Red Bull came back to Saint Paul this year for their second edition of Crashed Ice in 2 years. There are 4 competitions every year and the last one is always in Montreal, the home of Ice Cross Downhill. I was surprised to hear that Red Bull was coming back since they were here last year.
Last year’s course was the toughest and most technical to that point. It looked tough, it played tough. The world’s best ice cross downhill competitors had trouble with it. It was built to show off to the spectators. With all the extra lights and good sight lines, it was quite a spectacle.
This video shows the 2012 course from top to bottom.
The course this year had some changes to it. This one was built for speed. The course was narrower, making it more difficult to pass other skaters. The course maintained more of a downhill slope compared to last year, where there were several increases in elevation, slowing the competitors.
Here’s what the 2013 course looks like.
One of the tradeoffs of this course design is that it was much more difficult to get a good view of the action. Much of the course was overhead. This was partially remedied by having several large screens showing the action, but if I wanted to watch it on TV, I would have gone to one of the many local restaurants streaming the event.
They introduced a new team competition this year. The first round was time trials. Teams of 3 cruised down the course with the time of the second finisher’s time being the team’s time. The best times in this round took less than 40 seconds to make it down the 400 meter course. The top 16 teams advanced.
The next round consisted of 2 teams going head to head. I didn’t figure out the scoring, but it appeared as though each finisher received a number of points based on the order they finished. For example, it is better for your team to finish 1st, 3rd, and 4th than it would be to finish 2nd, 5th, and 6th. Either way, the top teams moved on and competed again, eventually getting to a winner.
The finals on Saturday work much the same way, except it’s individual skaters competing in heats. Top finishers move on and bottom finishers go home until they get down to the final 4.
The finish was the closest in Crashed Ice history with Canadian brothers Kyle Croxall and Scott Croxall finishing first and second. Lakeville, MN’s Cameron Naasz finished third. This is the first time an American stood on the podium at the end of a Crashed Ice event.