Downhill skating? Cloquet grad has best 'crashed ice' season yet
Cloquet native Sadie Lundquist had a weekend -- and a season -- to remember in her adopted sport. On Feb. 3-4, Lundquist took second place in the Red Bull Crashed Ice racing circuit race at the St. Paul Cathedral -- and finished eighth in the cir...
Cloquet native Sadie Lundquist had a weekend - and a season - to remember in her adopted sport.
On Feb. 3-4, Lundquist took second place in the Red Bull Crashed Ice racing circuit race at the St. Paul Cathedral - and finished eighth in the circuit's world women's standings this year.
Crashed Ice is quite a sport to watch. It's a combination of luge and skating - with the competitors racing down the course on hockey skates.
And the former Cloquet girls hockey player is good at it. So good, in fact, that she is one of the top-ranked American women in her sport.
"Obviously, St. Paul was the best race of the season for me," Lundquist said. "I was a little disappointed in my results in two other races (Jyvaskala, Finland and Ottawa, Canada), but it was fun to do well at home."
Lundquist finished second to former UMD women's hockey player Myriam Trepanier, who raced for Canada but lives in Minneapolis. Lundquist raced in front of a dozen of her co-workers with the Minnesota Wild, for whom she works as an account executive.
"It was really fun to be two blocks from my workplace and racing," Lundquist said. The St. Paul Cathedral is only two blocks from the Xcel Energy Center. "(The Wild) are unbelievably supportive. We work a lot of hours in the winter but I'm hesitant to take time off to race. But my co-workers said they'd be disappointed if I didn't go."
That weekend was bitterly cold in the Twin Cities but Lundquist's friends were out in force.
"They were all there cheering, to watch me go down the course twice," she said.
This is Lundquist's fourth year on the circuit. As one of the top American women in the sport, her travel is partially underwritten by sponsor Six Feed - but Lundquist races wearing a Gordy's Hi-Hat chapeau, as her family started, own and operate the iconic Cloquet burger joint. She also wears a USA jersey, but with the Gordy's logo on front.
"Lots of people have sponsors but I do it more for fun," she said. "It pushes my boundaries and I pay my own way where I'm going."
Lundquist took part in two other major races this year, including one in Marseille, France, in January.
"It was awesome to go there on the Mediterranean in January where it was 50-60 degrees every day and see the people bundled up like Canadians when it's negative-30 outside," Lundquist laughed. "They were just so happy to be hosting a winter sport. It was a lot of fun. The sport has given me the chance to see some amazing things."
Lundquist's favorite memory of the season is still St. Paul, though, even though the starting gate gave competitors the willies.
"It had a five-foot drop and a five-foot clearance," she said. "You can't even see where you're going to land when you start. You just go where you go. Thankfully I adjusted to it better than some of the other racers, because it was the biggest drop and the hardest starting ramp on the circuit."
The St. Paul race is one of the four major races on the world circuit, which also includes smaller races known as Riders Cup events, where racers not ranked as highly get the chance to earn wild card entries into the larger events.
"Thankfully, I don't have to do those," Lundquist said. "That's a good thing."
And each year, Lundquist talks herself into competing again.
"They announce the dates about a month before the competition starts and the girls I skate with ask if I want to go to the skate park to start training," she said. "I'm hooked. Every year I tell myself this is the last year but it's such a fun sport."
Except for one. Sadie's brother Sever, who has raced on the men's circuit, is getting married this fall and didn't compete in 2017.
"It was a little weird traveling the circuit without my brother, but he was supportive all the way through," she said.
In the end, though, the attraction of a fast and exciting sport keeps bringing Lundquist back.
"I get hooked on the thrill of skating and seeing the world," she said. "It's like being on a hockey team - I travel with the same people and see the same faces."