Jun 17, 2012 / 11:00 am
There is no doubt that the 3rd Annual Skylands Downhill at the Wilden Development is not for the faint of heart.
Riding a longboard skateboard at breakneck speed down a steep and winding course at 80 kilometres an hour takes nerves a steel and a desire to take a ride on the wild side.
"The riders come from all over the world," says event spokesperson Kelly Shepherd.
In all, 132 riders will compete in the Open, Woman's and Junior category.
"The course is 2.2 kilometres, and they rip."
The course winds down Upper Canyon Drive and features 9 corners, three of which are 90 degrees. Racers will drop 500 vertical feet over the course, with three highly technical corners and five major hay bale exploding corners.
Organizers compare the event to the skier and boarder cross events during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
"Board sports usually cross over so anyone that's into skateboarding typically is into snowboarding as well. But I think that this is a bit more of an adrenaline sport. I don't get on my skateboard and try to go straight down a hill and that's exactly what they're trying to do today," says Shepherd.
Racer Elena Corigall agrees.
"It's so fun. The adrenaline that you get, it's amazing," says Corigall.
The Calgary native has been competing for just over a year, but has spent the last four years riding a longboard, the specially designed skateboard which allows racers to corner and travel at the best possible speed.
There's a steep learning curve to this type of downhill racing and Corigall says you pick it up quickly or you don't survive. In her case, she also had a chance to learn from some of the best longboard racers in Alberta.
"We have a great base in Calgary, such a positive group that just loves to travel together."
For more information on this year's event visit the Skylands Downhill website.
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