Posted at: 11/27/2013 5:33 PM
Updated at: 11/27/2013 8:02 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
It's the 22nd Annual AMSOIL Duluth National Snocross this weekend and the preparations are well under way at Spirit Mountain.
"It's dear to us, it's the Super Bowl, it's kind of the kick-off of our season," said Carl Schubitzke, president of ISOC Racing, the company behind the series.
Duluth opens the AMSOIL Championship Snocross series and is known for drawing in the biggest crowds, but before the sleds hit the snow, there's a lot of work to do.
"We start by putting the track into place, and then everything evolved from there, the signage, the posters, the televisions, the jumbo screens," explained Schubitzke.
This year the group has a new start line and have added more bleachers on top of the hill, but what actually fills the stands with thousands of fans takes the most prep, the track.
"If we have a lot of snow, we build the track bigger. This year this track is the biggest Duluth's been," explained Bob Pawlowski, a track groomer for the series.
He goes by the name Farmer Bob. In the summer he farms corn and soy beans, and come winter, the name still fits.
"Any time you move snow on a hill, it's called farming snow," he explained.
He builds the track you see on race day, moving, pushing, and softening the snow in a groomer.
It's a week-long process putting in 11 hours a day. On race day, the groomers are the first to arrive and the last leave.
"Every night we have to go through and bust the whole track up and make small pushes. We'll go through and loosen it up because it will freeze solid, and the last thing we want is frozen snow," Pawlowski explained.
He says soft snows makes for good racing, so they work around the clock. It's a big job, but it's worth it when the riders fly.
"We just try to challenge them the best we can," he said.
Races start at Spirit Mountain at 10 a.m. Friday and run through Sunday. For more information go here.