Daredevil ice skaters will return to St. Paul this winter for more stomach-churning downhill racing in the 2014 Red Bull Crashed Ice world championship, officials are set to announce Wednesday.
It will be the third straight year that St. Paul is among the tour stops for the international competition, which this winter also includes Helsinki, Moscow and Quebec City, Canada.
The St. Paul competition, including preliminaries, will be held Feb. 20-22 on a course that winds down the hill below the Cathedral of St. Paul.
About 80,000 attended the inaugural event in 2012, which the city said generated an estimated $20 million in economic activity.
“Last year we had a record number of spectators, and I’m looking forward to even bigger crowds, a great competition, and of course thousands of people returning to downtown St. Paul for this great event,” said Mayor Chris Coleman.
Coleman, who considers himself a hockey player, took a run down the track before the last two competitions. He had trouble staying on his feet the first year, but did better the second time around.
Some skaters on the course reach speeds of 40 miles per hour. The track for the 2013 competition, for which about 200 skaters tried out, was more than 1,300 feet long.
Competitors will include Cameron Naasz of Lakeville, who last winter became the first American to win a Crashed Ice event and placed third overall in world rankings.
St. Paul has a history of hosting Red Bull events. In 2007, 50 cyclists sped down a 4,400-foot track through the city’s downtown skyway system. In 2010, more than 90,000 watched homemade flying machines try to glide along the Mississippi River at Harriet Island.