Minneapolis City of Lakes Loppet expects to draw 10,000

  • Article by: EMMA NELSON
  • Updated: February 1, 2014 - 12:03 PM

The City of Lakes Loppet Festival will draw thousands to ski, dog sled, snowshoe, bike, skijor and generally enjoy the outdoors.

hide

Erik Wardenaar worked on “Icehenge” for the annual City of Lakes Loppet Festival at Lake of the Isles on Friday, the day before the Luminary Loppet on the lake.

Photo: Photos by ELIZABETH FLORES • eflores@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The City of Lakes Loppet Festival is a family affair for Ken and Marcia Nelson.

They have skied the event all the years it’s been in existence, and their son and daughter-in-law also will compete. Their 5-year-old grandson even gets to race this year.

The Nelsons, of Duluth, said the festival forms a special community. Every year, they run into people they know along the trail.

“They’re all ages, and yet they accept you because you’re a skier,” Marcia Nelson said. “They cheer you on.”

More than 10,000 racers of all ages and sizes will celebrate the bright side of winter this weekend during the festival that boasts 21 events — the most ever — from ski marathon and winter bicycling races to a snow sculpture contest and the popular Luminary Loppet, a candlelit trek around Lake of the Isles. Snowshoeing and dog sledding are on the schedule for the first time.

John Munger, executive director of the nonprofit Loppet Foundation, which organizes the event, said the festival is about getting outside and celebrating Minnesota’s climate. It’s expected to draw 20,000 spectators.

“You can focus it on winter, but it’s really this year-round mind-set that the outdoors always have something to offer,” he said. “You just have to get yourself out the door.”

Despite some of the coldest days in decades, this year’s festival preparations haven’t slowed. If anything, the weather has helped things along, said Kristen Spargo, director of advancement at the Loppet Foundation. Frigid air has kept ice sculptures frozen for the Luminary Loppet, and the recent snowfall provided a fresh base for racing.

Marcia Nelson is grateful for the natural snow. She said she remembers skiing a 2 ½-mile loop four times in a row one year because there wasn’t enough snow for a full course.

As for the cold, she and Ken aren’t worried.

“The coldness really doesn’t bother you too much once you learn how to dress for it,” Ken Nelson said.

The Luminary Loppet, set for Saturday night, is expected to draw 7,000 people — its largest crowd ever. Participants will ski, snowshoe or walk around the frozen lake amid more than 1,000 illuminated ice sculptures. Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will ski the event, marking his return to skis after a serious heart attack in early January.

Like the Nelsons, Jack Cheesebro, 62, also has skied at the Loppet Festival since its first year. This year he’s racing in two ski marathons and the fat tire cycling race. Though he won’t participate in the Luminary Loppet, he can testify that it is “a spectacle.”

“Even on some of the coldest nights, it’s magical,” he said.

Many don’t realize what it takes to create that fire-and-ice magic, Munger said.

There will be no motorized vehicles on the lake during the Luminary Loppet, and few lights beyond the pillars.

“For that three-hour period, the lake is this quiet place with candles lighting your way,” Munger said.

  • related content

  • Some pre-Loppet tips on handling a heart attack like R.T. Rybak's

    Friday January 31, 2014

    Athletes know their own bodies but risk assessment, stress test can help

  • Cross-country skiers tested the groomed paths on Lake Calhoun before the annual City of Lakes Loppet Festival at Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun, Friday, January 31, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN. The cross-country skiing event begins Saturday, February 1, 2014. (ELIZABETH FLORES/STAR TRIBUNE) ELIZABETH FLORES • eflores@startribune.com

  • Jeff Evans sorted through ice balls Friday to prepare them for luminaries for the City of Lakes Loppet at Lake of the Isles.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - LP: A. Ranaudo 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: C. Morton 4
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: U. Jimenez 8
Washington - WP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 9
NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
Chicago WSox - WP: E. Surkamp 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 4 FINAL
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 2
Detroit - LP: J. Nathan 3 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: G. Perkins 4
Milwaukee - WP: B. Kintzler 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: K. Siegrist 2
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 10
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter 1
Seattle - WP: C. Smith 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 2
Texas - WP: N. Tepesch 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir 3
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 4 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 5
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close