After two years I came back again in Saint Paul for Red Bull Crashed Ice. The sport of Ice Cross Downhill continues its residence in the “State of Hockey” with a fourth visit to the capital of Minnesota in 2015, as the sport continues to grow in popularity with US fans.
The photo shooting of the fastest sport on ice and those incredible athletes is always so challenging. Usually low temperatures and hard working conditions in most cases are really demanding and that makes the goal harder to get. This time we could say that we were lucky with the weather – the temperature was -5C, so it made this event easier for photo shooting, especially if we compare it with the previous one when we were working in temperature of -22C with the wind of 30 km/h!
For the past two freezing-cold winters, Saint Paul has hosted Ice Cross Downhill competitions, with huge crowds of more than 120.000 people converging on the Cathedral of Saint Paul to witness the high-speed action that features skaters competing in four-man heats in a race to the bottom of a track full of obstacles.
On this kind of event beside the temperature, one more challenge is moving through the crowd, so that was the case this time also, but with the record break in crowds with 140.000 spectators! Now, could you imagine how difficult it was to move through that number of people? That’s why we needed a good plan for moving from spot to spot as we could get perfect photos. There were three of us in the photo team and as always we had a result with photos just as we planned.
HISTORY OF RED BULL CRASHED ICE – HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In 2000, a new sport was born, “a sport of the century”. Athletes from around the world flocked to the Swedish capital Stockholm for the inaugural race – wearing hockey skates in a man vs. man battle down a 300-metre long ice track filled with gap jumps, ice steps and razor-sharp hairpin turns. The sport was called Ice Cross Downhill and the race called Red Bull Crashed Ice. Never before had anyone attempted anything even remotely similar and all those who took part in that first race – all outstanding hockey players – called it an incredible experience.
The first Red Bull Crashed Ice track in Stockholm was set up through Stockholm’s fish market – a location with the aroma of fresh fish. After a brief boycott at the start and spectacular crashes in the test runs, the competitors quickly adapted to their unusual field of play. Since then there have been 16 races in eight countries. Hundreds of thousands of spectators have watched the races on the ever-more advanced tracks – on ski slopes in the mountains and through urban valleys in city centers. While in the past the races were staged as individual events, it is now a formal world championship since 2010.
SAINT PAUL – THE MOST LIVABLE CITY IN AMERICA
Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state’s largest city.