I come from a family of figure skaters and hockey players—I even used to skate in the annual Minnetonka Ice Arena Silver Skates Ice Revue—but I’ve never even conceived of something like ice cross downhill. Have you heard of it? If not, the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship will be demonstrating this extreme sport, in which skaters tear down an icy race track, with the first-ever United States event this weekend in St. Paul (Jan. 12-14). The Star Tribune has a bit of backstory on the sport today.
The Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship debuted in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2001 and since then there have been 20 races in 10 different countries. Last year, the event drew in more than 170,000 spectators and boasted athletes from 30 nations. Starting Thursday, competitors will skate down a quarter-mile track by the Cathedral of Saint Paul, over John Ireland Boulevard, and down by College Avenue in the hopes of making it to the finals and taking home a trophy (with early trials cutting the number of competitors down from 128 to 64). The track, sometimes described as an ice canal, features twists, turns, drops, jumps, and bumps. Each race matches four hockey skaters and first to the bottom wins! With racers reaching 40 miles an hour, the exciting sport has earned many fans, including St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who helped get the event to come to town.
Left, national final 2011, russia, photo (c) Daniel Kolodin/Red Bull Content Pool
right, world championship 2011, quebec, canada, photo (c) Andreas Schaad/Red Bull Crashed Ice
Here’s the schedule: National Shoot Out on Thursday from 1:30-3 p.m., International Shoot Out on Friday from 12:45-2:30 p.m., Elimination Round on Friday from 7-8:30 p.m. and Finals on Saturday with gates opening at 4 p.m. and the race at 7 p.m.
Find more info in this FAQ from Red Bull and from the City of St. Paul: The event is free. Concessions available (no outside food). Cameras: OK, but no video. No public parking; take advantage of shuttles (departing from Capitol Complex lots) and buses. Entry points are at Marshall Avenue and John Ireland Boulevard and at Selby Avenue and Summit Avenue. Some nearby roads are closed during the event. You can also watch the event live at various local bars in St. Paul. The event even has its own app, available through iTunes.
If you don’t make it out to the event this weekend, tune in to NBC on Jan. 21 for the Red Bull Signature Series featuring the Crashed Ice World Championship.
For a sneak preview, check out this video!