Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - No matter which way you look at it, the 22nd Annual Amsoil Championship Snocross event at Spirit Mountain is huge for the sport, and the region.
According to International Series of Champions President Carl Schubitzke, whose organization runs the three–day event, "it's kind of like the Super Bowl. It's the first event, so it's the kickoff of the season. I think [it's] enthusiasm, excitement, everybody's fired up for the season to begin."
Schubitzke says the race has grown in leaps and bounds since its beginning, and now requires round–the–clock efforts from an ever–growing staff.
"We have approximately 90 people on staff this weekend for this event" said Schubitzke as two groomers pushed massive mounds of snow around behind him.
Whereas last year the event was almost cancelled due to poor weather conditions, this year's late Thanksgiving, coupled with weeks of ideal snowmaking temperatures, has helped ISOC crews construct the biggest race track to date.
"I kind of don't want to jinx it, but everything's going really smoothly," laughed Schubitzke.
"Today we're just kind of shaping the outline of the track, which is what we've been doing the last couple of days—moving the snow to where it's got to be," said groomer Keith Caverly as he drove one of two groomers up and down the track Wednesday.
Caverly plays an integral role in shaping the track. But a groomer's work is never done. Come nightfall, this track will be torn down only to be rebuilt in the morning for efficiency and quality's sake.
"We tear it down at night, otherwise all the jumps and everything will freeze hard," said Caverly. "You need a soft track for the riders."
It's all part of the massive effort that helps bring in $5 million to Duluth before the end of the weekend.
The 22nd Annual Amsoil Championship Sno–cross event will run Friday through Sunday.