The 14th running of the City of Lakes Loppet, a ski and winter sports festival, begins Friday and runs through Sunday in Minneapolis with more sports than ever.
New this year are a series of speedskating races on a one-kilometer oval on Lake Calhoun and a clinic at Theodore Wirth Park on telemark ski technique by instructors from Three Rivers Park District and Norway.
The marquee loppet cross-country ski events were graced by the weather gods this week with 9 inches of new snow. That averted a decision on adopting a fallback course in Wirth Park. Lack of snow has forced the ski events onto repetitive loop courses twice in the past four years.
The weekend’s events are closed for online registration. But in-person registration is still available starting at 5 p.m. Friday for the popular Luminary Loppet at Lake of the Isles on Saturday evening and sports events that haven’t filled, according to event spokeswoman Emily Eastman.
She said organizers expect more than 10,000 participants, with about 8,000 of them attending the Luminary Loppet, which has an associated party. That compares with 850 competitors in the first loppet in 2003.
The speedskating races will range from one to 25 kilometers. Ski racing will range from 1.5-kilometer events for kids to 42-kilometer races winding from Wirth Park to the finish area on the northeast shore of Lake Calhoun. Among the returning competitions are skijoring, bike races on ice and snow, a ski orienteering competition, relays and a form of lawn bowling on packed snow. There’s also a team competition featuring 25-foot-long skis.
More information about the weekend’s schedule and which events are still accepting registration is available at loppet.org.