Filmwerks Powers Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships

The setting was unlike anything ever seen in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. In fact, it was the first event of its kind on U.S. soil. And when the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships needed the infrastructure to make it happen, they turned to North Carolina-based power supplier Filmwerks.

The extreme-racing event in Minnesota’s Twin Cities required five separate power grids.

Starting from above Selby and Summit Avenues at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in St. Paul, Filmwerks helped construct a 1,300-ft. ice track that snaked its way down through the streets of Minnesota’s capital for an extreme-racing event that hosted some of the world’s fastest, most daring winter athletes.

“This was definitely the most unique event we’ve done,” says Filmwerks owner Michael Satrazemis. “We had to power these huge generators not only to help make the ice, but then, when the event is over, they’ve got to get rid of it.”

The Filmwerks crew had to design five separate power grids, one each for the chillers that made the ice; the lighting and audio; the VIP and media tents; athlete tents; and the production compound. And it was all done from scratch.

“Being it was the first time an event like this was brought into the U.S., no one really knew what was going to be needed or what to expect,” says Griffin Eure, salesman at Filmwerks, who helped lead a site visit nearly two months prior to the event.

It was essentially a blank slate for Filmwerks, which helped design and power a course at a location that had no infrastructure in place at all. It took more than 5 MW of electricity to light the structure and power the NBC Sports Network broadcast crew, as well as 50,000 ft. of cable and 4,000 kW worth of boilers.

In addition, more than 15 million BTUs of heat were required for climate control — keeping media and athlete tents warm in the 4 degree F temperatures — and to help melt the ice track down after the event was over.

Red Bull’s Crashed Ice World Championships is primarily an international event, and that led to a plethora of challenges for the Filmwerks team.

“The voltages were all over the place,” notes Satrazemis, whose company works with international broadcasters at the Masters golf tournament and various tennis events. “We were working with international equipment, Canadian equipment, American equipment. That was very interesting.”

Although the event, which drew an estimated 80,000 spectators, was challenging to pull off, Satrazemis was pleased with how his crew performed.

“It was a reinforcement of how thorough you have to be on a job of this magnitude with detail,” he says. “You have to get every single entity together and really hammer out the details, because it’s not like you can just make a change at an event like this. It’s really difficult to do that.”

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