Horst's skates and skills sharp entering Saint Paul

Horst is coming off a fourth place finish at the Crashed Ice opening event, raced in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where he raced his way to the finals, only to stumble out of the gate in his final race.

Horst says that he felt he wasn’t as comfortable on the track as he needed to be.

"Niagara Falls went okay. First race of the year, so it took me a lot longer to get comfortable on the track than I had planned on. It just seemed like it was one of those tracks that was hard to find a rhythm in, and it took me until basically the night before I could get a good feel for it, so I wasn’t that confident going in, but slowly got the hang of it. I ended up finishing fourth in the race, which wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for but it’s a good start to the season."

He says that because of the level of competition, he knew as soon as he felt himself falling he’d be playing catch-up throughout the final race.

Despite the fall, Horst feels he’s taken some positive with him from Ontario into Minnesota.

"For me, Niagara Falls was a good stepping stone. I was pretty confident coming out of it. I know I had the speed to win, it was just a little bit of bad luck. I didn’t really have the best feel for the track and I think that if I can get to Saint Paul and get a good feel, then there is a good chance I can get on top."

The local firefighter says he is still training down at Fort St. John’s MC Rehab, a routine he began this year and feels is providing him the necessary tools to succeed at the races.

"Training has been really good. We kind of took what we learned from the things that happened in Niagara Falls, kind of changed up our training program a bit, and I think we’ve got it a pretty good level right now where we are going to advance quite well."

Horst also set up a mini, homemade Crashed Ice course out on Charlie Lake, something he says serves more than just one purpose.

"For me it’s a training tool, but we’ve always talked about ways to train for Crashed Ice, and there really isn’t any. You do everything on flat ice and work out in the gym, and hope you can adapt to the track as fast as you can. By building a track it just gives you that one-up for being more prepared and I think it’s going to help me."

He jokingly adds, "I told everybody that half the reason I built it was also for my critics," as many of his friend have doubted the difficulty of the sport.

Races will be held in Saint Paul for the second straight year, on a track that Red Bull claims to be one of the toughest in the world-wide series. The track will also keep previously successful athletes humble, as a number of changes have been made to this year’s twisting and turning ice track.

Horst says he’s familiar with the track, and says it’s designed to favour his skill set.

"Overall to me this one [track] looks like it has a lot of skating in it, and that favours guys like myself. But it is technical, which is fine, as long as you get the chance to get your speed going and there should be enough room to make up for mistakes as well."

Horst departs to Saint Paul for the second leg of the Crashed Ice series this Thursday, something he says he’s excited for, but wouldn’t be able to do without the help of his local sponsor, Kalmar Construction, who help pay for the ever growing travel expenses that come along with travelling around the world for competition.

The event will be running for three days, with the festivities beginning Thursday afternoon, the elimination rounds being held Friday, and the finals being raced Saturday evening.

He will get his first taste of the American track Friday, when athletes are allowed their practice runs, as well as compete in the new team event. Individual races will be held Saturday.

Following the first event of the series, Horst sits fourth in the world standings, sitting with 500 points earned from Niagara Falls.