February 2, 2021

Important Race Change for this Weekend

City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival Ski Participants,

For the safety and well-being of both participants and volunteers, we decided today to cancel our Skate/Classic Ski Loppet and Skate/Classic Ski Puoli Loppet in-person events on both Saturday and Sunday, February 6 and 7.

While it may seem early to make a weather decision, the models are only trending worse and this decision is not solely made from weather forecasts alone. It is impossible to safely conduct an event with these projected temperatures while following COVID-19 protocols. In these conditions, we cannot keep volunteers and participants safe on the course. By cancelling now we hope that you will be able to take advantage of one of the following three ways to still participate:

  • The Hybrid event option allows you to still ski the full, marked course through Friday when the temperatures will be warmer. You will time yourself and report your result in the form that will be sent to you by MTEC in the next 24 hours.
  • We have extended the Virtual event option until February 14. If you choose the Virtual option, ski the distance on any course of your choosing, time yourself, and report your result in the form that will be sent to you by MTEC in the next 24 hours.
  • We are looking into the possibility of creating a new ski event during the afternoon of the Mayor’s XC Ski Challenge on Sunday, February 21, with approximately a 1:30pm - 2:00pm start. It would likely be in the 15K - 18K distance range. While registration transfers to other races are usually not allowed, we are making a COVID-19 exception this one time and would allow you to move your City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival registration to this event.

This decision was excruciatingly difficult for our Leadership Team to make and one that we do not take lightly. This was not an outcome we had imagined even as recently as 24 hours ago when we were on a high from a fantastic first weekend of Festival races and three beautiful nights of the Luminary Loppet.

In a normal year, we know that our resilient participants and volunteers can handle some pretty tough conditions. However, due to COVID-19 protocols this year preventing access to The Trailhead building, gathering around warm fires, and heating up in starting tents, in addition to socially distanced starts which spread out the time necessary for volunteers to be at the start area and on the course, we simply do not feel comfortable hosting the in-person events and putting our volunteers, staff, and participants in harm's way this weekend. Our community’s safety is of the utmost importance to us, and due to the combination of COVID-19 protocols mixed with the potential for dangerous cold we must err on the side of caution. We believe strongly in the trust you put in us this season to execute safe events in the face of COVID-19 and that means a great deal to us.

A few important things note for Hybrid/Virtual racers:

  • The Luminary Loppet is being rescheduled for Thursday night - and was always scheduled for Friday night. That means we need Hybrid skiers to be out of the Back 40 area of the snowmaking loop by 4:00pm on both Thursday and Friday evening. Please plan your Hybrid race accordingly.
  • Packets will be available for pickup at The Trailhead Wednesday from 2-5pm, Thursday from 11-3pm, and Friday from 2-5pm. Packets have participation medals, bibs, and hats (for Founders, 10-year participants, and those of you that are doing the Loppet Challenge).
  • You don’t need your bib to ski the course for the hybrid version. You will begin at the start flag on Wirth Lake.
  • Sign-up for a start time. On Wednesday (tomorrow), you are welcome to ski the course later in the day even though the start schedule only goes until 4:00, just please be respectful if others are starting near you and keep your distance.
  • A link will be sent within the next 24 hours for you to use to submit your virtual/hybrid results to our timer, MTEC.

We hope to be back to racing together under normal circumstances next year, but in the meantime we hope you are able to take advantage of the Hybrid or Virtual options. Watch for information soon on the Mayor’s XC Ski Challenge option, and we hope to see you safely enjoying the trails.

The Loppet Foundation