Loppet breaks ground on Wirth adventure center

Photo courtesy Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The Loppet Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board have started work on a long-awaited new home for the outdoor sports nonprofit.

The two organizations broke ground June 8 on The Trailhead, an outdoor adventure center at Theodore Wirth Regional Park that will be home to skiers, bikers, snowboarders and par 3 golfers year-round next year. Once finished, the $11.6-million project, located southwest of the Wirth Chalet, will feature a café, a bike and ski shop, locker rooms, rental event space and offices for the Loppet.

Along with the 14,000-square-foot Trailhead, the Loppet is creating a new cross-country ski and mountain bike skills learning area. The site will see additional parking, an outdoor patio and about four miles of new trails for mountain biking.

It’s the Loppet’s hope that the health club and trail improvements will be a better venue for the Masters World Cup, which it will host in 2018. The organization already got to show off some improvements to the area during the last City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.

The Loppet expects to open The Trailhead next January, the same month as the Masters World Cup. The event, the unofficial world championships for skiers over 30, is expected to bring in more than 1,000 skiers from nearly two-dozen countries.