News & Stories

Loppet January 13th Weather Update

January 13, 2012, Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis, MN.  Obviously, this has been a trying winter to date.  More than the lack of snow, the warm temperatures have been the big problem.  Ice depth on the lakes are not what they should be and it has even been difficult to make snow.

Still, things are not all bad.  The Park Board has a 2.5 kilometer loop of artificial snow open at Wirth Park and they are expecting to complete a 3.3 kilometer loop by early next week.  The Pre-Loppet went off without a hitch last weekend and high school skiers have been practicing on and racing at Wirth nearly every day.  The Foundation expects the Mayor’s Challenge and the International Paralympics Committee Paralympics World Cup to go off as planned as well.

That leaves only the Loppet.  “What are you going to do about the Loppet?” has been a common refrain.  The answer, really, is that it is premature to event ask the question. There have been years with lots of snow in mid-January that have turned out to be duds by the time of the event.  Conversely, there have been a number of years with little snow in mid-January that have turned out to be snowy-white by Loppet weekend.  All it takes is a few quick inches of snow and the course can be ready for the big show.  As for the last kilometer of snow into Uptown, like always, the Foundation is planning to make snow, starting as early as next week.

The more important issue is ice.  Without sufficient ice the Saturday events become problematic.  Fortunately, things look to be in good shape on this front.  Lake of the Isles has 8” of ice.  And forecasts are calling for seasonably cold weather over the next few weeks.  This time of year “seasonably cold” is pretty darn cold . . . With a few weeks of generally sub-freezing temperatures the ice is expected to be safe and ready for Loppet weekend.

The overall message is this: Loppet weekend is a festival and the festival will go on.  At this point the Foundation expects to run the festival as scheduled.  But if Mother Nature deals us a curve ball, we will adjust and ski it out of the park!