Repeat champ Arttu Pihlainen and Calgary's Kerri-Anne Wallace named Champions of Red Bull Crashed Ice 2009



    
    -- 90,000 fans witness Finnish speed whiz Pihlainen race past
       100 competitors, plus the first-ever women's division in the fourth
       edition of Red Bull Crashed Ice in historic Old Quebec --
    

    QUEBEC CITY, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - With raucous cheers, hearts pounding and the
heavy cut of metal to ice, Red Bull Crashed Ice 2009 sped into Quebec City as
64 male - and for the first time ever - 16 female daredevils careened to the
bottom of a thrilling and chilling urban ice track. Cheering the action was a
massive crowd of 90,000 fans that witnessed a track that gave as much as it
took over the course of 550m of raw, rutty ice. In the end, one male and one
female proved their heavy mettle and were crowned Red Bull Crashed Ice
Champions for 2009: repeat champion Arttu Pihlainen of Jyvaskyla, Finland and
Kerri-Anne Wallace of Calgary, Alberta.
    "My adrenalin was pumping," said Pihlainen. "You can't imagine. It feels
unbelievable to win two years in a row. I was hoping to win again, but you
never know what can happen during a race. I was lucky because I didn't make
one mistake today. The race, for me, was perfect and I'm definitely coming
back next year."
    And if it was up to the doc, Wallace wouldn't have participated in
tonight's finals. She tweaked her knee in one of the qualifying rounds and was
advised by physio not to skate in the event. Her answer: "No way am I missing
this! Get the tape..."
    "It feels phenomenal to be the first woman to win Red Bull Crashed Ice,"
said Wallace. "It's an honour, truly an honour. I didn't know what to expect
but I knew it was going to be a full adrenalin rush and that's the reason why
I signed up. I didn't expect to win, but I don't hate it one bit! I'm
absolutely coming back next year."
    A combination of hockey, boardercross, and downhill skiing, Red Bull
Crashed Ice sets a thrilling stage for intrepid male and female amateur and
pro hockey players from across the country. No flat surfaces here - instead
daring racers hurtle down a 550m ice track coiling around Quebec City's urban
environment, featuring a ridiculous sequence of razor-sharp turns, ice steps
and gap jumps. Over the course of the weekend, 120,000 fans watched Red Bull
Crashed Ice athletes battle to the bottom in arguably the fastest sport on
skates.
    Never one to let a party go quietly into the cold, cold night, 10,000
fans packed Grand Allée in -33C weather (wind chill in effect) for the
official Red Bull Crashed Ice street party, featuring sets by some of Canada's
favourite party rockers: Small Town DJs, Team Canada and MSTRKRFT.
    Following Pihlainen was second place, Lari Joutsenlahti from Espoo,
Finland, third place Kyle Croxall from Mississauga, Ontario and fourth place
Michael Krainer from Klagenfurt, Austria. This year's first ever Women's
Division heralded the fastest women on skates. Following Wallace's lead was
Jennifer Hartley from Edmonton, Alberta in second place, Marquise Brisebois in
third and fourth place Caroline Bérubé, both from Montreal, Quebec. The final
four in each division took home $5,000, $3,000, $1,500 and $500 respectively.
    For Crashed Ice veterans and Canadian favourites like two time champion
Kevin Olson of Lethbridge, Alberta and hometown hero Christian Papillon of
Quebec City, Quebec, the fourth edition of Red Bull Crashed Ice proved to be
bittersweet as glory came just out of their grasps. Papillon, who trained for
2009 by constructing his own ice track, has rocketed out of the start line at
Red Bull Crashed Ice for four years in a row, but this year was edged out of
the championship finals round finishing fifth overall. Olson has yet to make
it a three-peat to the podium with a heartbreaking finish early on in the
night, falling victim to the final stretch of the track.

    The Course

    Red Bull Crashed Ice IV was set amidst Old Quebec's stunning landscape
with a one-of-a-kind, 550m (with a 56m vertical) urban ice track winding
through the city with massive vertical drops, jumps, berms and gaps.
    The race began under the imposing gaze of the Château Frontenac and
finished by the icy currents of the Saint Lawrence River. Racers sliced down
the ice at over 50 km/hr before hitting the "Big Turn" in front of the Post
Office, which sits across from the Parc Montmorency and one of the oldest
schools in North America, Petit Séminaire de Québec.
    The skaters continued to battle for first place, shooting down Côte de la
Montagne and directly under Porte Prescott, one of the remaining arches of the
original fortifications that surround Vieux-Québec. Then, in the middle of the
steepest part of Côte de la Montagne, the track made a sharp left at the
infamous Escalier Cass-Cou, otherwise known as "Breakneck Stairway". It wasn't
over until the "Royal Drain" said it was over as skaters were consumed by the
downhill banked corner ultimately draining them down to Place Royale, home of
the oldest church in North America.
    With glory and the Saint Lawrence again in sight, the skaters sprinted
down the stairs of rue de la Place and hit the finish on Place de Paris. Only
the skilled skaters made their way back to the top for another go until
Pihlainen and Wallace were crowned champs of the Crashed Ice course.
    Québec's strongest hands spent over three weeks constructing this
discipline-twisting course, spreading 70 boxes (4ft x 4ft x 4ft, 1700 pounds
each) of crashed ice across the streets of Old Québec. To ensure a smooth ice
surface, a cooling system featuring seven chiller machines helped produce the
right temperature throughout the build of the course. Polymer boards kept
competitors on the track and fans from harm's way. But with an amped Saturday
night crowd, they also served as rhythm boards for the thousands of fans. More
than 2,000 large wood screws and 900 adjustable steel legs also provided
foundational support.

    The fastest men and women on skates at the starting line

    Canada's fastest and most brazen skaters descended upon Quebec City
hailing from cities coast-to-coast after successfully demonstrating their
speed at one of 11 qualifier events held in November and December. They were
joined by a select few invited international athletes. More than 100 men and
20 women competed in a final qualifying round on Friday, January 23rd.
Consecutive heats of four skaters raced head-to-head in a double elimination
bracket narrowing the field down from the top 64 qualifiers to a final four in
the men's division, and from the top 16 qualifiers to a final four in the
women's division.
    With the last four men and women at the starting line, it was the fastest
to the bottom who earned the Red Bull Crashed Ice crowns for 2009.

    Expose yourself!

    Were you one of the 90,000 cheering spectators lining the 550m ice track
in Quebec City? Red Bull wants to give you the chance to 'expose yourself'
with your photos and videos from Crashed Ice 2009. Upload your best pics and
footage to the 'Red Bull Canada gives you Wiiings' Facebook fan page for a
chance to win an official Red Bull Crashed Ice jersey.

    About Red Bull Crashed Ice

    Since Quebec produces some of the world's best hockey players, its
capital city is a fitting return location for Red Bull Crashed Ice. Already,
hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have witnessed the
action-packed new sport of ice-cross downhill in cities with rich hockey
roots, including its debut in Stockholm, Sweden (2000), Klagenfurt, Austria
(2001), Duluth, Minnesota, USA (2003, 2004), Moscow, Russia (2004), Prague,
Czech Republic (2005), Helsinki, Finland (2007), Davos, Switzerland (2008)
along with its exciting third annual Canadian showing last year in Québec
City.

    Special Thanks

    This amazing event is possible thanks to partners including the Quebec
City Tourism, the Bureau de la Capitale-Nationale, and the City of Québec. Red
Bull Crashed Ice extends special thanks to the SODEQ, to the Merchants
Associations of Place-Royale, the Old Port and Petit-Champlain districts,
event producer Gestev, and of course the wonderful residents of Quebec City.

    
    For more detailed event information or to view and download images and
    video, please go to:
    ftp://media-canada.info
    Username: media
    Password: red00bull


    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: For English media, please contact: Melissa
Graham, Melissa Legaspi, Edelman, (416) 885-6389, (416) 786-8527,
melissa.graham@edelman.com, melissa.legaspi@edelman.com; Sonia Klinger, Red
Bull, (647) 283-7211, sonia.klinger@ca.redbull.com; For French media, please
contact: Marie-Anne Grondin, Edelman, (514) 808-2892,
marie-anne.grondin@edelman.com

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