News & Stories

August Trailhead Construction Update: Things Are Moving Along Quickly!

The Trailhead is moving closer to completion each day!

The Trailhead is a joint project between the Loppet Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) to expand and improve recreation in Theodore Wirth Park. When we’re done, Wirth Park will have:

  • New ski trails, golf holes, and mountain bike event trails.
  • A new mountain bike learning area.
  • Additional parking capacity.
  • A new and improved tubing hill.
  • Expanded staging and learning areas for skiing, biking, trail running and hiking.
  • A 14,000-square-foot welcome center that will include an eatery, bike and ski shop, locker room facilities, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, and an exercise areas.

The Trailhead will be Wirth Park’s gateway to year-round outdoor recreation and adventure, and will be a jumping off point for skiers, trail runners, golfers, mountain bikers, snowshoers, hikers, and snowboarders alike. It will provide infrastructure to diversify the park’s user base and increase youth outreach. It will support expanded and strengthened Loppet youth & family programming. It will be a place for community to gather.

And, it will be your new favorite place to get a cup of coffee, grab a beer, or eat a meal in the park!

The official Trailhead groundbreaking ceremony on June 6, 2017. (Left to right) MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller, Sen. Bobby Joe Champion of Minneapolis; David Dayton, co-chair of the Loppet’s Trailhead Capital Campaign; Loppet Foundation Executive Director, John Munger; Anthony Taylor, Loppet Adventures Director; Youth from The Loppet Foundation.

Trailhead building construction began in May 2017. Contractors completed soil remediation at the building site last month and cement for the building’s footings was poured on August 2. Work on the building will continue throughout the year, with completion estimated for mid-January, 2018.

The Trailhead building site on July 31, 2017.

The Trailhead project includes five miles of new mountain bike event trails, which are designed to be technically easy but physically challenging. When not in use for events, the trails will be open to runners, hikers, cyclists and snowshoers. Today, the event trails are about half finished – enough to see clearly that they are going to be awesome! Four youth hired through the City of Minneapolis’s STEP-UP program are helping with trail construction and environmental preservation efforts this summer. (Please note that due to ongoing construction, the new trails are not yet open for use.)

Progress on the building’s footings. August 11, 2017.

We opened the new tubing hill last winter. This summer, we are improving the tubing hill with two new smaller “kiddie” runs, and a new and improved run-out area. Tree Trust is constructing a new staircase to the top of the tubing hill, which will expand access to the hill, increase tubing capacity, and allow kids (and their adults!) who want some exercise to walk to the top. Tubing will be better than ever this winter!

The new staircase to the top of the tubing hill, as of July 31, 2017.

We’re also working on ski trail realignment, and on expanding snowmaking to a total of 6 km of trail! We are adding snow guns, adding water and electric stations, and adjusting the trails in preparation for the expanded snowmaking.

We are expanding the Lower Stadium area with a new start area and a new and expanded finish area. Later this summer, we will be adding a new stadium area – “Stadium 18” – that is specifically designed for high school racers and groups like the Minnesota Youth Ski League. The new area will be a smaller, more sheltered stadium, easily accessible from the new Trailhead building. With two stadium areas, the main stadium will be more available for learning and recreational skiers.

Construction is occurring concurrently with three MPRB projects: constructing new golf holes, constructing a new utility run to connect to The Trailhead building, and adding new parking lots adjacent to The Trailhead.

The new parking lot across the street from The Trailhead, as of August 7, 2017.

After so many years of work, we are excited to see The Trailhead taking shape! We wouldn’t be where we are today without the Loppet community. Our spectacular volunteers have helped us out every step along the way, and more than 1,100 members of our community have donated more than $4.6 million to support the project.

Volunteers from QBP and Park Tool work on a bridge on the new doubletrack trails in June 2017.

We still need your help!

To finish the capital campaign for The Trailhead, we need to raise an additional $375,000 by the end of the year. You can donate online or download and return a donation form by mail. You can reach Development Director, Marin Byrne, at with any questions.

More information

The Trailhead website

What to expect at The Trailhead–inside and out!

Follow construction progress on the Loppet’s Facebook page.