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Minneapolis to host Ski World Cup, prepares stockpiling snow

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis is hosting this year’s Cross Country Ski World Cup race and organizers are working to stockpile snow in case March weather doesn’t provide its own.

The world’s top cross-country skiers will be competing on American snow for the first time since 2001, according to Minnesota Public Radio News. It’s the first time Minneapolis will host a World Cup race.

John Munger is executive director of the Loppet Foundation, which is hosting the race. He said that given the event is in mid-March, officials are preparing a lot of snow since the weather could get pretty warm.

“It’d be one thing if the event was like mid-February; you’d kind of know it wasn’t going to get warm,” Munger said.

Along with snow preparation, Loppet Foundation staff and volunteers have also been working on the trails at Theodore Wirth Park for the sprint races.

“These trails are challenging for you and I and for ordinary mortals,” said Munger. “But they’re not nearly challenging enough for the world-class (athletes).”

Ray Aponte, director of adventure programming for the Loppert Foundation, said he hopes that seeing elite skiers from around the world will show local children that anything is possible. His focus is getting kids of color outdoors during the winter.

“As you can see, there’s really not that many Latino folks or African-American folks or East African folks out here,” said Aponte. “So, I want to see more brown and black kids out here skiing. That’s my sole focus right now.”

The World Cup races will be held March 17, capping four days of festivities and winter activities.