Crews in downtown St. Paul on Wednesday began constructing the Red Bull Crashed Ice course, which will host extreme ice skaters for the annual event in January.

Starting this year, the course will be gated for security reasons and attendees can buy premium tickets. Premium tickets cost $10 to $20, though spectators can pay up to $350 for additional perks like a heated bar and access to the starting line of the event, which runs Jan. 19 and 20.

“The premium ticketing option is just to offer the option for viewers to have a different viewing experience, to get different views and closer to the track,” said Alyssa Stalzer, account executive with New York-based M&C Saatchi.

The sloping, curving course in front of the Cathedral of St. Paul runs more than 1,100 feet and takes about three weeks to build. Project manager Andrew Markey said workers on Wednesday began unloading seven trucks of scaffolding steel that arrived from Nashville.

“This weather is a little demotivating. But so far so good,” Markey said.

Workers first construct the scaffolding, then lay the plywood track, install hockey rink-style boards along the sides, assemble refrigerated matting and create the ice.

The course follows the same path as last year, Markey said, but has some new features like a large jump on the John Ireland Boulevard bridge over Interstate 94.

Markey said the frigid temperatures can slow the pace of work.

“The real challenge is when we start to make the ice, when we start running water and trying to keep all of our hoses from freezing,” he said.

He added that the site will be about evenly split between the premium and free zones, and there will be three entry gates.

Tickets are available at People can RSVP online for the free admission, but it is not necessary.

A $10 or $20 ticket on Friday or Saturday, respectively, allows viewing from the lower track. For $135 ($200 on Saturday), spectators can watch from the warmth of the Ice Club with an open bar. Three hundred dollars also buys access to the starting line and an after party at the Palace Theater.

“Everyone will be accommodated who wants to attend,” Stalzer said.