This article was posted on Monday, October 29th, 2012
Frost bedazzled the eyes as volunteers pulled into the Wirth parking lot on Saturday morning. Over 100 volunteers arrived under the slowly breaking dawn for the Loppet Foundation’s annual Trails Day; an event to prepare the ski trails in Theodore Wirth Park for winter.
Volunteers brought shovels and wheel barrows and were dispatched by the Loppet’s Chief of Course Craig Rudd to one of the many projects in the trails. Projects included reseeding the trails, grading the hills, laying erosion mat, hauling and chopping logs for fire wood and clearing debris and branches from the trails.
“I love to go back and ski on the trails I’ve worked on,” said Audrey Sheffield who skis the Luminary Loppet every year. Wayne and Kristina Sicoria and their son Luke volunteered together on the log splitting crew. “It feels good to work outside in the fresh air and get a good workout,” said Kristina.
The event, which was co-sponsored by REI, drew both Loppet and REI members together as well as youth in the Loppet’s FAST KIDS program. The Loppet Games – an afternoon of adventure competitions that wrapped up the FAST KIDS fall season kicked off with 1 ½ hours of trails work to teach youth the important role they play as stewards in the park. FAST KIDS coach Kim Rudd supervised the groups on the trails and overheard, “I hope we can do this every year… I love trails work!”
“This is really a model relationship,” said REI Outreach Specialist Mikaela Kramer. “We love working with the Loppet…We can really pool our resources to do a lot of awesome projects in the community.”
The groups returned under blue autumn skies for pizza and snacks provided from REI. Steve Matson and his son Ryan were the last volunteers to return from the trails. Steve said his son did not want to leave until the wood splitting was done. “He gave up the Red Barn Cyclocross Race to come here today,” said Steve who skis with his son in the Minnesota Youth Ski League. “I think he is really anxious for the ski season… his eyes lit up with the chance to do some trails work.”
With the groundwork laid, the Loppet is ready to shout from the mountain tops, “LET IT SNOW!”.