ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The show will go on for a major event on ice, despite a weekend warm-up.
Red Bull Crashed Ice starts Friday in St. Paul. Thousands will gather by the cathedral to see skaters race to the bottom of an icy 1,600 foot track, and the near-record warm weather could be a major obstacle.
But event organizers say the higher temperatures should mean higher thrills for spectators.
More than 100,000 people turned out to see Red Bull’s Crashed Ice in the capitol city last year. Spectators battled brutal cold for the last four winters St. Paul has hosted the event, but not this year.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Claudio Caluori of Red Bull Crashed Ice said. “You have to be ready on time. Things don’t always go according to the plan.”
Related: Red Bull Crashed Ice FAQs
With February temperatures expected to reach the 50s on Saturday, Crashed Ice officials are keeping things cool when it comes to the track.
“I think it’s five refrigerators — huge refrigerators — along the track, and they send cooling liquid through the pipes,” Caluori said.
Salt water brine in the pipes flows under the track to keep it frozen. So that with milder temperatures and potentially wet conditions –there won’t be a meltdown.
“We’ve had way warmer temperatures in other races, and actually it helps us to get the ice really smooth and elastic,” Caluori said. “When we have really cold temperatures, the ice gets cracky and we have a lot of holes in the track.”
That smoother ice means higher speeds, more thrills, and fewer layers for spectators.
“They don’t have to put their warmest jacket on,” Caluori said. “For the spectators, it’s better when it’s not that cold.”
The races run tomorrow and Saturday, and the event is FREE. For more information on parking and road closures, visit Red Bull Crashed Ice online.