ST. PAUL (WCCO) – As if the steep drops, sharp turns and giant rollers weren’t enough, competitors in this year’s Red Bull Crashed Ice event faced even more challenges on their first day.

As they took their practice runs down this year’s course Thursday, a mix of rain, sleet and snow fell on them.

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“It’s extreme,” said Kyle Pidde of Burnsville. “It’s a little scary out there.”

Another skater, Walter Hansen of West Hartford, Conn., said the weather would just intensify the experience.

“I’m pumped,” he said. “It’s so intense. I’m just psyched to do it.”

Even experienced skaters take a while to get used to a downhill course, where speeds reach 40 mph.

“It’s going to be tough,” said Chris Zimmerman of St. Paul, “but downhill skating is never going to be easy.”

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It’s the first year that women are racing in St. Paul and one of those selected has been in the news before.

Three weeks ago, we showed you the home-made Crashed Ice course that Blake Huovie and Aly Lund built in their south Minneapolis yard.

They were hoping it would convince the judges that they belonged.

Aly was one of eight women selected, but Blake has to stay on the sidelines with his camera.
“This (course) is way bigger,” said Lund, but a lot of the training that I did get from the home course has helped out here a lot.”

“Kind of sucks to not be competing,” said Huovie, “but you know I’m here for her today and that’s all that’s on my mind.”

If you’re planning to attend Friday’s elimination rounds and qualifiers, or Saturday’s championship, admission is free.

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But remember, there’s no parking on site. You can find information about parking and shuttles here.