The second Riders Cup stop of the 2017/18 season will take place at a very special and unique location on January 13; the world's first ever permanent Ice Cross Downhill track in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
The track will feature 80m of constructed track and 120m on the flat ice, making a combined racing distance of 200m, and the man behind it all is Swiss athlete and former Ice Cross Downhill World Champion, Derek Wedge. Wedge is an ambassador of the Crans-Montana resort, as well as being president of the Swiss Ice Cross Downhiill association, and he is excited to bring the sport back to Switzerland:
"The last race in Switzerland was in Lausanne in 2013," says Wedge, "and I know that a lot of people are waiting for another race. Crans-Montana is a great resort which organizes a lot of international events, like Half pipe world championship and the women's ski world cup. We are proud to organize a Riders Cup this year and hope to organize a RBCI next year, on a longer track of course."
Athletes gather for a photo on the world's first permanent Ice Cross Downhill track in Crans-Montana.
With the sport growing bigger and bigger every year, there are important benefits of having a permanent track, as Wedge goes on to explain:
"All athletes can now come and train, and it is the first track open for the public," says Wedge. "Everybody can finally try our sport. We also created an academy where we coach all the kids and we look for new talents. It will help a lot to develop the sport in our country."
The future looks bright for the sport of Ice Cross Downhill, and just maybe the next big star will be uncovered at the Crans-Montana resort. The only question is, would you be brave enough to try it yourself?