This weekend is the LOPPET…this Scandinavian word, like ‘Uff Dah’, always brings a smile to my face. One of my all-time favorite winter traditions is the Luminary Loppet which is held on a frozen Lake of the Isles in the heart of Uptown Minneapolis. The Luminary Loppet is hard to describe, it’s a little like being in a dream. Participants either walk, ski or snowshoe around Lake of the Isles taking the beautiful features of the frozen festival: various sizes of ice luminaries located around the lake, the Ice Pyramid, Fire Dancers, Enchanted Forest, Ice-Cropolis, Ice-Henge, Ice-ster Island and plenty of cocoa and treats along the way. The evening ends with the REI Luminary Party, featuring live music and Surly beer!
I’m not from here.
I didn’t grow up eating hot dish in a Lutheran church basement or with any snow on a regular basis. For Southern Californians, we would hear the word about snow in the mountains…and DRIVE and hour to see 1″ of snow! As a kid I remember seeing the pick up trucks heading back down the mountain with their cargo beds filled with as much snow as they could scrape together to bring back down before it melted.
The Great North
The Luminary Loppet captures something so magical, beautiful and a little dangerous about winter in the Great North (8,000 people walking on a frozen lake at night…no one’s fallen in yet!). The weekend is chock full of too many events to list. To name a few, skijoring, fat tire bike races and plenty of cross country ski races and clinics to keep your glide going. Its one of the experiences that made me fall madly in love with Minnesota winters.
I spent about 20 years here dreading winter and wishing it was over.
2010, the year the Metrodome collapsed, was the year it all changed for me. The Luminary Loppet, snowshoeing, skiing, roof raking, ice dams taking over our house, and many winter firsts happened that winter that knocked something loose in my California heart. If you are presently a winter-dreader, don’t worry, you are with the majority of Minnesotans. But, maybe challenge yourself just a teeny bit to bundle up and get out there to see what all the fuss is about. You might like it.
Minnesota, I love your beautiful frozen face. Tonight we celebrate!