Arttu Pihlainen leads Red Bull Crashed Ice in Quebec Andreas Schaad/Red Bull Media House North America, Inc.

On a man-made ice track made for head-to-head battle, the definitive, most stunning ice cross downhill world championship comes to the winter wonderland of Saint Paul, Minnesota January 12-14, 2012. The 100 toughest, fastest ice cross downhill racers from around the world will go head-to-head, four-at-a-time through an unforgiving, gritty, freezing downhill course full of mind-and-body-bending twists, turns, canals and chutes -- all against the backdrop of the strikingly iconic Cathedral of Saint Paul with thousands of spectators bearing witness.

Regional athlete qualifiers will be held throughout the U.S. during the month of December, with the best moving on to Saint Paul, from which a Team USA squad will be selected to travel to three additional global stops.

“We all have an itch to hit and go fast, and Red Bull Crashed Ice feeds that desire like nothing else.” -2011 champ Arttu Pihlainen

With four athletes duking it out shoulder-to-shoulder down an intimidating and treacherous icicle in full ice cross downhill gear, the combatants will race up to 40 miles an hour down steep ice canals dotted with jumps, rollers, obstacles, banked corners and hairpin bends -- until the first two cross the finish line and advance to the next round. This bracketed madness will continue until the final chapter, when the four remaining competitors race to the bottom to crown the champ. Speed, agility, perseverance, toughness and courage are the ingredients needed for success.

“We all have an itch to hit and go fast, and Red Bull Crashed Ice feeds that desire like nothing else,” said 2011 champion Arttu Pihlainen of Finland. “Each race attracts thousands of spectators packed into a breathtakingly cold and action-packed scenario, and I can’t wait for the first U.S. stop this year.”

"Building on the success of 2010’s Flugtag event and last year's Pond Hockey Championships and Mississippi Grind events, we know that Red Bull Crashed Ice will be another phenomenal opportunity to showcase all that Saint Paul has to offer,” Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. "We're proud to partner with our friends at Red Bull to host another fantastic event here in the capital city."

The U.S. will host seven qualifiers throughout December to decide who gets to take on the icy gauntlet in Saint Paul in January. The athletes come from a variety of disciplines -- hockey, downhill skiing, speed skating, boarder-cross, and others -- with grit, skate skills and toughness as mandatory barometers of success.

Red Bull Crashed Ice U.S. Qualifiers

December 3 - Chicago, IL
December 9 - Madison, WI
December 12 - Duluth, MN
December 13 – Saint Paul, MN
December 15 - Detroit, MI
December 18 - St Louis, MO
December 29 – Kansas City, MO

Go to the official Red Bull Crashed Ice site for exact locations and registration process, as dates and times are subject to change. Entrants must be U.S. citizens and at least 16 years of age. Qualifiers will have two identical obstacle courses and each skater will have to take on each course. The best score will be used to identify the best of the best, which will produce the final list of participants for the U.S. finale event in Saint Paul, Minnesota, January 12-14.

In addition, a preparation clinic will be held on January 7 in Stillwater, Minnesota at the Lumberyard Performance Skate Facility as an open call to all athletes who have qualified to give them one final session before the World Championship event in Saint Paul.

null Andreas Schaad/Red Bull Media House North America, Inc.

Three Americans and one reserve will move on to form Team USA 2012 and head to the next three stops of the World Championship. Team USA will be a part of a Camp Crashed Ice training camp January 27-29, where they will build upon their expert skating skills -- a must in ice cross downhill -- and hone other techniques involved in the sport, including jumps and balance, to get them ready for the remaining three legs of the series, where every track is different, erected around each city’s natural curves and features.

Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship 2012 Calendar

Saint Paul, MN (USA) January 12-14
Valkenburg (NED) February 2-4
Aare (SWE) February 16-18
Quebec City (CAN) March 15-17

Points are up for grabs at each of the four stops of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship: the winner collects 1,000 points and competitors all the way down to 100th (0.5 point) can collect valuable points. Whoever finishes the season with the most points after the four races is crowned champion.

In 2011, there were four races around the globe: Germany, The Netherlands, Russia and Quebec, Canada, many in sub-zero conditions. Athletes from 30 nations attempted to qualify and take the stage in front of 170,000 spectators who watched the four races.

There have been a total of 20 races since the first Red Bull Crashed Ice race in Stockholm, Sweden in 2001. In fact, two of these events happened in Duluth, Minnesota in 2003 and 2004. It has grown into a World Championship phenomenon, expanding to four global stops across North America and Europe.

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