Wirth will host international skiing competition in 2020

The Loppet Foundation has hosted cross-country ski races at Wirth for nearly 16 years. File photo
The Loppet Foundation has hosted cross-country ski races at Wirth for nearly 16 years. File photo

The International Ski Federation has selected Minnesota as the site of a World Cup cross-country ski event in 2020.

Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins, a Minnesota native and the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport, played a key role in bringing the event to Minnesota. She made the announcement Sept. 28 via video at Theodore Wirth Regional Park’s new Trailhead facility where the international skiing competition will take place.

“Hosting the World Cup is our chance to show skiers from around the world how Minnesota embraces winter — through sport and through our hospitality,” Diggins said in a statement.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Minneapolis-based Loppet Foundation will host the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in March 2020. Since FIS began arranging the competition in 1981, it’s rarely been hosted in the United States. Scandinavian countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden have been regular host countries.

Organizers say the World Cup is on par with other world-class sporting events Minnesota has been chosen to host, such as February’s Super Bowl LII and July’s WNBA All-Star Game. The University of Minnesota will host the 2019 NCAA Final Four game next spring.

“A Minnesotan who brought home a gold medal has now helped us bring home the World Cup,” former Mayor RT Rybak said of Jessie Diggins at a Sept. 28 press event. “Now it’s time for Minnesota to, once again, show we host big events better than anyone.”
“A Minnesotan who brought home a gold medal has now helped us bring home the World Cup,” former Mayor RT Rybak said of Jessie Diggins at a Sept. 28 press event. “Now it’s time for Minnesota to, once again, show we host big events better than anyone.”

Mayor Jacob Frey credited the Loppet Foundation for helping put “Minneapolis cross-country skiing on the map.”

“Hosting the Cross-Country Ski World Cup is yet another chance to showcase how to do winter right and for our city to shine as we show the world that Minneapolis welcomes everyone with open arms,” he said.

The Loppet Foundation opened the Trailhead, a welcome center and outdoor recreation facility at Wirth, over the summer. The building is the regional park’s home base for cross-country skiers, mountain bikers and events. Cajun Twist, a New Orleans-inspired eatery, is set to open this fall in the building.

Calum Clark, chief of systems and operations for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, said Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall’s gold medal victory in the women’s team sprint competition in Pyeongchang were a “catalyst” to bring the competition to Minneapolis.

“Everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard is delighted that we and the Loppet Foundation are able to formally confirm that the Cross-Country World Cup will be coming back to the USA in March 2020 and to one of the great hotbeds of cross-country skiing in Minneapolis,” Clark said.

More information on the event, including how to get tickets and watch the competition, will be available at mnworldcup.com.

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