ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Organizers of one of the biggest events in St. Paul are getting ready for a winter warm-up.
Red Bull Crashed Ice is this weekend and the downhill ice skaters will be facing temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees.
This isn’t the first time the big event is dealing with warmer weather. In 2015, it made it up to 42 degrees. In 2016, a whopping 58 degrees was recorded on the final day. Last year was a bit more seasonable, with a high of 24. This year, it could pass 40 degrees.
The event features an extreme sport, often rushing past onlookers weathering extreme temperatures.
“Back in 2012 it was like 30 below. Nobody wanted to be out here.” said competitor Cameron Naasz of Lakeville, who is in his 7th year of competition. “When there’s warm weather, I love it and I know that all my friends and family have been telling me they’re looking at the weather forecast. They’re excited for some decent weather Saturday night.”
The competition starts Friday and runs through Saturday. The high temperature for both days is projected to be around 40 degrees. That’s comfortable weather for spectators, but not so friendly to the ice.
Naasz says that’s why a coolant system runs underneath the track, keeping it frozen even if the outside temperature pushes 50 degrees.
“It’s pipes that are laid down on the wood there, and there’s a super cool liquid running through that, just like any hockey arena would have,” he said.
The one concern he does have on the horizon is the sunshine.
“If there’s no clouds in the sky and it’s 40 degrees out, we’re in for a little bit of trouble,” he said.
Sunny skies can lead to soft ice, which racers say affects time trials during the day. Competitor Maxwell Dunne of Burnsville says he would prefer a balmy winter day over one hovering around zero degrees.
“As soon as it’s dark, usually the ice is perfect,” he said. “It brings more people out when it’s warm. I don’t have to wear a bunch of gear to keep warm.”
And there’s always the advantage of skating on home ice outside your hometown church — that is, the Cathedral of St. Paul.
“I actually got confirmed at the Cathedral up here, so it’s kind of a unique scenario to be coming out of a starting gate on an ice track,” Dunne said.
Red Bull Crashed Ice starts at 6 p.m. each day and runs until 10 p.m. The event is free, however people can buy tickets for premium viewing spots.
For more information on the event, https://www.redbull.com/us-en/events/crashed-ice-st-paul?medium=tsa&gclid=CjwKCAiAhfzSBRBTEiwAN-ysWAXoolEWcIYuq3ALZFE5nxgoFRIaYld88eUg5NHRptUAi-vZ3aPltRoCUlsQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>click here.