Some of the annual Loppet Foundation events in Minneapolis set to be held this weekend have been canceled due to the expected extreme cold.
A piece of the polar vortex will blast south from Siberia and blitz Minnesota and the Upper Midwest through next week, with winds this weekend forecast to push subzero high temperatures deep into the negatives.
The in-person events that are canceled are the Skate/Classic Ski Loppet and the Skate/Classic Ski Puoli Loppet.
"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," an explanation from The Loppet Foundation said. "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."
The foundation said that in a normal year without COVID-19 it could've planned to keep people warm by huddling around fires, provide access to indoor areas and providing safety from the elements in starting tents. None of those options are possible due to social distancing guidelines.
The wind chill is forecast to dip to -20F to -30F in the Twin Cities on Sunday morning, while the high temps Saturday, Sunday and Monday might fail to break zero. Temps will remain in the single digits Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Hybrid events will go on as planned Friday, while virtual options have been extended through Feb. 14.
"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," the foundation said.