Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship 2014 at the Cathedral of Saint Paul: Cold weather, warm fans

Photos By: 
Jeff Rutherford
Maybe it was cabin fever that drove a record 120,000 spectators to the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship 2014 at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Strollers pushed through massive amounts of snow, ladies terribly underdressed, guys jumping over and into snow banks, and plenty of hardy children. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. The Cathedral of Saint Paul was an exceptional host, opening up their doors to let in the huddled masses—for a temporary escape from the bitter wind ("Want to Hide from the Cold Weather at the Cathedral of Saint Paul?").

The concurrent Winter Olympics in Sochi infused onlookers with patriotism and American flags were in abundance. But in the end, it was an Austrian, Marco Dallago, who won the event. Second place spot went to Canadian Scott Croxall. Popular local athlete Cameron Naasz of Lakeville held on during the qualifying heats but finished the finals in third place. Andrew Bergeson of Cottage Grove placed fourth. Red Bull Crashed Ice expert Claudio Caluori led the news media on a tour of the track, allowing journalists to climb the five story scaffolding to see first-hand the track from an athlete's point of view. "This track is one of the tallest we have ever had," he said.

Four athletes emerge from starting points that take in a breathtaking view of the St. Paul skyline and the top of the Cathedral of St. Paul. "Once you get out of the gate, you commit [to going down]. The athletes are not allowed to slow down. For the rookies, it was quite a big effort and we were lucky no one was injured. Only the best guys can manage the first jump," said Caluori.

Caluori said Iced Crash athletes need more than just a hockey background, more than flat ice experiences. A ski background is a plus in the sport of ice cross downhill. "A ski background helps in choosing a sight line. Hockey players don't always know how to choose a sight line. They are always flat out. The sport is now more specialized with training and specialized skate blades. It is an interesting sport," he said. Boards and a cooling system are underneath the ice. The ice, said Caluori, stabilizes the track. Warm water with temps of 180 degrees is sprayed on the track to make smoother.

"Really cold weather water puts cracks in the track. In warmer weather, the ice is more elastic," he said.

Media converges in St. Paul

Crashed Ice is an international media event, and a variety of languages were heard in the heated media tent. The beverage of choice at the catered media meals was, of course, the provided Red Bull; the cans were in coolers in every corner of the room and in every taste imaginable. Journalists were like kids in a candy shop and kept the Red Bull hosts filling up the coolers non-stop. Only the free hand and foot warmers went quicker. The comfort food of meat loaf and mashed potatoes kept media reps in good spirits. "You can tell how good an event is by how they treat the press," said one journalist. "And this event treats the press very well."

After four days of building the track, and three days of competitions leading to the finals, the track's cooling system under the ice switched to heat and the whole thing was melted away the next day, said Caluori.

239 Selby Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
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    Barb Teed's picture
    Barb Teed

    Barb Teed (barbteed [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net) has a Bachelor's degree in Media Studies from New School University, NYC and a M.A. in Liberal Studies from Hamline University in St. Paul.