News & Stories
City of Lakes Loppet Recap – Saturday, January 27 & Sunday, January 28 Events
January 28, 2018
The first weekend of the 2018 City of Lakes Loppet Festival was a great success! January 27 and 28 events included kubb, skijoring, snow sculpting, speedskating, classic ski racing and touring, orienteering, Minne-Loppet and Junior Loppet racing, Age Gap Relays, fantastic spectators, and intrepid staff and volunteers.
Friday’s balmy temps, coupled with the overnight refreeze, created slick trail conditions which resulted in all Saturday point-to-point ski events (Hoigaard’s Classic Marathon, Puoli Loppet Classic, Loppet Tour Classic) being pulled back to the snowmaking trails at Wirth Park. Despite the last-minute course change, Loppet staff, volunteers and racers rose to the occasion, making for some spectacular and spectator-friendly races.
Matt Liebsch won the Hoigaard’s Classic 30k Marathon by four minutes, followed by Andrew Brown in second and Alex Reich in third. Norway’s Ragnhild Bolstad, a standout over the past week in the Masters World Cup, won the women’s race by seven minutes over Josie Nelson, with Margie Nelson coming in third.
Per Alexander of Washburn high school won the men’s Puoli Loppet Classic race, and Lily Richmond of Minneapolis Southwest high school won the Puoli women’s race.
As the hub for most of the other Festival events, the Loppet Village near Bde Maka Ska was buzzing with excitement on Saturday. Speed skaters flew along the lake past hundreds of jovial Kubb players. Junior Loppet and Age Gap Relay skiers tore along the course as family, friends and spectators cheered on the sidelines. Skijoring was a crowd favorite, as always. One skijorer even raced in shorts!
The Minne-Loppet elementary school race had a special guest in Mayor Jacob Frey, who started the race. Minne-Loppet participants were so fired up by Mayor Frey’s pre-race words that many took off before he could officially say “go”! Kids were greeted at the finish with hugs, hot chocolate, medals, and cookies. The Minne-Loppet event, and several participants, were featured on WCCO on Saturday.
A heartfelt thank you to all of this weekend’s participants, volunteers, spectators, and sponsors! The fun continues this week at Loppet Trail at Super Bowl Live, and next weekend at the rest of the Loppet Festival! Join us for all your favorite events including the Finn Sisu Sprints, Luminary Loppet, skate races and more!