There was no shortage of chills, thrills or spills during the National Shootout Round of the 2012 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships Thursday afternoon in St. Paul.
At the end of the day, Hudson native David Kron advanced to the Elimination Round of the first ice-cross event in the United States since 2004, which will take place Friday night in front of the Cathedral.
Kron finished Thursday afternoon’s national qualifier round 27th (out of 100 athletes) crossing the finish line of the winding, 406-meter long ice track with a time of 50.77 seconds.
“It started out really rough. In practice I took a terrible digger landing on my head and shoulder and I was almost going to pack it up,” Kron said at the finish line. “I skipped my full-run practice round and then decided to go for my first-run qualifying round. I did OK and just finished my second run and did even better.”
Stillwater natives Josh Erickson and Matt Oseter also took on the track.
Erickson was the first athlete to attack the “most challenging track ever” Thursday afternoon, but he missed the cut, finishing his time trial in 1:40.48. Erickson did not take a second run at the ice-cross course.
Oster finished his first run with a time of 1:11.07. He qualified for Friday's elimination round with a time of 1:03.38.
At one point along the track, athletes rode up and around a 16-foot high, steeply banked ice wall—the tallest in race history—that came down onto a series of jumps on the way to the finish line.
“The track is intimidating, especially for Americans who have never done anything like this before,” Kron said. “The mood in the tent is the same—everyone is just trying to get a safe run. I don’t think there is a guy up there saying I’m going to go full out. Everyone is just trying to get through it safe and clean.”
Kron, who has been playing hockey and skiing since he was a toddler, said he trained for the event by getting out on the ice and playing hockey as much as possible, hitting the gym, lifting weights and running.
This afternoon, 75 International athletes——will take to the course for the International Shootout set to take place from 12:45 to 2:30 p.m.
Friday night’s elimination round, which will feature 128 athletes (64 from each time trial), will race down the course four at a time with two racers advancing from each heat.
So what will it be like to race down the track with three other competitors?
“I can’t even imagine it right now,” Kron said. “If there’s two guys who want the same line, people are going to be going into the boards for sure.”