Red Bull Crashed Ice lived up to its daredevil name Wednesday, as Mayor Chris Coleman and other St. Paul city officials donned skates and hockey gear to try out the event's steep and twisting ice track on Cathedral Hill. Coleman, along with Finance Director Todd Hurley, Council Member Chris Tolbert and former Council Member Melvin Carter, tested the track's starting ramp, waves and steps, collecting some bruises but no broken bones.

The hardest part, Mr. Mayor? "The ice," he said, smiling. The Rev. Paul Shovelain, associate pastor at St. Peter Catholic Church in Forest Lake, said that sixth-graders at the parish school pressured him into skating the track, but he called it "a great time."

About 100,000 people are expected to turn out Thursday through Saturday for the Crashed Ice competition, one of four international races that conclude with the championship in Edmonton, Alberta, in March. Saturday will be a busy day in downtown St. Paul, as 200,000 people are expected for Winter Carnival events and the Grande Day parade, Crashed Ice Village on W. Seventh Street, concerts in Rice Park and Roy Wilkins Auditorium, and college hockey at Xcel Energy Center. For more information, go to