This is how a 630m natural ice cross track is built in freezing Finland

Written by Chris Magill 30 January

For the fourth year in a row, the best ice cross downhill skaters will test their skills and stamina when they battle it out down the 630m natural ice track at Round 2 of Red Bull Crashed Ice 2019 in Jÿvaskylä, Finland. After the Red Bull Crashed Ice season opener in Yokohama was played out on an artificially constructed ice track, what does it take to carve out a such a mammoth course at a frigid, snowy ski resort?

"We use 30,000 litres of water for the ice, and 1,200m of sidewalls," says track production director Marc van der Sluis. Big numbers indeed, befitting of the biggest track of the season.

It's not just the sheer size of the track that construction workers have to worry about, though. Whereas in Yokohama the track building experts had to call on all their skills to sustain a solid ice surface in unseasonably high temperatures of 24°C, in Jÿvaskylä it's the opposite story.

"The most challenging part is the temperature," says van der Sluis. "We're facing -20°C temperatures and snow. Ice and snow don't work well together."

For van der Sluis and his team, the work never stops, but they're committed to providing the best possible track conditions for both rider and spectator. "We're building it to make sure that the riders have a nice experience," says the production director. "Also to make sure that everyone watching has the best experience, ever."

As the 2018/19 Ice Cross Downhill season reaches its midway point in Jÿvaskylä, all the hard work of van der Sluis and his team will pay off when the skaters put on another thrilling display down this 630m ice beast.