Make Friends with Winter

If you want to get outside and celebrate a bit of winter, take part in supporting next weekend’s Loppet Urban Cross Country Ski Festival. A Loppet, in case you didn’t know, is a Scandinavian term for a long-distance endurance race or cross-country ski event.

It takes a well-trained athlete to compete in such a race. If you are a fan of the sport, there’s nothing like being on hand to watch the competitors race. The Hoigaard’s Classic Race and the Puoli Loppet Classic will both begin on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. But there’s more to see and do than just watch the marquee races.

Twin Cities design firm Duffy & Partners once again designed this year’s poster. This year’s image drew inspiration from traditional and illustrated maps, and not only encompasses all of the main festival activities, it also highlights Minneapolis landmarks and points of interest. The cursive flowing logo represents tracks made in the snow by cross-country skiers.

Here are a few events taking place during festival weekend. Proceeds from the festival go to The Loppet Foundation, which provides opportunities for year-round activities across the Minneapolis area, especially for inner city youth:

SW Journal Snow Sculpture Contest (Feb. 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., judging at 4 p.m.): In an area near the Lake Calhoun Center, on the northwest corner of the lake, teams of four will be given five hours to create a work of art from a block of snow measuring 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet. No power tools. It’s not too late to enter; first come, first served. Or just stop by and watch sculptors in action. The winning team receives $500, second-place finishers will receive $200, while the third-place team receives $100.

Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet (Feb. 2, 2 p.m.): There’s more than one way to get around on snow. Skis to be sure, but how about a fat-tired mountain bike to do the trick? Watch as competitors navigate the snowy course on two wheels.

The Big Tent (Jan. 31 – Feb. 2): Sample some local brew at the Surly Beer Garden, or enjoy a bite of food and stroll through the Vendor Village.

Comcast Luminary Loppet (Feb. 1, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.) More than 6,000 specatators are predicted to ski, walk or snowshoe among the ice luminaries on Lake of the Isles. Marvel at an ice pyramid, Ice Henge, the Enchanted Forest, fire dancers and more. For relief there will be many bonfires, along with hot cocoa and cookie stations. To participate, registration is required. There will also be a Post-Luminary Loppet Part for paid participants over age 21. Visit The Loppet’s website for more information.

The list only highlights a few of the weekend activities. Download the entire spectator guide for a list of all events. 

2014 City of Lakes Loppet Cross Country Ski Festival
January 31-February 2, 2014