While many Minnesotans are enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, it is putting a damper on some winter pastimes. Some significant changes are coming to a popular cross-country ski festival happening in Minneapolis this weekend.
The City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival announced that the event is still on, but organizers have had to make some adjustments "in order to make the Loppet the best it can be."
The biggest change is location. In previous years, the festival has been spread out at several spots across Minneapolis. But due to the recent thaw and lack of snow, most of the events will now take place at Theodore Wirth Park, where crews have been working with snow machines to build snow sculptures and a longer trail for cross-country skiers.
Here's an updated map of the course.
There are a few exceptions – The Loppet Team says the Comcast Luminary Loppet (a walking/skiing/snowshoeing event held at night that's illuminated with lights and ice) and the after-party will go as planned on Lake of the Isles.
Workers have been hard at work there too, plowing the lake and "doing the best they could to save every last snowflake for the event." Organizers will assess the amount of snow in the coming days to determine whether the events will allow skiing or just walking.
The team says the luminaries they created (seen in the video below) survived the warm spell.
And the speed-skating events are still happening on Lake Calhoun.
It all starts on Friday, Feb. 3 at 4 p.m. – all of the events are free for spectators, with the exception of the Comcast Luminary Loppet and the REI Luminary Party, which is $10 at the door.
Here's the full list of activities.