ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One of the most extreme winter sports crashes into the Capitol city this weekend.
Red Bull’s Crashed Ice has grown to become one of the biggest annual events in St. Paul. It’s happening Friday and Saturday, right outside the Cathedral of St. Paul.
Organizers have seen nearly 100,000 people here in past years on Saturday alone, and they’re expecting the same this year. In keeping with tradition, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is among the first to try out a world-class course.
“How are you feeling today about this? Same I always feel, stupid thing to be doing but it’s always fun,” Coleman said.
The professionals hit the ice Friday and Saturday, more than 100 men and women from around the world will compete in the event.
“Super fast technical track to throw the athletes off. We have this really fast start with a roller section,” ice cross expert Reed Whiting said.
A challenging 1,200 feet of twists and turns, it isn’t only the ice cross downhill athletes that feel the payoff.
“It’s incredible. You have 100,000 people come out they go to bars on West 7th on Selby Avenue,” Coleman said.
In the past five years of the event, city officials say Red Bull Crashed Ice weekends have brought in millions, $20 million extra in revenue one year.
“It’s just a great branding thing,” Coleman said.
What helps bring in the fans and cash is when there are other events around town, like the St. Paul Winter Carnival also taking place this weekend.
“We know how to have fun in cold weather,” Coleman said.
One of four events like it around the world and the only one in the United States, St. Paul and the entire state get noticed for more than the cold weather.
There’s a lot going on this weekend in St. Paul in general. West 7th Street features a Crashed Ice Village. With so many people the city asks people plan ahead for parking. You can take any Metro Transit buses or the light rail for free this weekend, just have to download pass.