Published by Louise Hudson – Freelance contributor at Ski Canada Magazine on March 12th, 2015
Tim Cimmer flying high – both in competition and the business side of Ice Cross
Dynamic and dramatic, dangerous and daring, Ice Cross – alternatively named Ice Cross Downhill – could be the next Olympic sport. A combination of skating and jumping on a fast obstacle course, the sport was christened ‘Ice Cross’ in 2014 by Tim Cimmer, a Canadian entrepreneur and Crashed Ice competitor.
Watching Red Bull’s televised Crashed Ice events back in 2008, Cimmer dreamt of becoming an ice racer himself. When the chance to try out came four years later in Saskatoon, he was thrilled to make the squad for a Niagara Falls fixture. As the fastest skater on his hockey team and a daring motor cross racer, he assumed he was well set up for podium potential. “I thought that with the racing and skating experience I had I would be one of the best,” says Cimmer. “But I found out that flat ice skating has nothing to do with it. My debut on the turbulent track, I felt like a two-year-old kid, skating on ice for the first time.”
Despite this setback Cimmer persevered with intensive core training and in 2013 became one of the first North Americans to qualify for a Red Bull Crashed Icecompetition in Europe. “I made it through a qualifier in Airolo to go to Lausanne, Switzerland only to find the track started with a large jump called a spine. After finding out the hard way what a spine was, I was still determined to do this sport,”Cimmer recalls.
A natural businessman, Cimmer began researching how to make the fledgling winter sport official. He consulted with another athlete and various business associates in March 2013, launching an innovative business plan to promote Ice Cross. “I knew it would be challenging and that making these courses affordable was a must,” he says.
He went on to create simple, fast and cost-efficient strategies for engineering both outdoor and inside tracks. In 2014 he got the opportunity to put his new ideas to the test. Qualifying for a Red Bull contest in Jyvascula, Finland, he met former world champion, Arttu Pihlainen, who was building a practice track. In order to save time and money, Cimmer enlisted the help of nearby ski hill, Laajis Laajavuori, using their snowcat and groomer to carve the rollercoaster track and also to make obstacles. “Six hours later and with the help of four people we had a designed track with one sheet of ice for a cost of under $1500. It was a breakthrough,” Cimmer says. “We could now build a track on a ski hill with enough elevation, an easy way up the hill using the existing ski lifts, and very cost efficient.”
This gave Cimmer – known as the Audacious Cowboy – the confidence to set up his own race in conjunction with Laajis ski hill, demonstrating that Ice Cross was a viable sport in its own right. Using his business model, the first world race was held Feb 15, 2014 under the umbrella of the brand new World Ice Cross League. “It was a huge success to all, young and old, with a crowd of over 5000 spectators,” Cimmer recalls. “Later that spring came the formation of the associations, international federation and the registrations of all that would be needed to formalize the sport of Ice Cross.”
Since Feb 2014, Cimmer has been founder, director, board member and owner of World Ice Cross Inc. which is dedicated to expanding the sport, educating participants and organizing events. Investing tens of thousands dollars and countless man hours into the sport, he is also director and board member of both the Canadian and US Ice Cross Associations and the International Ice Cross Sport Federation. Since 2014 he has been President and CEO of the World Ice Cross League.
Currently, four Red Bull Crashed Ice events are held annually: in the USA (St Paul), Finland (Helsinki), Ireland (Belfast) and Canada (Edmonton). Four ‘Rider Cups’ have been added to the schedule this year, also in the USA, Austria, Finland, and Canada. A women’s only division was added in Canada in 2009. The last stop on the Crashed Ice Tour is at Edmonton this weekend, running Friday March 13 and Saturday March 14, marking the tenth year of Red Bull fixtures in Canada. The city centre tracks involve downhill skating with tight turns and dramatic drops over a fast-paced course, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. Red Bull says that each year the ice track is completely redesigned to challenge athletes’ endurance, skills and nerve in exciting new ways. This year there will be nine turns over the 415m track with a 45m vertical drop. A 50-strong international crew works for more than three weeks building the track and setting up audiovisuals for the massive production.
His first season appearing in all the tour fixtures this year, Cimmer is ranked 46 in the world and is looking for a strong finish in Edmonton to keep him in the top 64 overall. GabrielAndre, 2006 world champion, and William Dutton, an Olympic speed skater, are also hometown favorites. The threatening threesome are hooking up for a great team competition race on Friday followed by individual events on Saturday.
Going forward, Cimmer wants to take the sensational sport indoors, too, using NHL-scale arenas with existing flat ice both for events and practice. Plans for this year included opening up Ice Cross to additional global sponsors and international media in order to support and spotlight what he hopes will be the next Olympic sport.
Published by the Battlefords News-Optimist on October 29, 2014
Photos by JOHN CAIRNS
Tim Cimmer and Carter Macleod, both of whom have competed in the Red Bull Crashed Ice Series, were in Battleford Friday to showcase their fledgling sport of Ice Cross.
Tim Cimmer is the president of the World Ice Cross League, and Battleford was the scene for two demonstration sessions for the sport: one took place outside near the industrial area, while the other moved indoors later that night to the Battleford Arena.
They are planning to come back to Battleford later this year to host a WICL event.
Town saves a bundle with private-sector gas supply
CBC News ·
The town of Battleford, west of Saskatoon, is warming up to the concept of competition in the supply of natural gas, after getting a rebate worth $18,035 from its new private-sector gas source.
In Saskatchewan, the vast majority of customers are supplied by the provincial Crown corporation SaskEnergy.
Future Now Energy is one of two private-sector companies operating in Saskatchewan which offer an alternative source of natural gas, the primary fuel used for heating in the province.
In October, 2008, the town of Battleford signed a deal with FNE to supply natural gas for its needs. The gas is sent to town buildings using SaskEnergy pipes and meters. The Crown corporation collects fees for the use of its infrastructure.
By signing on with a different gas supplier, town leaders were betting that prices would fall.
“There was a lot of things in the economy that showed the possibility that gas prices were going to be going down when we signed on in October,” Chris Odishaw, the mayor of Battleford, explained to CBC News in an interview Monday. “So we thought a floating rate with a rebate would be better than a fixed rate.”
SaskEnergy does not adjust its prices on a regular basis and must go through a regulatory process that can take several weeks or months, before changing its natural gas rate.
Tim Cimmer, the president of FNE, says his company has more flexibility to move faster on changing gas markets.
His supply contracts are structured so that savings flow to customers through rebates.
“This rebate, we feel, is a great opportunity for customers and allows them to get some great pricing,” Cimmer told CBC News.
The town estimated that, after factoring in the value of the rebate, it achieved a 20 per cent saving on natural gas costs over six months, compared with rates from SaskEnergy.
Ron Podbielski, a spokesman for SaskEnergy said competition from the private sector was nothing new to the Crown, noting that sometimes SaskEnergy’s natural gas prices are lower, and sometimes they are higher.