Minneapolis to host Cross Country Skiing World Cup amidst warmer conditions

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Organizers of the upcoming Minnesota World Cup are concerned that warmer temperatures will start melting the snowpack they need to host the large-scale event in Minneapolis.

The cross country skiing competition is the first to be held in the United States in nearly 20 years. The races, slated for Tuesday, March 17, will be held at Theodore Wirth Park.

The Loppet Foundation is hosting the World Cup. Executive director John Munger said the event is expected to bring tens of thousands of spectators to the park.

“The good news is the warm temperatures mean really great spectating,” Munger said in an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

The bad news? Trying to figure out how to maintain a cross country ski course as temperatures rise into the 40s and 50s. Forecasters are even calling for a 60-degree day on Sunday.

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Munger said they are unable to make any additional snow at this point, but believes there is enough existing snow through the park to cover the course if melting occurs.

“We made tons and tons of snow this winter and now it’s a matter of getting it in the right places,” he said.

To do that, volunteers use large snowcats to bulldoze the snow from trails that are no longer in use. The snow is then pushed into piles that are scattered around the park.

“We’ll leave it in those piles until just before the event and then you can push it into place,” Munger said.

Caitlin Gregg, who is competing in the World Cup competition, skied the course Tuesday morning and said the current conditions are great.

“The snow is holding up amazing and I think it’s going to be an awesome event even with the warm temperatures,” Gregg said.

While Gregg said she is used to competing in spring-like weather, she will be watching the forecast and snow conditions closely over the next two weeks.

“It’s definitely something we know all too well, being winter athletes,” she said.