Skiers to take over Uptown this weekend

The annual City of Lakes Loppet cross-country ski festival will kick off Saturday in Uptown.

The festival consists of various cross-country ski races, seminars, and other winter activities, including a snow sculpture contest, ski carnival, and a beer and brats tent.

The main competitive races, the Hoigaard’s Classic and the 33-kilometer City of Lakes Freestyle Loppet, will take place on Sunday, along with the REI Tour, a non-competitive 10-kilometer race.

New this year is the Penn Ice-Cycle Loppet, an ice biking race, with preliminary heats beginning at noon on Saturday on the lagoon between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun. Other cross-country ski races on Saturday include a 5-kilometer race for kids age 19 and under, the Minne-Loppet for kids 12 and under, a 5-kilometer Luminary Loppet at night, and Chuck and Don’s Skijoring Loppet, which combines dog sledding and skiing.

Registration for Sunday’s races is closed, but you can still register for Saturday’s races on-site, with fees ranging from $5-$50.

Other events include Saturday’s ice sculpture contest beginning at 8 a.m., and the SuperCarnival, an event with food, obstacle courses, and ski games for kids, which will be going on all weekend.  

There is also a pasta feed on Saturday from 4 p.m.–6 p.m. at the Old Chicago on Hennepin Avenue, where Loppet participants can enjoy a bowl of spaghetti with meatballs and garlic bread for $4.

Some roads in the area will be temporarily closed for the festival. On Friday, Lake of the Isles Parkway between Dean Parkway and Calhoun Parkway will be closed from 7 a.m.–1 p.m., but you can still access the dog park by foot. Humboldt, Irving, James and Knox avenues between Lagoon Avenue and 28th Street will be closed from Saturday at 7 a.m. until Sunday at 9 p.m. Sunday, both Glenwood Avenue across from Wirth Beach and Theodore Wirth Parkway near the Quaking Bog will be closed from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

For more information about the festival, visit www.cityoflakesloppet.com or call 604-5330.