Sunday, January 16, 2022


Great Way to Prepare for the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival Fat-Tire Bike & XC Ski Events

Information below is from 2021. Stay tuned for 2022 updates!

The Pre-Loppet event includes both ski races and fat-tire bike events. Pending good snow conditions with typical Loppet optimism and can-do-ism, the 2021 Pre-Loppet 15K ski and 17K bike events will begin at Wirth Lake and meander through Theodore Wirth Park’s natural snow and world-class snowmaking ski trails before finishing at The Trailhead. The 5K starts and finishes at the Trailhead.

The Pre-Loppet has always been the tune-up event for the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival, but this year especially so. Full COVID-19 mitigation protocols will be in place with seeded and distanced starts, very closely following much of the course and format of the Skate/Classic Ski and Bike Puoli and Loppet races at the City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival.

Ski Events

  • 15K Freestyle (classic track may be groomed if conditions allow)
  • 5K Freestyle (course all on snowmaking with classic track on right)

Fat Bike Events

  • 17K Fat Bike
  • Saturday, January 16, 6pm:
    • Check the maps!
      • 5K: No change.
      • 15K Ski: Land start as described in 12pm update. Park Mortenson. Can ski Jar Hill trails and the lake for warmup.
      • 17K Bike: More like 14K (don’t tell the skiers). And the route is exactly the same as the skiers. Land start (same as ski). Park Mortenson. No lake/Jar Hill loop but you can use those areas for warming up and riding until your start time. And because of the IceMan crowds, we are dropping the Creek/Conundrum singletrack and staying on the ski deck through that section. Couple big hills back there on Judy.
  • Saturday, January 16, 12pm: No changes for the 5K. For the long ski and bike, yesterday’s rain and warm temps have caused a number of thin and icy spots on the natural snow trails but our trails crew is out fixing them up. So, yes, we are planning to use the full course except for the lake start and a very small part of JD Rivers. The rationale for that is that we need to focus all of our efforts on the natural snow trails. A few icy hills on Skyline call for caution but they might yet groom out well. The plan is to start on land at the NE corner of Wirth Lake. Your plan should still be to park at Mortenson as a central spot. New maps will be updated online at 6pm.
  • Friday, January 15: Email Update to Participants
  • Wednesday, January 13: Update to Registered participants
  • Wednesday, January 13: Timed/In-Person race START ASSIGNMENTS have been posted. If questions, please email
  • Monday, January 11: Lots of new info below, like race version change form, hybrid signup, start protocol for timed race, updated parking, donation bag drop, warm-up trails, spectators (please stay home).

Registration Closed

 Registration OpenStarting Jan 6, 2021Starting Jan 12, 2021
15K Pre-Loppet Freestyle Ski$40$55$75
17K Pre-Loppet Fat Bike$40$55$75
5K Freestyle Ski$25$35$50

Registration and transaction fees are non-refundable, including in the event of delay, rescheduling, or cancellation of an event or program. An event or program registration is not transferable to another person or another event for any reason, including injury. Participating under another person's name will result in disqualification.

A Note About the Data We Collect

Proceeds from the Pre-Loppet benefit the Loppet Foundation. Learn more about the Foundation's mission, vision, and values.

There is no race day registration.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, we are offering both a Timed (in-person) and a Hybrid (semi-virtual) version of the Pre-Loppet! The Timed version is a chip-timed, in-person race with social distancing protocols in place. The Hybrid version is self-timed on the marked course after the in-person event during your own individual start time which you choose (separate from registration).

Choosing and Changing Your Event Format

We will assume that you intend to participate in the Timed version unless you fill out this race version change form:

  • This form may be used to switch between either event version.
  • You may switch from Timed to Hybrid at any time until the Hybrid window closes.
  • If you are switching from Hybrid to Timed after Thursday, January 14, you must contact us directly at to ensure you are given a start assignment.

Hybrid/Semi-Virtual Event Option

The courses will be kept marked throughout the day on Sunday, January 17 (race day), until Monday, January 18, at noon. Please plan on being entirely self-reliant and focus on enjoying the trails! There will be no aid stations, course marshals, on site medical team, or timing services.

  • Please still plan to pick up your packet during the drive through packet pickup times and wear your bib or number plate while doing the course. Especially for hybrid bikers who will be on ski trails where and when they are normally not allowed.
  • Submitting results: Before the hybrid time window begins you will receive an email from our timer with instructions on how to submit your time. Please submit by Tuesday, January 19, 5pm.

Skiers and bikers will sign up for their own individual start times on a two-minute interval. This sign-up process is on the SignUpGenius platform and is separate from race registration.

Sign-up times are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Please sign up for only one spot. If you plan to ski/bike with someone who is part of your “COVID unit,” you will only need to sign up for one time (please include both participants’ names).

If you need to change your reserved start time, please go to the confirmation email you received from SignUpGenius and click the link titled “Edit My SignUp”. In order to change your reservation time, you will need to delete your current reservation (using the “Delete” button, then confirm with “YES – DELETE”. You do not need to notify the organizer). Then return to the main sign-up page for the day you want and choose a new time. If you simply need to edit your name or comment, you can do that with the same link, and save your changes with the “Update my Sign Up” button.

Packet Pickup

For the drive through packet pickup, you will drive in the east driveway (not the side with the 4-way stop) of The Trailhead turnaround, give us your name, and we will drop your packet in your passenger side window.

Please make every effort to do the drive-through packet pickup. The goal is to keep all of you, as well as our volunteers, safe by minimizing touchpoints on race day.

Important Dates

  • Monday, January 11, at noon: Open hybrid (semi-virtual) signup process.
  • Monday, January 11, at 11:59pm: Price Hike.
  • Wednesday, January 13, at noon: Publish and email Start Assignments for race day.
  • Thursday, January 14, at 8pm: Last chance to change race version.
  • Thursday, January 14, at 11:59pm: Registration closes.
  • Friday, January 15, from 3pm – 6pm: Drive-through Packet Pickup at The Trailhead.
  • Saturday, January 16, from 11am – 2pm: Drive-through Packet Pickup at The Trailhead.
  • Sunday, January 17, from 7am – 10am: Packet Pickup for 5K Ski in the Lower Stadium.
  • Sunday, January 18, from 8am – 11am: Packet Pickup for 15K Ski/17K Bike at Wirth Lake.

Race Day Schedule and Start Assignments

Skiers will start at staggered intervals to maximize social distancing. Skiers will be seeded and ordered according to finish predictions and past results to reduce passing on the trail. Below are the approximate start times of each event. We will adjust as needed depending on registrations to ensure proper social distancing. An official start time and complete start list and protocol will be available before the event. Skiers and bikers should expect a time trial start protocol which will be detailed closer to the event and be dependent on registration numbers and the Governor’s current orders.

  • 8:00am: 5K Ski Start
  • NEW: 8:30am: 15K Ski Start (Note: earlier start time than previously)
  • 10:00am: 17K Fat-Tire Bike Start

Please keep everyone safe: Review the Health Screening Form from the Minnesota Department of Health on race morning. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home.

For full details regarding our COVID-19 mitigation plans, you can read through our Pre-Loppet Preparedness Plan.

Keep Your Bibs / Race Plates

During this race, you may be be given a historic Loppet bib or race plate. We are making an effort to reduce waste and use bibs that were ordered yet never used during past races. This also means we will not be collecting these bibs at the finish, which removes another touchpoint created with collection and washing.

Start Protocol: Pods and Time Trial Format

To maintain social distancing, the start protocol will match the protocol successfully used at our summer and fall events. You should expect:

  • Masks are required
  • Start assignments in three minute increments per pod, for example 9:00am, 9:03am, 9:06am, 9:09am, etc.
  • Pods will have approximately 10 participants per pod.
  • There will be a double corral system (one pod per corral) with space in each corral for pod members to socially distance by taking a position by a cone. One corral will be designated for even start times (9:00am, 9:06am, etc), while the other corral will be designated for odd times (9:03am, 9:09am, etc).
  • Participants within each pod will be started individually every 10-15 seconds.
  • When it is time for a participant to go, they will be released, cross the timing mat, and begin. Participants will advance forward from cone to cone in the corral as the corral empties. Only one corral will be released at a time.
  • We are utilizing chip timing to capture everyone’s exact start time.

Modified Bag Drop / Donation Drop

We have eliminated a traditional bag drop for a point-to-point race in an effort to reduce gathering spots and touchpoints.

However, we will have several tarps laid out near the start. You are welcome to wear extra items that you do not intend to get back, which we will donate after the event. Please note that you should not “hide” a pile of clothing somewhere along the trails. We will remove any and all items we find in the area and add them to our donation pile.

Aid Stations

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not have aid stations in 2021. Skiers and bikers will need to be self-sufficient and provide their own nutrition and hydration.

Spectators: Please Stay Home

Please no spectators. In particular, no spectators will be allowed in the start or finish area. The only exception are parents with young children or if a participant needs unique assistance/accommodations. If you want a great way to see the race up close, please consider volunteering.

When You Finish

Give yourself a big high five once you cross the finish line! Then please mask up and return immediately to your car for warmth – and to prevent any groups forming at the finish. As much as it pains us not to host a post-event party this year, we are required to have everyone to move along to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Note that The Trailhead building is closed and there will be no warming tents, so please bring your own water and food for after the event.

Course Maps

As this is an early season event, we will do our best to give you the biggest adventure that the trails allow by maximizing both the snowmaking and natural trail systems. The 5K starts and finishes in Lower Stadium at The Trailhead. The 15K Ski and 17K Fat-Tire Bike start on the edge of Wirth Lake and finish at The Trailhead. If natural snow trails fail, the backup plan will be to move the long ski and bike to the snowmaking trails at The Trailhead. On the google maps below, note that each map has different layers that can be turned on and off. Ski races are freestyle, with a classic track on the right (if conditions allow a classic track):

Bikers are free to warm up on the bike paths nearby as needed, but bikes are not allowed on the ski trails except for during the fat-tire bike event. *Please note that hybrid (semi-virtual) bikers with their bike plate visible will have access to the full course during the hybrid times Sunday afternoon and Monday morning (Jan 18) until noon.

Warm-up Space and Trails

Please note on the maps that warm-up trails and areas have been indicated. Please note in the parking section below that your car is your warm place and there are no warming tents, fires, or buildings available. Keep moving and use the time before your start to work out the kinks and stay warm.


We encourage participants to bike, bus, or walk on race morning.

If you choose to drive and are unfamiliar with the area, please refer to our Loppet Parking Map. If everyone follows the plan below, there will be plenty of parking. Please note that your car is your warm place. There are no warming tents and The Trailhead building is closed:

ALL Festival race participants should plan to park in the Mortenson parking lot

  • From 55, turn north on Meadow Ln just one block west of Theodore Wirth Pkwy).
  • Please do not park in any Reserved or labelled parking spots.
  • Please note that the Trailhead parking lots will be closed and permit controlled.
  • The Chalet and Overflow Lots will be open to the public and parking in these areas may be extremely limited.
Saturday, Jan 30: Races that Start and Finish at the Trailhead

The Trailhead is about a 1/4 mile walk to the south from Mortenson.

Sun, Jan 31 and Sat-Sun, Feb 6-7: Races that Start at Wirth Lake, Finish at the Trailhead

The Mortenson parking lot is a convenient center point between the event’s start at Wirth Lake and finish at The Trailhead.

  • We do NOT recommend trying to park near Wirth Lake. These parking areas will be used by volunteers and the roads will be completely closed for the Feb 6-7 weekend (for the ski trails to cross the roads).
  • We will NOT allow any participants to warm down on the trails after they finish their event at the Trailhead. We can not have you interacting with participants in races that started after you. Besides, this is not cool etiquette anyway.

For skiers and snowshoers going from Mortenson to Wirth Lake: It is a short 1/4 mile to the SE intersection of 55 and Theodore Wirth Pkwy. From the SE corner, you will access trails which you will use to ski to the start. These are the Jar Hill trails, and you may warmup on these trails while you wait for your start time.

For bikers going from Mortenson to Wirth Lake: You may bike from your cars at Mortenson to the intersection of 55 and Theodore Wirth Pkwy and ride south to Glenwood. Turn left and you will be near the southern tip of the lake. You are free to warmup on any of the bike trails along Theo Wirth Pkwy or Glenwood while you wait for your start time. Note that when you approach the start, you will be crossing the race course but there will be plenty of space between bikers.

Due to Covid-19 safety protocols, there will be no awards ceremony for the 2021 Pre Loppet. Forgoing awards will also allow us to prioritize continued funding of our programs during this challenging year. Results will be posted online.

However, you can rest assured that your hard work will not go unrewarded! Please stop by the Pioneer Midwest tent after you finish your event to grab a fun swag item. Thanks to Pioneer Midwest for their support of the Pre-Loppet.

We need help from volunteers to help us manage the course, start/finish areas and more. Please sign up here using our Pre-Loppet Volunteer Website.

If you still have questions, please email

Join the Adventure!

Detailed sponsorship opportunities and packages are available.
Please contact the Loppet Foundation Sponsorship Manager:


The Loppet Foundation
1301 Theodore Wirth Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55422