Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA – In early 2018, the Loppet Foundation of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA will host the Masters World Cup on the trails of Theodore Wirth Park Winter Recreation Area. The World Masters Cross-Country Ski Association (WMA) awarded the bid at their annual meeting in Klosters, Switzerland on September 25.
John Downing, National Director of the United States branch of the WMA, officially presented the Minneapolis location to the WMA board of directors during the 2014 Annual Meeting in Vuokatti, Finland. “I was really excited to present Minneapolis,” Downing related via phone afterwards. “This is a unique opportunity for WMA. Athletes can fly into the Minneapolis airport, take light rail downtown, enjoy great skiing by day, and fine dining and culture in the evening. I think the athletes and their families will love this experience!”
The Loppet Foundation’s Minneapolis host committee presented the bid via live video conference from Loppet World Headquarters to the WMA delegates gathered in Switzerland. Loppet Foundation Executive Director John Munger, Loppet Foundation Operations and Race Director Mike Erickson; and Loppet Foundation Volunteer Special Event Lead Coordinator Michael Bono gathered at 5 a.m. to do the presentation. In Klosters, there were roughly 30 people in attendance at the WMA Annual Meeting, with delegates representing 24 ski nations. Following the bid presentation the delegates voted unanimously to name Minneapolis the host for Masters World Cup 2018.
The host committee was really excited. “We are thrilled to have the world coming to Minneapolis.” said Munger. “We are looking forward to hosting athletes from all over the world – and we think they will be shocked at what Minneapolis has to offer. How many places can you ski on world class ski trails by day and go to a play at the Guthrie or shopping in downtown or at the MOA at night?”
Munger added that “[he is] personally excited to have the opportunity to compete [himself]. [He] think[s] the Midwest and the United States will make a good showing!”
The 2018 Masters World Cup is expected to bring over one-thousand cross-country ski competitors from around the world to the Twin Cities. In addition to the thousand racers, hundreds of family members, coaches and international media will be in attendance. This once a year event is the unofficial world championships for male and female competitors over 30 years of age.
The competitions will take place in Theodore Wirth Park, about 5-7 km from the city center. Theodore Wirth Park features 759 acres (3.07 km2) of diverse ecosystems in a stunning urban forest. The serenity of the park and woods sets it apart from the bustling metropolitan area; visitors often forget that they are in the heart of a city. The Theodore Wirth Park trails stretch to the Chain of Lakes – with 29 kilometers of trail in the park and 8 more kilometers on the Chain of Lakes – making the trails among the longest urban ski trail networks in North America.
The Masters World Cup will be held in late January/early February 2018 over an eight day span. Organizers have not yet finalized the dates, as they are somewhat dependent on the date the National Football League selects for the 2018 Minnesota Super Bowl.
Minneapolis will be the sixth US city to host the Masters World Cup event. Other US venues have included: 1983, Telemark, WI; 1986, Lake Placid, NY; 1992, Anchorage, AK; 1998, Lake Placid, NY; and 2008 McCall, ID.
About the Loppet Foundation: Established in 2002 with an 800-person ski race, the Loppet Foundation now welcomes 40,000 participants annually to its events and programs. The Loppet Foundation engages people of all ages and backgrounds in year-round outdoor activities and adventures. The organization focuses its efforts around Events, Adventures, Racing, and Stewardship. Over the years the Foundation has taught more than 5,000 kids, including 4,000 from North Minneapolis, to ski, bike, and run trails, inspiring a love of the outdoors. For more information, visit loppet.org.
About the World Masters Cross-Country Ski Association: WMA was formed in February 1982 as a worldwide association for masters cross-country skiers. The Association provides a common international platform for top competitive skiers as well as for those who simply enjoy racing, regardless of the ranking. For more information, visit world-masters-xc-skiing.com.