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.