World Cup Spectator Tips & Hints

You’ve heard that the fastest skiers on the planet will be competing on American Snow for the first time since the Salt Lake City Olympics. You’ve heard that Fastenal Parallel 45 is four whole days of festival planned around main event. You’ve heard you have a chance to get on your skis on the World Cup Course yourself. You’ve heard that we’ve got musical acts that will be playing shows that are free, unticketed, and open to the public.

And now you’ve got questions about how it all works. This page is your guide, where your questions will be answered.

What’s the difference between Fastenal Parallel 45 and the World Cup?

Fastenal Parallel 45 Winter Festival is a four day celebration of winter, running from March 14-17. Parallel 45 culminates with the Minneapolis World Cup, a.k.a. Coop FIS Cross Country World Cup Sprint Finals, on March 17.

Where does the event take place?

In Minneapolis’ Theodore Wirth Park, with all events centered near the Trailhead at 1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway. See this spectator map for more detailed information.

When does the World Cup take place?

The Minneapolis World Cup is on Tuesday, March 17. Qualifier runs begin at 2:15 pm and final heats run from 4:45pm until 6:30pm.

The Minneapolis World Cup follows two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday in Quebec City, and together with them constitute the North American Sprints Mini Tour.

Will there be snow?

Yes. We have solid pack on the course and thirteen snow caches.

The Loppet Foundation has a ton of snowmaking capacity. It’s exactly the same capacity that allows us to reliably have skiing for Minneapolis Parks Ski Pass holders starting in November that allow us to assure a World Class World Cup course in mid-March.

Spectator areas will likely be muddy and slushy, so dress appropriately when you come to cheer.

What spectator events require a ticket?

A ticket (a.k.a. spectator pass) is required to view the World Cup Races on Tuesday, March 17. All tickets may be purchased online. There are three ticket levels.

  • Infield tickets (a.k.a. general admission) provide access to the World Cup course’s course interior.
  • Grandstand tickets provide access to the start & finish grandstand and the course interior.
  • Champions Club tickets provide access to the Trailhead VIP area, the start & finish grandstand, and the course interior

A pass may also be purchased to attend the Champions Dinner + Benefit featuring Kikkan Randall and honoring the US Nordic Olympic Women.

What spectator events do not require a ticket?

There are many great spectator events during Fastenal Parallel 45 that are free, unticketed, and open to the public. Two in particular that deserve mention:

Can I get active while at Fastenal Parallel 45?

Yes, participants can register for any of the following:

How do I get to the Fastenal Parallel 45?

Each day of Fastenal Parallel 45 is slightly different. See our Parking + Transportation Page for details. In summary, on Tuesday spectators will:

  • walk or bike to the venue
  • take public transit
  • be dropped off (by friends, taxi or rideshares)
  • park in nearby neighborhoods and walk to the venue
  • be driven to the venue by free spectator shuttles from one of two nearby pick-up locations.

Are there ADA accommodations?

Yes. Our shuttles area ADA ready. We will have volunteers ready to assist at the venue. And we have an ADA viewing platform alongside the stadium grandstand. Contact for more info.

Do I need my ticket? Where will it be checked?

All spectators must bring their ticket to the event to gain entrance, there is no will call.

Spectators will enter Fastenal Parallel 45 from the south (from the direction of MN Highway 55) or the northeast (from Plymouth or Golden Valley Road).

At the entrances spectators will encounter a check-in tent.

At a check-in tent spectators will show their digital or printed ticket to a volunteer who will scan it and give them a wristband corresponding to a Champions Club, Grandstand, or Infield access level.

Where is the Expo + Block Party Area and who has access?

The Expo + Block Party, the main hub of festival activity, is near the Theodore Wirth Park Trailhead, directly alongside the World Cup Stadium. It is centered in the parking lot and extends along Theodore Wirth Parkway.

The Expo + Block Party is free and open to the public.

How do I enter the Infield Area and who has access?

There are two entrances to the World Cup Infield:

  • The main Infield entrance is under the bridge near the Expo + Block Party.
  • A secondary Infield entrance is through an under-course tunnel located just behind the Theodore Wirth Park Chalet. This entrance is very close to the northeast check-in tent.

All wristbanded spectators have access to the Infield.

Where is the Grandstand and who has access?

The Grandstand is alongside the World Cup finish line, near the Expo + Block Party.

Spectators with a Grandstand or a Champions Club wristband have access to the Grandstand.

Where is the Champions Club and who has access?

The Champions Club is inside the Theodore Wirth Park Trailhead and on the surrounding patios.

Only guests with a Champions Club wristband have access to the Champions Club.

Where can I find the schedule?

You can find it here.

What time should I arrive?

For the World Cup on Tuesday, qualifiers start at 2:15 pm and final heats start at 4:45.

To be in time for qualifiers, aim to be at Theodore Wirth Park by 1:30 pm so you can find a spectating spot you like. To be sure to catch finals aim to arrive by 4 pm for the same reason.

You may also want to plan your arrival to be on time for GRAMMY Award winning Okee Dokee Brothers who will perform at 3:30pm.

What should I do to be sure I’m on time?

Read our Parking and Transportation Page carefully and give yourself a comfortable amount of time.

If you are in a hurry taking a Lyft, taxi or other rideshare to near the festival is a sure fire way to get there on time.

What time will the event end?

World Cup awards will be done at 7pm, at which point Heiruspecs will perform on the World Cup stage. Heiruspecs will be followed by Bad Bad Hats at 8:30pm.

What should I wear?

Dress to be outside for the duration of the event. Anticipate snow, rain, ice and mud. In the event of rain, rain jackets are preferred over umbrellas.

Consider boots as the terrain on which spectators will walk, especially in the Infield, is uneven, muddy, snowy, and icy.

Is medical help available?

In case of emergency dial 911.

For other minor issues we’ve got a medical tent in the Expo area to help.

Of course, as at any large event event, keep you and yours safe from illness, both seasonal and otherwise, by maintaining good hygiene by doing things like covering your cough and washing/sanitizing your hands.

Should I bring cards or cash?

Both. Credit cards will be accepted by nearly all vendors, but cash frequently leads to faster service. There are no ATMs at the venue.

Are outside food and beverages allowed?

Outside food yes. Outside beverages no.

Bring your own empty water bottle to fill at the Festival, or plan to purchase a Fastenal Parallel 45 commemorative bottle.

What’s recyclable? What’s compostable? What’s trash?

All vendors will be using compostable plates and utensils and recyclable beverage containers. Please follow instructions at compost, recycling, and trash receptacles so we generate as little waste as possible.

Where can I find someone who is lost?

The medical tent in front of the Trailhead. If they are chilly, we will take them to our medical team based inside the Trailhead studio.

Where’s the lost and found?

At the Parallel 45 Merchandise Booth in the Expo.

Where do I leave my bike?

Bikes are not allowed in the venue but are the best way to arrive. Bring your own lock and park bikes at our North and South Bike Racks on your way in.

Can I bring a bag?

Sure, you’ve got to carry all the Parallel 45 Merchandise you buy in something. But keep it reasonably small and know it will be subject to search.

What should I be sure to bring?

  • Your ticket
  • Photo ID
  • Cowbells
  • Clothes that you’ll be comfortable in outside
  • Food, especially if you have unique needs
  • Essential medications

What should I leave at home?

A non-exhaustive list of items that will be confiscated or refused entry if brought to the festival:

  • Tobacco products (smoking is not allowed in MPRB parks including E-Cigs or Vaping devices)
  • Liquids including outside beverages and alcohol
  • Oversized bags
  • Laser pointers
  • Air horns
  • Aerosol containers
  • Drones or any other remote flying device
  • Glass containers of any kind
  • Firearms, explosives, and weapons of any kind (including pocket knives, pepper spray, fireworks, etc)
  • Illegal and Illicit substances of any kind
  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Umbrellas
  • Pets (except service animals)
  • Unauthorized/unlicensed items for sale or distribution (No unauthorized solicitation and materials including handbills, flyers, stickers, beach balls, give-aways, samples, etc.)
  • Bikes. Please ride your bike to the park and lock it at our two bike rack locations! But bikes will not be allowed inside the venue.
  • Folding chairs (This is a grey area. Cross Country Ski races are typically best viewed by walking from viewing location to viewing location and chairs typically get in the way. That said, for Infield ticket holders who are sure they will want to sit for a period and feel better with a chair then we are fine with it as long as you are sitting in the chair and not leaving it somewhere to “mark” your spot. You must always keep it with you.)

Any rules to be aware of?

  • The World Cup course is off limits to spectators at all times. Do not cross the trail. Do not go under ropes. Any spectators entering the race course will be removed.