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CNN: Crashed Ice races in St. Paul 'worth traveling for'

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The Red Bull Crashed Ice competition in St. Paul has attracted an enthusiastic following over the three years it's been around – so much so that CNN is including the event on its list of "19 events worth traveling for" in 2015.

The extreme winter sport event, now in its fourth year in St. Paul, is on the same list of travel-worthy events as Elvis Presley's 80th birthday celebration, the Lunar New Year observance in Macau, Expo Milano in Italy, and the first World Indigenous Games in Brazil.

Here's what CNN had to say about the Crashed Ice event:

Combine speed skating with an obstacle course and you get Crashed Ice, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2015. 

The race sees some of the world's top downhill skaters negotiate a frozen course littered with obstacles, while hitting speeds of up to 60 mph. 

The Minnesota event will be the first in a series of eight taking place in 2015. 

"The sight of extreme athletes careering down an ice track outside Saint Paul's iconic cathedral is an awe-inspiring spectacle -- and one great big party," says Terry Mattson, president of Visit Saint Paul tourism.

Of course, the sponsors and the city of St. Paul would love to see even more people attend the competition, which will be Jan. 22-24 this year. Last year, the three-day event drew 150,000 people to the course near the St. Paul Cathedral.

It reportedly brings a huge economic boost to St. Paul – approaching $20 million – as visitors spend money at local restaurants, hotels, bars and other businesses.

Hundreds of workers began construction of the track just before New Year's Day. It'll take 12 truckloads of steel and three truckloads of lumber to put it together, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The crews building the track from the ground up aren't able to take time off because of the cold weather, WCCO reports.

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Each year the course is designed differently, and this year it will be a little shorter but more technically challenging, the Pioneer Press notes.

Here's an animated look at the track layout:

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More information on the event is at the Crashed Ice website.

Logistical information, including shuttle bus services, maps and a list of related activities, will be posted shortly on the Visit St. Paul website.

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