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Big crowds expected for Red Bull Crashed Ice finale in St. Paul

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The climactic finale of the Red Bull Crashed Ice series will be held in St. Paul for the first time ever this weekend. Here's what you need to know about the biggest event in downhill ice cross.

The Course:

While Crashed Ice's Cathedral Hill setting might look similar to last year's course at first glance, the event's organizers have completely re-designed it, adding new obstacles like a massive quarter-pipe. In the clip from Red Bull below, you can see whole run of the new course from the eyes of official track tester Claudio Calouri.

In what's quickly becoming a yearly tradition, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman tried his hand at the newly minted course.

https://twitter.com/PioneerPress/status/702972834855964672

The Competitors:

St. Cloud native Cameron Naasz is the big name to follow this year, he has a chance to become the first American world champion since Crashed Ice's world championship series began in 2010. Naasz has won 3 out of the last 4 Crashed Ice races, and is current in second place behind the defending champ, Canada's Scott Croxall .

https://twitter.com/SaintPaul/status/703022984324321280

Naasz isn't the only local name competing in Crashed Ice this year though, in fact, Red Bull's Team USA is really Team Minnesota. Maxwell Dunne of Burnsville, MN is currently sitting in 10th place, Brooklyn Park native Matt Johnson isn't too far behind at #13, and Rochester's Reed Whiting is ranked 16th.

What you need to know:

  • Racing will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 7 - 8:30 p.m. Friday and 6:30 - 9 p.m. Saturday.
  • The Pioneer Press says be prepared for big crowds, last year's event drew 140,000
  • The event is free and open to the public
  • There is no parking on site, but city buses and light rail will be running. Spectators can get a free bus pass from noon until 1 a.m. Saturday
  • Some hotels, bars and local restaurants will also provide patrons with free shuttles

https://twitter.com/mnwild/status/702710348701302784

The Weather:

The weather may be a little warmer than event organizers would like, but it might be perfect for fans who want to watch it.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures Friday evening are expected to be in the low 30s, and after highs reach the mid 50's Saturday afternoon, they should settle into the lower 40s and upper 30s for the event Saturday evening.

Race organizers do not expect the warm weather to affect the competition, the Pioneer Press says, since the ice is refrigerated much like an NHL rink.

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A couple hundred athletes from around the world are competing in the three-day event, including 75 Minnesotans. According to MPR, the 400-meter track starts by the Cathedral of Saint Paul and ends near the Kellogg Boulevard onramp to I-35E. It includes jumps, sharp turns and steep slopes. Skaters can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

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City officials say Red Bull's Crashed Ice event is coming back for another round of reckless skating down St. Paul's Cathedral Hill. Last year the Minnesota debut of the extreme sport drew nearly 100,000 onlookers. The sport was born in Scandinavia when some daredevils tried skating down a bobsled run.