Top 5 Takeaways from the Loppet World Cup


By: Stacie Sullivan

Photos courtesy of U.S. Ski Team

On February 17 and 18, history was made for the U.S. Nordic team at the Loppet World Cup in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Theodore Wirth Park. This event marked the first Nordic World Cup event in the United States since 2001, bringing over 40,000 passionate fans to spectate the event and providing POW with a critical opportunity to bring the climate conversation to the global stage.

In an awe-inspiring display, POW had the privilege of witnessing a momentous victory as POW Alliance member Gus Schumacher secured the top spot in the 10k freestyle. Not only did he become the first American male to claim a distance event victory since 1983, but he also etched his name as the youngest American ever to achieve this feat! Additionally, POW Alliance and Board member Jessie Diggins graced the podium in the 10k freestyle, positioning herself favorably for her second consecutive World Cup title at the season’s end. Following the event, POW also hosted a climate panel with Gus, Jessie and environmentalist and author Bill McKibben.

POW Alliance & Board member Jessie Diggins and her team mates lifting Gus Schumacher up after his win.

Here are our top takeaways from the event:

1. Making this event happen wasn’t easy and underscored how climate change is impacting snowsports and communities in real time.

This winter Minneapolis has experienced record warmth with little snow, with twenty-three straight days above freezing. In the weeks leading up to the race, we watched other events get canceled, including the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships due to lack of ice. Many were questioning if the World Cup race would even happen with Wirth Park relying on man-made snow most of the season. The park had to push back the start of its cross-country season from late November to late December. Despite the less-than-favorable outlook, thanks to a huge effort to keep the 10k course in good shape, followed by six inches of snow 48 hours before the event, racers saw near-perfect conditions for the historic race.

Despite incredible course conditions, the sidelines show a more accurate representation of what winter in Minnesota has looked like this year.

2. The Loppet World Cup put POW and Climate on the world stage

The Loppet World Cup placed POW and climate on the global stage. With Gus making history adorned with a POW logo amidst a 40,000 audience and countless viewers worldwide, POW leveraged this opportunity to engage with and influence this captivated audience by hosting a climate panel with author and environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Gus Schumacher showing off the POW logo.

3. The event was powered by 100% clean energy

We love seeing the snowsports industry making strides toward a sustainable future, and Loppet was powered by renewable energy thanks to their sponsor Xcel Energy. Solar and wind energy fueled the event, electric vehicles were utilized, and attendees were encouraged to adopt eco-friendly transportation options, including public transportation, carpooling, walking or biking to access the event.

4. The climate panel was an opportunity to educate and inspire climate action

The climate panel became a pivotal platform for POW to educate and inspire climate action. Against the backdrop of Minneapolis’ mild winter, the discussion underscored the tangible impact of climate change on the region and the snowsports industry. Climate is the opportunity of our lifetimes and being able to talk about climate at an event with such a captive audience was a huge opportunity for POW to educate the 40,000 spectators on how climate change is impacting the places and experiences we love, the work POW does and how they can get involved to take action. It was awesome to see all those watching fired up on taking action both policy-wise and on a personal level.

“The climate panel was huge for me because I knew I’d gained some volume in my voice already that day, and I was so excited to put it towards climate advocacy,” said POW Alliance member Gus Schumacher.” I hope the audience took away the feeling that even in big moments, climate is the most important thing in our lives.”

Jessie Diggins, Bill McKibben, Graham Zimmerman and Gus Schumacher speaking at the climate panel

5. The event offered a feeling of hope

Despite the odds being stacked against the race, organizers pulled it off thanks to hard work and a little help from Mother Nature. The event’s success serves as a beacon of hope in the broader climate fight.

Additionally, among the 40,000 spectators, a large portion were kids. This event provided an opportunity to inspire the next generation of Nordic skiers and climate advocates. It reinforced the urgency of protecting these experiences for generations to come.

Jessie Diggins meeting the next generation of skiers and climate activists after the race.

“For me, having the opportunity to compete in front of so many kids was extra special, knowing that they would leave feeling fired up and inspired to go work hard and challenge themselves!” said POW Alliance and Board member Jessie Diggins. “Being part of the climate panel was equally important to me because it’s critical that we all get involved and do what we can so that there’s a healthy planet for these kids to inherit.”

Stacie Sullivan

Author: Stacie Sullivan

Stacie always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the ski industry from a young age, having first clicked into skis at the age of 4 and writing her 8th grade career project on being a professional skier. While her dreams of becoming a professional athlete didn’t quite pan out the way she planned at […]