create a crazy event for fun. Then Red Bull took over and took it from a small crazy event into a gigantic crazy event. Since then the sport has shifted from crazy event to legitimate sport practiced in dozens of countries around the globe. Now we have global rankings, officially sanctioned events, global and national governing bodies, and even some athletes that are able to compete in this sport for a living.
AT: The sport has grown so much since 2000 and the athletes that are competing in it are treating it more like a job compared to a hobby. We train year round for this and put in hours and hours of hard work to fight for that World Championship at the end of the season. As far as the women’s side of the sport goes, we used to just have one event that we could compete in. But in 2015 we joined the full world championship tour just like the men!
NSIM: Do you train in the off-season with inline skates?
CN: I do train a lot in the offseason with inline blades. I use the Seba Igor inline blades on both a 4 wheel and 3 wheel setup. I like using the 4-80mm setup for skating in the skatepark but really enjoy using the 3-120mm wheels for long distance skates to build up my endurance.
AT: Yes! A lot of my training in the off season consists of going to local skate parks. This transitions very well to the jumps and air control that is needed to be successful during the Crashed Ice season.
NSIM: How did you get involved with extreme sports?
CN: I was a wild kid growing up and I always wanted to be doing the next cool extreme sport. My need to be doing something new all the time kept my parents extremely busy driving me to the ski hill, skatepark, bmx track, or towing me behind the boat on the lake. I think that after my parents realized extreme sports were just as safe/dangerous as any organized sport they began to love it just as much as I did! My mom loved hanging out at the skatepark and doing some work while I spent countless hours ripping around and I could always spot my dad watching me do laps in the board park at the ski hill from the parking lot after he dropped me off.
NSIM: How big is this sport becoming in the USA and worldwide?
CN: Our sport is growing year after year and I hope to see the progress continue. This year we have 3 events in the USA and 13 events worldwide.
AT: This sport is becoming very big and is even getting looked at to be an Olympic sport! The competition structure is we first take some practice on the track. We then go into time trials to put us in ranking order and from there we race 4 athletes down the track until a winner is crowned.
NSIM: Tell us about the upcoming events at local ski hill Mont du Lac in Superior, Wisconsin – Will you be competing?
CN: The USIX hosted an ATSX100 event last weekend, I was at a race in Finland so I couldn’t compete, and are hosting an ATSX500 next weekend that myself and other athletes from around the globe will be competing in.
AT: Yes I will be competing in Mont Du Lac on Feb 16th. This is an ATSX500 race that counts toward the World Championship this season so those points will be very important for me.
NSIM: What is ice cross like for spectators?
AT: This is a great spectator sport. You will see racers going down a track at really high speeds and will get to see some crashes which always make it fun for those watching as well. It’s a very easy sport to follow which makes it appealing for the spectators.
NSIM: How can I get involved in the sport? I want to try!
AT: You can get involved simply by going to ATSX.org and signing up for an ATSX100, 250, or 500 event.
NSIM: What equipment do you need? Is it dangerous?
CN: You can wear basic hockey equipment and be just fine. I’m not going to lie, if you fall it can be painful but it is nowhere near as dangerous as your grandmother may think!
AT: Equipment that you need is just like what you would wear for hockey. Skates, shin pads, breezers, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves and a helmet. It can be dangerous but also is a lot safer than you may think! We all train very hard for this sport so we are as prepared as we can be once it comes to racing down the track.
NSIM: Final question – will you be doing the NorthShore Inline Marathon come September 14th?
CN: I haven’t put much thought into that one! I know one of our former Team USA athletes, Sever Lundquist, probably will be though. He has done the marathon several times and loves it!
AT: I may have to! I have never done an inline marathon before but that sounds like it would be awesome to try!