Loppet Winter Festival endures with COVID-19 adaptations

The City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival is underway at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, and while the event will be full of races, there are some changes this year because of the pandemic.

One of the most noticeable alterations is the duration. What is typically a three-day event will instead span two weekends.

Many of the races will also offer both a hybrid and fully virtual option that allows people to watch from their homes. No spectators are allowed in the start or finish areas this year, aside from a few exceptions.

Organizers say ensuring people’s safety during the pandemic was at the forefront.

"It was a challenge to come up with a new way to do it, but it was the best kind of challenge," said Claire Wilson, the Loppet Foundation’s executive director. "More than ever people are discovering the outdoors. They want to be in snow. This is Minnesota. We celebrate winter. So today everybody has been just so grateful that we were able to put the event on."

The Loppet Winter Festival continues on Sunday and will start up again next Saturday, Feb. 6.