Myriam Trepanier remembers hearing about a new sport called ice cross downhill before she left her hometown of Quebec City in 2005. She wanted to give it a shot, but because she was beginning her career as a Division-I hockey player for the UMD Bulldogs, she had to put her ideas for Crashed Ice on hold.
Flash-forward to 2013, with three Frozen Four appearances and a 2008 National Championship at the University of Minnesota - Duluth, Trepanier missed the women’s tryout for the sport she had long wanted to try… because she had a pond hockey tournament to play in.
“I didn’t want to let my team down in the finals,” Trepanier said.
The women’s tryouts for Red Bull Crashed ice were in the books, and Myriam was having a drink at the bar with her pond teammates after their tournament. Still thinking about the sport of Crashed Ice, she figured she had nothing to lose. So, she drove down to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN hoping she could persuade the Red Bull officials to let her lace them up during the men’s tryout. They decided to let her skate, and she tore it up.
“It was kind of scary at first,” Trepanier remembered. “The only time I’ve ever been scared on the track was my first year and I came up to the first jump and looked down like, ‘what did I get myself into?’ But then I just went for it and landed the first jump. After that, I was hooked.”
Trepanier’s D-I hockey skillset suited ice cross downhill well, and her experience on the ice allowed her to pick up the new sport quickly.
Aside from skating, it took her awhile to get used to being in an individual sport as she had been in team sports her whole life. But while her opposing skaters may not be on her team, she said they all become friends on tour.
“Everybody is kind of buddies on the tour, and you get to know people from other countries, which is also pretty cool,” she said.
Red Bull’s Crashed Ice events serve as the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship—a series of four races in which skaters get points for their finishes throughout the season. In the 2015-16 season, Trepanier was skating well and won the stint in her hometown of Quebec City. A month later, she made the finals in the St. Paul event, where a win would have clinched the world championship title for her. But midway through the race, she wiped out over the rollers and with that spill, also went her hopes to become a world champion.
“That was a huge disappointment last year,” Trepanier said. “It added fuel to the fire for my training season this year. Being so close, I don’t ever want to repeat that and not get the title. I want to crush it this year.”
And crush it she has. After a tough start to the season finishing fourth place in France and ninth place in Finland, Trepanier knew she needed to bounce back in St. Paul. She dominated the weekend. Capped off with a spot on the top of the podium in front of 100,000+ fans, Trepanier has launched herself into contention yet again to be the last women standing when it’s over.
“It’s a good feeling to win here in St. Paul,” she said. “I’m Canadian, but I’ve lived here for 10 years. My friends are here and it’s like my adopted city, so it feels like I won at home by winning here in St. Paul.”
Currently in third place, Trepanier will race in Ottawa on March 3-4 for the last leg of the season. Additional pieces would need to fall into place, but Trepanier could secure her first ever World Championship in Ottawa with another first place finish in the final event of the season. No matter how it ends, Trepanier’s relentlessness to be successful in one of the world’s most dangerous sports is what makes her an UNRL Athlete.