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    Posted January 24, 2013 by
    St. Paul, Minnesota

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    Ice Cross Returns to St. Paul


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Freelance photographer and iReporter G3Photo of St. Paul, Minnesota, braved single-digit temperatures yesterday to the watch the preliminary rounds of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship. The event, called Ice Cross, 'started with a person in Europe, some intrepid adrenaline junkie who decided it was a good idea to go skating down a bobsledding run,' he said. 'The goal is to survive until crossing the finish line.'

    As people were testing the track yesterday, the cold proved to be a problem. 'We found out it was too cold for the ice here. It was so cold that the ice got brittle. Every time someone went down the track and fell, the ice was cracking. They had to stop and resurface the track, which delayed things for four hours.' Elimination rounds are today, and the finals are tomorrow.

    Check out some action-packed photos from another photographer who was there.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Red Bull is at it again.


    The energy drink company, fast becoming known for its sponsorship of extreme sports, and most recently as the main sponsor of Felix Baumgartner's record setting jump from the edge of space, is back in St. Paul for the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship, 2013.


    This year's run is slightly longer than last year, coming in at about 400 meters of man made ice atop a scaffolding that begins with a near vertical drop 48 feet above the frozen ground. After that, things get interesting; jumps, sudden rises, even more sudden drop offs, a hairpin turn, and a rather abrupt end. The competitors, wearing hockey skates and pads, will reach speeds approaching, even exceeding 40mph. And while training and practice runs are made one person at a time, the finals are done four abreast.


    Known more formally as Ice Cross, the sport began some ten years ago when an intrepid adrenaline junkie decided it was a good idea to skate down a bobsled run. The idea caught on and competitive ice cross was born.


    Now, instead of a bobsled run, the course is made over the course of nearly three weeks with an elaborate scaffolding and thousands of gallons of frozen water.


    The sites for this year's series include not only St. Paul, Minnesota, but Quebec City and Niagara Falls in Canada, Landgraaf in the Netherlands, and Lausanne in Switzerland.


    Today in St. Paul the training runs began with an inaugural run by the city's Mayor, Chris Coleman and Father Nels Gjengdahl of the Arch Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


    What followed was a lot of slipping, crashing and learning about the track, its speed, and how unforgiving its going to be in the arctic cold that has gripped the region in the past weeks.


    Semi Finals are Friday, January 25th, and Finals are Saturday the 26th at 7pm CST. Some 80,000 people are expected to be on site for the event, braving the chill of zero degrees.

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