- Two hundred fifty cross country skiers descended on Minocqua's Winter Park today for the 37th annual Lakeland Loppet.
The 37th annual Lakeland Loppet is not just a Northwoods tradition, but it's celebrated statewide as well.
"It's one of the oldest races in the state. The Berkie is a couple, maybe two or three years older, but that's about it," says Jim DiDomenico, Executive Director of Minocqua Winter Park.
Saturday's races aren't just for the hard core racers, the Loppet is for the whole family.
"It's a big family day, because we have races from two km, all the way up to the 25 km. There's a little something for everybody, we've got classic skiing races, we've got freestyle, or skating, races," says DiDomenico.
And no event draws a crowd like the final race.
"This race is called Beat the Bunny and it's a really fun race," says says 8-year-old Kristina Bodavis, from Hazelhurst.
"The Beat the Bunny is one of the highlights where the kids dress up in costume and they race the bunny," says DiDomenico.
"I think I did pretty good, but I don't know," says Bodavis.
"I was just tired out the whole time, but I kept going," says 8-year-old Xylina Graf, from Arbor Vitae.
Last week's blizzard was a welcome sight for outdoor sportsmen, and Winter Park got it all groomed just in time.
"It was borderline too much snow, you know. But if it was a day later it would have been trouble, but it worked out really good," says DiDomenico.
"These trails are so nice, because we've barely had any snow this year," says Maria Gesior, a member of the ski club from Wauwatosa West High School.
"I love the trails here. Minocqua's probably one of my favorite places in the state, or actually the Midwest that I've skied anyway. Today was awesome too with the nice powder," says Jason Geissler, another member of the ski club.
The Lakeland Loppet is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the park. All procedes benefit the Minocqua Winter Park Trail Fund.