Turns out that the local Loppet Foundation much is farther along the path of landing the 2018 masters World Cup in cross-country skiing than disclosed recently by Minneapolis park officials.
In fact, the foundation announced nearly a year ago that it had been awarded the 2018 event for skiers over 30.
"It's here unless we screw up," said John Munger, the foundation's executive director.
Of course, the event still is awaiting the upgrading of cross-country ski facilities at Wirth Park. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is expected to approve plans for a new building and revamped trails at its next meeting or two. The new facility would open sometime this winter.
One of the critical pieces for the cup competition is having a course available of at least 12.5 kilometers. Tentative plans call for a course that would wind along the north half of the park's western edge, with half or more of the extra distance on Sweeney and Twin lakes. This course officially would be temporary for the event, but be evaluated afterward for more permanent use.
The event is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 19-26, which would put it comfortably ahead of the Feb. 4, 2018 Super Bowl.
The eight-day event first held in 1980 has drawn as many as 1,219 competitors. A U.S. venue has hosted the event five times, with Telemark resort near Cable, Wis., the only Midwest site, in 1983. Typically skiers from about two dozen nations compete in six events, five individual and one relay, at distances ranging from five to 30 kilometers. Russia narrowly edged Finland in the 2016 event held in the latter nation.
Munger said that one attraction of Minneapolis to those who awarded the event to Minneapolis was the easy public transit between Wirth and downtown Minneapolis.
(The map above shows a version of the course for the masters World Cup .)