Mayo Clinic grant provides scholarships for junior skiers. Program teaches youth to overcome obstacles

April 23, 2018

With a grant from Mayo Clinic, the Minneapolis Loppet Foundation, an organization committed to providing year-round outdoor adventure for underserved youth and families in the Minneapolis area, provided scholarships to four Junior Loppet middle school youth to attend a weekend cross country ski trip in Ironwood, Michigan.

Aislyn, Amaya, Miguel and Jason were selected for the trip based on their commitment to Loppet programs and their skiing ability.

Accompanied by Coach Mollie, the crew arrived in Ironwood on November 25, and was unexpectedly greeted by warm temperatures and snow. They spent the first afternoon classic skiing on a network of trails just outside of Ironwood. However, it started to rain midway through the ski, but Jason, undeterred by the changing weather, forged ahead, and the others followed.

Group Photo
Miguel, Coach Mollie, Amaya, Aislyn and Jason on their first day of the trip.

Rain continued through the night and into Saturday morning, which caused all the nearby ski trails to close. Instead of becoming discouraged, they decided as a group to make the most of their circumstances. They spent the day pole hiking along a nearby river, visiting Lake Superior, and even going for a run.

Saturday Hiking
Saturday hiking in Ironwood.
Smiling Faces
Saturday hiking and smiling faces in spite of no snow!.

The ski trails were still closed on Sunday, so the group decided to head back to the Twin Cities to ski at Elm Creek Regional Park, which had opened manufactured snow trails. They arrived at Elm Creek in the early afternoon, and the group was thrilled to see sunny skies and a one kilometer loop of perfect snow. Miguel and Aislyn, both third year skiers, honed in on their “V2” skate skiing technique. Amaya and Jason worked on their hill climbing technique and embraced the challenge enthusiastically.

Shenanigans
Post-ski shenanigans.

With the changing weather, not much went as planned on the Ironwood trip, however, the Junior Loppet program, prepared Aislyn, Amaya, Miguel and Jason to adapt to the changing situation and to make the most of the time they had on skis.