The Red Bull Crashed Ice race that St. Paul hosts in January will feature an icy track longer and higher than last winter's twisting course, officials said Wednesday.
The event will return to St. Paul for a second straight year on Jan. 24-26 and again feature a stomach-churning track that starts near the Cathedral of St. Paul, crosses Dayton and Summit Avenues and winds its way down the hill.
But it will start higher and run for more than 1,300 feet, allowing a bit more room for skaters to recover on the course's many obstacles, Team USA Coach Charlie Wasley said.
"It will be more of a skater's course," said Wasley, an Edina native and a Gophers hockey defenseman in the 1990s.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said last winter's event drew tens of thousands and generated an estimated $20 million in economic activity for the city. The Crashed Ice competition this winter may help take a bit of the sting out of the ongoing NHL lockout and the resulting losses for downtown establishments.
While not a Winter Carnival event, the Red Bull competition will coincide with the carnival. Coleman hopes it will become a signature event for St. Paul.
For those watching the daredevils on ice, the mayor said, "It was one of those times when you couldn't help but have a smile on your face."
The St. Paul race will be the only Red Bull Crashed Ice event in the United States. Others will be held in Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands, with the finals in Quebec.
Wasley said 200 athletes will try out to compete in St. Paul, with that field being narrowed over the course of three days.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035