After eight qualifiers held across the USA, 100 athletes have been selected to go forward to compete in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship event in Saint Paul, MN, on January 24-26.
Alongside another 100 international hopefuls, the skaters will race four-at-a-time down one of the most technical tracks of the series this month, reaching speeds of up to 40mph.
Red Bull Crashed Ice will make its three-day stop in the state of hockey, Minnesota, on January 24-26, on the steps of the Cathedral of Saint Paul and the qualifiers wrapped up in the host city last Sunday as 400 athletes gave it their best for their chance at ice cross downhill glory at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown Saint Paul.
Athletes from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alaska and Massachusetts, along with a number of enthusiastic athletes from Canada, flocked to the arena in hopes of competing at the Red Bull Crashed Ice event.
Hosted by three members of the 2012 Team USA, Andrew Bergeson, Cameron Naasz and Brian Schack, men and women raced two at a time, with the top 60 fastest times making it through to the main race later this month.
The time trial course challenged contenders with unique features designed to simulate the tight turns and unexpected jumps that you'll find at a downhill ice cross course.
Gaining momentum in this fast growing sport, the highest ranked American, Cameron Naasz, from Lakeville, MN, has his sights on the podium later this month. Naasz, who placed second in Niagara Falls (the first US athlete to ever land in the top three), has been training intensively since the first stop last month, and is looking to inspire his fellow Minnesotans who will be joining him in Saint Paul.
“It’s important to stay healthy and build my stamina,” stated Naasz, who has been focusing on endurance training and cold weather preparation. “I’ve been pushing myself to the limits so that I can start to make a plan of attack. I’m not nervous, but I know I need to be prepared.”
Back in the land of 10,000 lakes for the second time, this year’s 1,280-foot long man-made ice track has been specifically designed for head-to-head battle. One of the most technically challenging courses of the season, it will featuring a higher start ramp of 48 feet.
In 2012, 80,000 people came out to watch the daring athletes take on the Minnesota cold and the action returns to the US on January 24-26, 2013, for the second stop in this year's Ice Cross Downhill World Championship season.