The City of Lakes Loppet will move back to the streets of Uptown after at least 6 years of ending the race along The Mall just west of Hennepin in Uptown. The event will take place Saturday, February 4th through Sunday, February 5th, 2012.
The 2012 races will exit Lake Calhoun on the south side of Lake Street and run up the south two to three lanes of Lake Street to Hennepin Avenue, where it will turn south and end just before 31st Street. Traffic will still be allowed along the Lake Street route, however cross traffic between Lake Calhoun and Hennepin will not be allowed.
Back in the early 2000s, the race ended at Hennepin near Lake Street but used 31st Street to go from Lake Calhoun to the heart of Uptown. According to organizers who met with me earlier this year, the reason for the move was in part due to the uncertainty of whether the top of the Mall and the surface lot that they use at the Walker Library for their event would be available. The Walker Library, as of earlier this year, was to start construction in early 2012, however that has since been pushed back until late 2012 at the earliest. That uncertainty along with a desire to return the event to a more vibrant location front and center in Uptown was a good reason to look at alternatives.
The Star Tribune highlighted the move today, which you can read more about if you’d like. According to the Star Tribune, the event is hoping to draw over 10,000 participants and 40,000+ visitors.
Calhoun Square will be used as the event’s warm, village of vendors and festivities. The event features ski races, snow sculptures, ice biking, skijor, a luminary ski ride, music, food, and more.