Downtown Edmonton bustling as Crashed Ice championship invades river valley

Workers dismantle the Red Bull Crashed Ice track Sunday morning following the championships. Kim Smith/Global News

Downtown restaurants and bars were packed Saturday evening as the Red Bull Crashed Ice ice cross downhill world championship coincided with an Edmonton Oilers home game.

“All the stars aligned with the weather,” said Michael Pidgeon, manager at Rocky Mountain Icehouse.

“We were so busy that we actually had to do a pop-up patio. We put out some extra seating so we could actually accommodate everybody,” Pidgeon said.

“The craziness started around 2 p.m. yesterday and went straight through until close.”

READ MORE: Big events in Edmonton bring city new visitors and prestige

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Thousands of people crammed into Louise McKinney Park to catch a glimpse of the men’s and women’s races.

The mild weather was a boost for downtown businesses, but it also caused a setback on the track.

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“We did have issues with the ice quality,” said Red Bull Crashed Ice sport director Chris Papillon. “The top layer was soft in some critical areas on the track.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Red Bull Crashed Ice track ‘promises to be a doozy’

On Sunday morning, workers were already dismantling the track, which took four weeks to build for the two-day event.

Papillon said he was relieved and happy the event went well, “but on the other hand a bit sad that it’s all done and behind us already.”

When Edmonton held the event in 2015, 70,000 spectators came out to watch, generating more than $5 million in economic impact.

On Sunday, the numbers for 2018 had not yet been released, but organizers hailed this year’s edition as a success.

READ MORE: 70,000 people take in Red Bull Crashed Ice finale in Edmonton

“I’m really happy about the [turnout] from the spectators and the support that they gave to the riders,” Papillon said.

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