Photos: Crashed Ice event descends on St. Paul

For the third consecutive year, the Red Bull Crashed Ice event has descended upon St. Paul. On Friday, the international field of skaters was reduced to 64 competitors for Saturday’s individual finals.

Daniel Guolla, second from left, and Adam Skube, second from right, of the team Crazy Canucks nearly collide in mid-air on the first uphill jump of the Red Bull Crashed Ice course. The jump, which has been dubbed the cathedral jump as it is closest to the St. Paul Cathedral, contains an iceless gap that racers must clear to continue the downhill race. (Jackson Forderer for MPR)


This year’s course includes a few new features. The first is an uphill jump that sends racers over an iceless gap to an upper plateau that will cause all sorts of crashes and collisions. Failure to cross the iceless gap is an almost guarantee to finish last in a heat. The second feature added this year is a 180-degree hairpin turn with a suspended punching bag smack dab in the middle. Racers must walk a thin line between turning close to the punching bag to maintain their position and skating too close to the bag that has the weight to knock skaters off balance, and again, potentially out of a race.

Jim DePaoli of Switzerland edges out two skaters from an American team around a punching bag at a hairpin turn on the Red Bull Crashed Ice course. The 180-degree turn and the punching bag are a new addition to this year's course in St. Paul, Minn. The weight of the punching bag was enough to knock skaters off balance and effect the outcomes of races. (Jackson Forderer for MPR)


Tristan Dugerdil of France leads his team over a jump in front of the St. Paul Cathedral during a heat of the team competition held on Friday evening. The Red Bull Crashed Ice event takes places in front of the cathedral near downtown St. Paul, Minn. The event concludes on Saturday with the individual competition. (Jackson Forderer for MPR)

Friday’s crowds were no doubt considerably reduced due to the icy road conditions throughout the metro area. But the races, free to the public, still brought a steady stream of old and young alike to the downhill course. Friday’s races began with the International Shootout, which trimmed the individual competitors down to 64. The day concluded with team races which pitted teams of three against each other, and an aggregate score decided the winner as opposed to whichever team crossed the finish line first. The top American team finished in fourth place, while a team with individuals from Austria, Canada and Germany took the team championship.

Andreas Wirnstl of Germany celebrates with his team called Couch Garden after winning the team competition on Friday evening at the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in St. Paul, Minn. (Jackson Forderer for MPR)


Brandon Werner, left, and Carter West, both 11, bang on the boards to cheer on Team 'Merica in a semifinal heat on Friday evening at the Red Bull Crashed Ice event. The American team placed fourth overall in the team competition. Icy road conditions on Friday afternoon kept the major crowds away from the event, which concludes on Saturday evening. (Jackson Forderer for MPR)

The Red Bull Crashed Ice event concludes Saturday with the individual champion being crowned. Gates open to the public at 5 p.m. and races beginning at 6:45 p.m.