Weekend Viewing Guide for February 18–19: Wirth SuperTour


On February 17–18, 2024, Wirth Park in Minneapolis will host a skate sprint and distance race as part of the 2023/2024 World Cup season. On February 18–19, 2023, Wirth hosts a skate sprint and distance race as part of the 2022/2023 SuperTour season. The Loppet Foundation hardly needs the practice in hosting events, but it’s hard to avoid seeing this as a dry run for next year’s World Cup weekend after Wednesday’s exciting news.

Here’s the information on this year’s races, also and long known locally as the Mayor’s XC Ski Challenge:

dateracetime (Central)results
Saturday, Feb. 18W skate sprint qual9
M skate sprint qual10
open sprint heats12:10
open sprint finals1:25
junior sprint heats1:45–4:15
Sunday, Feb. 19M SuperTour 20km classic9
W SuperTour 20km classic10:30
U18/U20 10km, U16 5kmsee schedulehere

Is there streaming?

Yes! CXC does a great job with this, and the races are right in their backyard. Streaming can be found here.

Who’s racing?

Lots of college skiers. Some pro skiers. Fewer junior skiers in Saturday’s sprint than in Sunday’s distance races.

As for college skiers, the weekend’s races are the conference championships for CCSA, or Central Collegiate Ski Association. Athletes from all of Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Saint Scholastica, Wisconsin–Green Bay, and Saint Cloud are on the start list.

As for pro skiers, it looks like at least one athlete from each of the nation’s top six pro teams will be in attendance. Team Birkie will be out in force, of course. APU will have one athlete racing; BSF has a full squad there (seven athletes); Craftsbury has five athletes entered; SMS and Sun Valley have two athletes each. There is also a healthy contingent coming down from some Canadian club and pro teams.

As for junior skiers, Saturday’s race is not a JNQ race for Midwest-division athletes, due to a decision by the Midwest Junior Committee to build in more time for recovery following yesterday’s same-day pursuit at the Minnesota State Meet.

“It was felt by the MW Junior Committee that racing a JNQ on Saturday was not going to be athletically appropriate,” CXC noted. “The MW Junior Committee feels that 2 days of recovery following a same-day Pursuit race before a JNQ is appropriate to allow athletes to race well and not run the risk of impacting National Championship races they may qualify for.” There will therefore be more juniors racing on Sunday than on Saturday.

Sunday’s race is the final JNQ event for both Midwest and Great Lakes skiers. Junior Nationals start in Fairbanks in mid-March.

— Gavin Kentch

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