About the Race Venue: Theodore Wirth Park Winter Recreation Area
Theodore Wirth Park features 759 acres (3.07 km2) of diverse ecosystems to create a stunning urban forest. The serenity of the park and woods sets it apart from the bustling metropolitan area; visitors often forget that they are in the heart of a city. The Theodore Wirth Park trails stretch to the Chain of Lakes, making them among the longest urban ski trail networks in the country. Theodore Wirth Park is between 666 and 1374 feet above sea level.
Nearly the size of New York City’s Central Park (843 acres or 3.41 km2), Theodore Wirth is the largest park in the Minneapolis Park System – the best park system in the nation according to The Trust for Public Land. For the past two years in a row, the Minneapolis Park System was the only park system among the park systems of the 50 largest U.S. cities to receive the top score – five benches – in the rating system, which measures park access, park size and services and investment. New York was second with 4.5 benches.
Theodore Wirth Park’s Snowmaking Capacity & Reputation
Theodore Wirth Park boasts its own snow-making system, one of the only urban parks to have this capability. Currently, the snow-making system creates snow for 3.3 kilometers of competitive skiing trails. The Loppet Foundation and the Minneapolis Park System are planning to add additional capacity over the next few years, prior to the 2018 winter season. The plan is to be able to make snow for at least 7.5 kilometers of competitive skiing.
Leaders of the Minneapolis Park System takes pride in the fact that it has never canceled any high-level events at Theodore Wirth Park or moved an event to another venue due to lack of snow.
One of the Wirth Park snow gun’s building up the ski trail base.