News & Stories

Jan. 24, 2012 Update

January 24, 2012, Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis, MN.

With Monday’s two inches of snow, and no significant above-freezing temperatures in the forecast, the Tenth Anniversary Loppet is beginning to come into focus.  The Nordic Ski Foundation expects to be able to run all of the MOA Family Day (Saturday) events as planned.  The Sunday events will also go on, but the details are yet to be determined.

If no additional snow falls, there are two primary options for Sunday.  Both start and finish in the normal locations – start in the newly completed stadium area in Wirth Park and finish on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown.  Both options would include wave starts with a few laps on the snowmaking loop – probably two for the Hoigaard’s Classic and three for the Freestyle.  Both options would include skiing from Brownie to Hennepin on the Chain of Lakes.  The primary difference is how skiers get from the snowmaking loop to Brownie Lake.

In the preferred option, the Foundation would create a direct snow route from the Hap Lutter snowmaking loop to Brownie Lake.  This scenario requires a massive volunteer effort, with 2+ kilometers of shoveling to be completed.  Fortunately, the Nordic Ski Foundation has both the best volunteers of any ski race in North America, and the Foundation’s own could-be-patented “double-tub” shoveling method.  The first Shovel Party is set for Wednesday, January 25 at 1 p.m., with a second shift starting at 6 p.m.  Meet at the Par-3 parking lot.  Bring coal shovels (preferred) and/or push shovels.  If arrive late, follow the snow trail onto the Skyline Trail (Front-9 of golf course) or call Chief Shovel Boy Craig Rudd at 763 242-0176.

Should shoveling fail, the second option would probably be a “stage” style race with either two or three stages.  The first stage would involve either two or three laps around the snowmaking loop.  In a three-stage scenario, the second stage would be a two+ mile run, walk or ski from the snowmaking loop to Brownie Lake.  The final stage would consist of skiing from Brownie Lake to the finish on Hennepin.  In the two stage scenario skiers would take a shuttle bus between the snowmaking loop and Brownie Lake . . .

Facts and Progress:

  • With the recent cold weather, the ice on the lakes is now more than adequate for the big event.
  • Snowmaking for the Uptown Finish and Southwest Journal Snow Sculpture contest is complete.  More than 2,000 cubic yards of snow awaits transfer to the streets of Uptown!
  • The Nordic Ski Foundation completed its plowing efforts on Lake of the Isles and feels confident that there is now plenty of snow for all the Saturday events.  Added benefit – a de facto ice skating track now surrounds the Luminary Loppet course.  Ice skaters should be able to register for and participate in the Luminary Loppet this year (note that ice skaters must start on Lake of the Isles (no ice skating on Lake Street, Lake Calhoun or the Lagoon), with only one “snow crossing” location.
  • All of the Luminary Loppet elements – including 1,200 luminaries, the Ice Cropolis, Ice Henge, and the Ice Pyramid are frozen and ready for the big evening.
  • The Foundation has rolled Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake and Wirth Lake and is in process of plowing more snow onto the trails to ensure a high-quality Loppet event.
  • Plans are in place to shovel snow under the bridges in the Lagoon between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun, in the Kenilwirth Channel between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles and in the Brownie Tunnel.
  • The Park Board’s 3.3 kilometer artificial snow loop is complete and enjoyed a successful first event at the Mayor’s Challenge last weekend.  While challenging, a modified (easier) version of the loop will be part of the big day!

At this point the Foundation is feeling very good about the Tenth Anniversary Edition of the City of Lakes Loppet Cross Country Ski Festival.  So long as volunteers materialize and the forecast holds –there are no extended above-freezing temperatures predicted–all of the Loppet events will go on, with potential modifications to the Freestyle, Hoigaard’s Classic and REI Tour.  Not bad for a year with less than half the normal snowfall and incredibly warm temperatures . . .