Too much snow often has interfered with winter events. In an unexpected turn, the City of Lakes Loppet had the opposite issue -- not enough of it.

For its 10th year, the Minneapolis cross-country skiing festival had to move from Lake Harriet to Theodore Wirth Park, and the popular lantern-lit ski event became a stroll along mostly snow-free hills. Although above-freezing temperatures caused the ice sculptures and luminarias to drip, there was something to be said for being able to take a balmy stroll in February -- even if the lack of snow was disconcerting.

"People are starved for something to do," said Nikki Melville of Northfield, Minn., noting the presence of some manmade snow. "We should have saved some of it from last year."

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177