LINCOLN — A quintet of Granite Staters is among the field of 24 men and 24 women who Saturday at Loon Mountain will vie for spots in the upcoming Red Bull Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at Fenway Park.
Starting in 2001 with individual races, Red Bull Crashed Ice built the sport of downhill ice cross — in which several competitors simultaneously race down a steeply banked, obstacle-laden track — into an international tour whose three-race season culminates at Fenway on Feb. 8 and 9.
On those two days, some of the best skaters in the world will streak down a 2,000-foot long course that stretches from right field to home plate. When not airborne, the skaters will navigate drops, hairpin turns, and huge gaps at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
In preparation for the world championship, Red Bull launched the Crashed Ice Athlete Search, a series of time-trial qualifying events that were held on Dec. 2 and 9 in Boston, on Dec. 14 in Buffalo, N.Y., and the wrap-up at Loon, with the top fastest female and male skaters there getting a billet to Beantown.
Scheduled to represent New Hampshire at Loon are Kyle Wilmarth of Plaistow, Jeremy Tufts of Brentwood, Thomas Missert of Laconia, Stacey MacKinnon of Northwood and Emily Winfrey of Durham.
Time trials for the women begin at 1 p.m.; they begin at 2 p.m. for the men. Skaters will go down the 600-foot Loon track, which is located on the Little Sister and Seven Brothers ski runs, and which Red Bull says will showcase the skaters’ speed and technical skills.
Practice for the ladies is from 11 a.m. until noon, while the men have the track from noon to 1 p.m.
According to Red Bull, skaters are coming to Loon from five of the six New England states; only Vermont is missing; as well as New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada.
Loon is a welcoming venue for new ideas, said Greg Kwasnik, the resort’s communications manager, on Wednesday.
“We’re always open to hosting innovative and exciting events, and the Red Bull Crashed Ice Athlete Search Finals certainly fits those criteria. We’ve worked closely with Red Bull on a number of other events over the years, so we knew this would be a success,” said Kwasnik.
Ice cross downhill has connections to the state through Amanda Trunzo, the reigning women’s Red Bull Crashed Ice champion.
A native of Andover, Minn., Trunzo, 29, played forward for the Dartmouth College women’s hockey team from 2007-11, becoming the 32nd player in program history to score 100 points.