As you can imagine, hockey is a big thing in the Twin Cities but I never imagined how many sports are played on the lakes here. To be honest, all this athletic activity on frozen water freaks me out. Before moving here, I never lived in a place where the lakes froze over completely so to see people openly walking on them, let alone competing in sports, makes my mother instincts kick into overdrive. My radar to jump into action if someone should fall through the ice makes watching these sports a little more thrilling than it needs to be.
Here’s a few of my favorites:
1) Nordic skiing – The Loppet is billed as the “urban Nordic ski festival” and is held in Minneapolis each February. When I tried cross country skiing in the California Sierra foothills, it felt more like slogging through wet snow than a sport. Comparing the speed of the racers in the Loppet across the flat icy surface of Lake of the Isles to your average cross country skier is like seeing a Ferrari streak down the road rather than the ambling pace of a soccer mom’s minivan.
2) Snow kiting – The first time I saw someone do this, I had my husband pull to the side of the road so I could snap the photo above. “How do they know if the lake is frozen all the way through?” I asked tensely. He looked at me like I was a little brain damaged. Like kite sailing, these snow kiters can get some impressive air. The difference is that when they fall, it is hard. Really hard.
3) Winter golf – Some people just can’t wait until spring. I still need to wrap my head around this one because c’mon people, it’s Icy.Lake.Golf. Three words I would never associate together but apparently are part of several events in the Twin Cities including The Chilly Open on Lake Minnetonka.
A little snow and ice doesn’t stop people in this area from getting out and enjoying life, that’s for sure.