The Luminary Loppet, an evening cross country skiing event hosted by the Loppet Foundation, is a real Minnesota gem. I attended it as a pedestrian, with a hot thermos of chicken broth of course. I was aware that I had stumbled into a unique winter spectator sport that few people across this country have access to.
As the February light was starting to fade, I parked my car by the Lake of the Isles in Uptown, Minneapolis. My thick boots with sturdy treads led me onto the icey, snow dusted lake, where volunteers were putting the finishing touches on the event. A cross country skiing track was carved into one side of the lantern lit path. I chose the pedestrian lane on the other side.
As the light became more dusky, bonfires carved out small alcoves of assembly along the way. I came up to an islet that was made brilliant by several glowing ice sculptures and fairy lights in the trees. Later on, a parade of hollow ice trunks were glowing internally from the flames of many candles.
Being outside in the depth of winter is a under appreciated thing. If it’s cold enough, the stars are forcefully bright. There is a special silence that hushes the soul.
Adorning this contestable season with a spectacular luminary display must have been the idea of a romantic, winter loving person. I am grateful to them, the volunteers and all of the competitors who made the Luminary Loppet available for the likes of me. Encore!