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Warm Temperatures Confine Loppet To Wirth Park

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – First it was the dog sled marathon, then it was the snow sculpting competition, now the unusually warm temperatures have forced changes in the City of Lakes Loppet.

The City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation says the event, which is scheduled for Feb. 4-5, will now focus on Minneapolis’ Theodore Wirth Park.

In previous years, the ski event would run from Wirth Park and to uptown Minneapolis. This year, every event will be held in the park, which has artificial snow machines.

The snow that fell earlier this week got the event’s planners all fired up. But Thursday’s heat melted so much snow that the runoff made ice conditions on the lake ice even weaker than they previously were. The combination of weak ice, lack of snow and a warm forecast forced the loppet’s planners to move the event.

John Munger, executive director of the Nordic Ski Foundation, said, “With little to no chance of using the Chain of Lakes, it did not make sense to go forward with an uptown finish. By making the move now, we can plan a great event for Wirth Park; if we had waited, we would have likely ended up with a sub-par Uptown event or an event that was canceled altogether because it was too late to change.”

The foundation says Wirth Park has a loop of artificial snow that is not going anywhere – unless next week holds some 70 degree days. That loop should be able to accommodate the event’s various activities.

Also, the foundation says that since the event is all in one place, the loppet will be easier to watch than ever.

Below is a list of events the foundation says are scheduled for the loppet:

Park Nicollet Luminary Loppet – with 1,000+ luminaries, the Ice Pyramid, fire dancers, hot cocoa stations, a 10-ounce pour of Surly beer for each adult participant, and the even-more-enchanted forest. The big change for the Luminary Loppet is that it will be a hiking event this year.

• Chuck & Don’s Skijoring Loppet – on the snowmaking loop both Saturday and Sunday.
• Southwest Journal Snow Sculpture Contest – 16 artistic snow sculptures – watch the carving Saturday morning or enjoy the finished products throughout the weekend.
• Penn Ice-Cycle Loppet – studded tires and studly bike riders on ice.
• Surly Beer Garden – beer brewed right up the road from Wirth Park.
• Rossignol Junior Loppet – young skiers going fast.
• Loppet Kubb Tournament – Swedish lawn game with cash prizes on the line.
• Cook County Minne(sota) Loppet – everyone is a winner in this non-competitive event for kids 12 and under.
• Finn Sisu Sprints – some of the fastest skiers in the nation – and the fastest Paralympic skiers in the world – compete for cash prizes.
• Minnesota Youth Ski League SuperCarnival – kids games on skis – free, with limited equipment available.
• REI Tour – Go at your own pace in this non-competitive tour.
• Hoigaard’s Classic – some of the best classic-style skiers in the state.
• Loppet Freestyle – Olympic caliber athletes competing for cash prizes and pride.
• Vendor Village – a variety of vendors in the sports and fitness industry in the big tent.

For more information on the event and possible changes, head over to the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation website.

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