Loppet’s ice luminaries, snow sculpture and skiing moved to Theodore Wirth Park
Faced with unseasonably warm temperatures, weak ice conditions and a snow drought, all events associated with this year’s City of Lakes Loppet will be held in Theodore Wirth Park. Originally, festival organizers had hoped to hold events on the Chain of Lakes and move the finish to Hennepin Avenue in Uptown; however, the weather didn’t cooperate.
Theodore Wirth Park has a 3.5 kilometer loop of artificial snow that will withstand warm temperatures and will provide great skiing. For Saturday, the 3.5 kilometer loop will accommodate all events. For Sunday, the distances will be significantly reduced and the skiers will need to do multiple laps.
The Loppet — set for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4 and 5 — will include these and other activities:
- Park Nicollet Luminary Loppet – 1,000+ luminaries, an Ice Pyramid, fire dancers, hot cocoa stations, a 10-oz. pour of Surly beer for each adult participant, and an enchanted forest. The big change for the Luminary Loppet is that it will be a hiking event — rather than a cross-country skiing event — this year.
- Southwest Journal Snow Sculpture Contest – 16 artistic snow sculptures carved on Saturday morning.
- Penn Ice-Cycle Loppet – studded tires and bike riders on ice.
- Surly Beer Garden – beer brewed right up the road from Wirth Park.
- Rossignol Junior Loppet – young skiers going fast.
- Loppet Kubb Tournament – Swedish lawn game with cash prizes.
- Cook County Minne(sota) Loppet – non-competitive event for kids age 12 and under.
- Finn Sisu Sprints – some of the fastest skiers in the nation – and the fastest Paralympic skiers in the world – compete for cash prizes.
- Minnesota Youth Ski League SuperCarnival – kids’ games on skis.
- REI Tour – non-competitive tour.
- Hoigaard’s Classic – some of the best classic-style skiers in the state.
- Loppet Freestyle – Olympic caliber athletes competing for cash prizes.
- Vendor Village – a variety of vendors in the sports and fitness industry in the big tent.
Shuttle buses will run throughout the weekend. Families will have an opportunity to view the snow sculptures, watch the skijoring and the ice bike race, participate in skiing races and events, check out the vendors in the big tent and even go tubing at the Wirth Park tubing hill.
For more information, visit http://www.cityoflakesloppet.com.
Published Feb. 1, 2012