Junior Loppet

Creating Passion for Outdoor Activities

Ski Programs for North Minneapolis Elementary Schools


Bethune Elementary joined the Minne-Loppet program slate for 2012-13 with coaches Mary Bolla and Joanne Guillery and volunteer Judy Griesedieck.  Bethune’s physical education teacher Vince Varpness coordinated the effort from within the school. Students ski in the school’s athletic fields on trails groomed by the Foundation. Bethune is sponsored by the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation.

Cityview Community School

Cityview Community School was added to the Minne-Loppet program in 2014-2015 and is coached by Andrew Magill. In the 2015-2016 season, there were 77 4th and 5th grade students, tremendous growth from the previous year.

Many of those skiers went on to participate in the Minne-Loppet event at Lake Calhoun, as part of the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.

Coach Andrew Magill received a warm welcome from returning students, saying, “kids recognized me from last year, and other kids [not in the skiing gym classes] were curious and wanted to try skiing out.” A strong skiing community is growing at Cityview, with more experienced, older students often helping others put on boots and skis. Instead of playing indoors for months on end, Coach Magill said that the biggest highlight of the Minne-Loppet program at Cityview was, “teaching kids you can be outside in winter and have a blast.”

Cityview’s Minne-Loppet program is supported by the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Elizabeth Hall

One of the newest schools added to the Minne-Loppet roster is Elizabeth Hall Elementary in North Minneapolis. Funded by the generosity of the General Mills Foundation, the Loppet Foundation is able to teach students as young as second grade the joy of Nordic Skiing. For many Hall students they have not only never been Nordic skiing but they have never heard of it. Their zest for learning to ski and ski fast is infectious.

Hall’s Minne-Loppet programming is made possible due to the dedication of Physical Education teacher Bill Bryand and Principal Bennice Young. Hall is coached by Loppet staff member Megan Trumper, long-time Minne-Loppet volunteer Kathy Steinberger and retired Minneapolis School Administrator Elizabeth “Biz” Hinz.

Elizabeth Hall’s Minne-Loppet program supports skiers of all backgrounds and abilities. “SPED”, or Special Education students at Hall also given the opportunity to ski in the Minne-Loppet.

Harvest Network – Best Academy

Best Academy is part of the Harvest Network of Schools, and joined the Minne-Loppet program in 2016-17 with Loppet coach Andy Harris. Best Academy teacher Hannah Lindemer coordinated the effort from within the school. In the inaugural year, 38 third and fourth graders learned to ski on the school’s athletic fields. The highlight of their year was learning to ski and playing ski ball!


Loring began in 2009-2010. Loring is coached by Dan Luoma and Andrew Magill along with volunteer Mark Raderstorf and led by physical education teacher Nancy Duwenhoegger. Students ski in the school’s athletic fields and along Victory Memorial Drive on trails groomed by the Foundation.

Nellie Stone Johnson

The Nellie Stone Johnson Minne-Loppet program completed its tenth season in 2018-19! The program is led by teacher Julie Ellingson and generously supported by UCare.

Park Brook Elementary

Park Book Elementary, located in the Osseo Public School district is a new addition to the Minne-Loppet’s programming efforts.

Walking through the halls of Park Brook one thing is apparent. Principal Scott Taylor and staff are dedicated to integrating physical activity into students daily routines. Every morning students jump start their day before classes commence by getting their bodies moving. Running, Canoeing, Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing and Skiing are just some of the year-round activities students and families are encouraged to participate in through school, Loppet and community sponsored programming.

Park Brook students and families are unique. Many of them participate in both the Minne-Loppet and the Luminary Loppet as part of the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival at the end of each January.

Pillsbury Elementary

Pillsbury started as a Foundation Ski Program in 2007-2008 and has continued to date. Pillsbury’s Minne-Loppet program provides students with an robust foundation in the basics of Nordic Skiing. Including it’s history, technique and basic skills, nutrition and equipment care. Equipping passionate young skiers with the skills to succeed in the Loppet’s Middle School programming if they wish to continue their skiing careers at Northeast Middle school post 5th grade graduation at Pillsbury.

Pillsbury’s program is lead by Kelly Underkofler, also the Head Coach of Northeast Middle School. Long time youth advocate and Loppet Board Member Leroy Leftwich and Anne Risch, long-time Minne-Loppet coach. Within Pillsbury, parent liaison Kathy O’Neill and ESL teacher Mark Trumper help facilitate and champion programming efforts. Pillsbury students ski on trails groomed by the Foundation in Windom Park which is adjacent to the school. Annually, Pillsbury brings over 60 youth to the Minne-Loppet, a part of the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival at the end of each January. Pillsbury is sponsored by UCare.

Year-Round Skiing & Biking for Underserved Youth

Anwatin Junior Loppet Team

The Anwatin Junior Loppet Team was the Loppet Foundation’s first middle school team. What began as a winter program in now a full fledged year round training program. As early as October, the team begins the fall months by roller skiing, hill bounding, doing balance drills and other ski related activities.  Once the snow arrives, the team skis from their school doors straight onto the adjacent ski trails in Theodore Wirth Park.

The team practices three times a week throughout the winter in a season chock full of racing and supplements their schedule with ski camps and a weekend training trip to a cross-country ski lodge. Participants continue training in the spring and summer with an emphasis on roller skiing and mountain biking. Kids are encouraged to attend TRAIL KIDS summer workouts as well as Loppet Adventure Camps.

Franklin Middle School Junior Loppet Team

The Franklin Middle School Junior Loppet Team trains four days a week throughout the fall and winter – and compete year round in skiing and mountain biking.  The team practices in Theodore Wirth Park.  Enthusiastic youth have the opportunity to be paired with mentors – adults in the Loppet community who continue to ski and mountain bike with their mentee outside of practice.  Franklin Middle School skiers also participate in the Loppet Foundation’s TRAIL KIDS programs and events, as well as the Loppet events.

The Franklin Middle School Ski & Bike Team is generously supported by the Huelsmann Foundation.

Northeast Junior Loppet Team

The year-round Northeast Junior Loppet Team started in November 2013 thanks to a generous grant from UCare.