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Stadium skating will return – but not as much of it

Runners and skaters had more access to the Metrodome than they will to U.S. Bank Stadium.

Yes, U.S. Bank Stadium is a billion-dollar building that's home to an undefeated football team. But you can still run circles around it.

Just like the Metrodome before it, the new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis will open its concourses to long distance runners and inline skaters this winter.

At its Friday meeting the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which runs the state-owned stadium, announced 16 dates when it will be open to the public from 5 to 8 p.m., FOX 9 reports.

An estimated 800,000 people skated in the Metrodome over the 20-plus years of the "Rollerdome" program.

But the Dome in its heyday was open to skaters and runners at least a few nights a week throughout the winter.

Why the more limited calendar in the new stadium?

Michele Kelm-Helgen, who chairs the stadium authority, tells the Star Tribune a number of dates are not available because of private events planned in the suites or hospitality areas.

And instead of runners and skaters each having some nights to themselves, they'll be sharing U.S. Bank Stadium when it is open – with runners upstairs and skaters on the first level, MPR News says.

The folks at InLineSkateMpls.com, who are not fans of the new stadium, toured it in July and wrote that the concourses are narrow, the pillars big, and a number of expansion joints that stick up from the floor about half an inch will be an obstacle to skaters.

Kelm-Helgen told MPR the covers on those joints are being replaced to make for a smoother skate. She also told the network the views in the new stadium's open bowl will be a contrast to the bricked-in concourse of the Metrodome.

Ah, yes, the Metrodome. Nostalgic for it yet?

Here's a Rollerdome video that might satisfy any such feeling – or maybe cure you of it.

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