Minnesota Now Set To Host Huge Ski Race– Without Snow
Minnesota is, of course, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. And most winters, it's also the land of 10,000 (and counting) snowflakes. But not this year. After a brown December, January gave us just one snowstorm, the results of which pretty much all melted when our strange February thaw saw temperatures peak in the 50s across the state.
Meanwhile, organizers of the COOP FIS Cross-Country World Cup-- a massive cross-country ski race-- are still planning on coming to Minnesota, from February 17th through the 19th at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
But given these warmer-than-usual temperatures and lack of snow, just HOW is Minnesota able to host a massive cross-country ski race? It's all thanks to technology, along with a dedicated set of volunteers to help manage the course.
Organizers of the Stiffel Loppet Cup, as this race is called, have been doing some unique things to make sure the race goes off this weekend, even though the surrounding landscape is pretty much snow-free.
KARE 11 says they deployed blankets normally used to insulate fresh concrete to try to keep key sections of the cross-country ski course from melting. And seeing as Mother Nature hasn't been much help, they're also trucking in man-made snow from ski areas in the Twin Cities to help the course stay snowy. That's in addition to the snow on the course they already made our warm winter hasn't melted.
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Over the past 20 years, the Loppet Foundation 'has raised millions of dollars to build an elaborate snowmaking system at Theodore Wirth Park,' MPR noted. Water is piped along the trails to different locations, where giant snow guns then make artificial snow-- as long as it's cold enough, that is.
All this work is because Minnesota hosting a World Cup cross-country ski race is a big deal. It's the first time a race of this magnitude has been held in the U.S. in 20 years. Thirty-thousand spectators are expected to take in the festivities, many likely cheering on Stillwater's own Olympic gold medalist skier, Jessie Diggins, who's expected to compete in the race, MPR noted.
For more information on the Loppet Cup and its events this weekend, click HERE. And keep scrolling to check out some memorable winters where Mother Nature threw way more snow and cold weather at us here in the North Star State!
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