Mr. Speaker, picture yourself on a beautiful winter's day lacing up your skates and donning your helmet and gear before taking the ice to the adoring cries of thousands of spectators. Are you about to play hockey? No, you are at the top of a massive hill about to hurl yourself down a steep slope strewn with bumps, jumps, drops, and turns as you race to the bottom and hopefully arrive in one piece.
This is the extreme sport known as ice cross downhill, and one round of the world championship is being held now through Saturday in La Sarre.
Racers have competed in Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Finland, France, and the United States, and now it is Abitibi-Témiscamingue's turn to host this elite competition as part of a world tour that attracts athletes from many countries like Canada where ice sports are part of the lifestyle.
I would like to congratulate the La Sarre Ice Challenge president, Yannick Provencher, the organizing committee, the City, and the many volunteers who make this kind of event possible and put Abitibi-Témiscamingue in the international spotlight.