Saint Paul has been on the international map this weekend as it hosted the 2012 opening race of the extreme sport of ice cross downhill.  This also happened to be the US debut of the sport, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  The Red Bull Crashed Ice races were held over the past three days on a course that started next to the majestic Cathedral of Saint Paul.  The ice track (think of a bobsled course) travelled a quarter of a mile with jumps and hairpin turns all going downhill towards downtown. The competitors wore full pads, helmets, and hockey skates and were clocked up to 40 mph as they made their way to the finish line.  It was a party atmosphere when I attended Friday night’s elimination rounds.  The temperature was about 10 degrees with a wind chill near zero, requiring my warmest boots, hat, coat, and gloves.  As all good Minnesotans don’t let cold and/or snow deter their fun, the crowds came out in the tens of thousands to watch the races.  It’s high-speed and fascinating to watch, and certainly not for the faint of heart.  The finals took place last night in front of a crowd of 80,000 fans.  I won’t mention who won; instead you can watch the rebroadcast of the Saint Paul series by NBC on Saturday, January 21st at 1:00pm CST.  Check it out, or go to the Red Bull Crashed Ice website to learn more.

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