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Snow joke: Warm weather forces changes to Loppet Ski Festival

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Are you enjoying this unseasonably warm stretch of winter? Well not everyone is, particularly the organizers of the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.

For the second time in four years, warmer than expected temperatures have thrown the premier cross-country skiing and winter pursuits festival, which runs this Friday to Sunday, into disarray.

The sold-out Comcast Luminary Loppet at Lake of the Isles is the main casualty, with the nighttime, candlelit ski and snowshoe event now turned into a walking event on the same course, organizers announced today.

The Star Tribune reports that most of the other events – including the 26.2 mile marathon – will be moved to the loop at Theodore Wirth Park, which has snow-making equipment, as opposed to the traditional courses that stretch from Wirth Park to Lake Calhoun.

The Snow Sculpture Contest is the only event that will stay at its original location of the Loppet Village, at the Lake Calhoun Executive Center, according to the Southwest Journal.

Regular course a snow go

Around 10,000 people are expected to take part in this weekend's events, and any more changes to proceedings will be published on the Loppet website, which you can find here.

With no major snowfall forecast between now and the weekend, organizers have been forced to make contingency plans.

"The ski trails don't have enough snow on them to run a quality race, and after the next couple days there will be a lot less," operations director Mike Erickson told MPR.

It would take 3 to 4 inches, he said, to allow the race to happen along its planned route.

Because the Luminary Loppet is now a walking event, it is now open to more people than the 7,000 limit when it's a ski event. Places can be booked here.

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