Yellowknifer Maxie Plante took gold at the latest Red Bull Ice Cross World Championship race in Japan last weekend.
Plante, a pilot for Summit Air, won the ATSX (All Terrain Skate Cross Federation) 1000 race in Yokohama on Saturday. Until this season, her sport was known as Crashed Ice.
In ice cross downhill, four skaters descend courses of up to 700 metres while navigating waves, turns, and jumps. Collisions and falls are commonplace.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling crossing the finish line. Looking back and seeing all the the world champions behind me, that was pretty cool,” Plante told Cabin Radio on Monday.
Plante said it’s her sixth year on the circuit and her first victory in a race of this size.
Originally from Québec, the 27-year-old vaulted to eighth in the world championship standings with Saturday’s victory – which earned her 1,000 of the 1,200 points she has accumulated in the season’s six races to date.
There are five stages of the world championship series left before the finale in Moscow on March 21.
Plante hopes a few more races like Yokohama will earn her enough to move her higher in the rankings.
“According to my math, I could still maybe – there’s a lot of variables – get third, so I’m kind-of hoping for that right now,” she said.
“But at the same time, I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, I just want to keep having fun. I’m hoping for the best, and top five would be great if I could do that this season.
“It’s an amazing sport. Since the first time I started doing it I just can’t stop. Every time I go down the track I have so much fun, and I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can.”
Plante’s interest in ice cross was nurtured by frequent races just outside her hometown, Québec City.
“I went and tried out on an ice rink,” she said. “It was just an obstacle course where I had to get the best time to get the free ticket for the first race in Québec City, which I did.”
Her next race sees her return to Québec this weekend.
Plante said she prepared for the season in her Yellowknife basement as there was nowhere else to train. In the summer she took up mountain biking as it uses some similar techniques.
“Fortunately, they’re talking about building a pump track [in Yellowknife], which would be amazing for me,” she said. “It would be some of the best training I could do.”