The Loppet Foundation‘s new Trailhead adventure center in Golden Valley’s Theodore Wirth Regional Park is a thing of beauty. Go here to rent cross-country skis, snowshoes, snowboards, and fat bikes to explore miles of groomed and natural trails snaking through the 740-acre park—the largest in Minneapolis’ park system. An all-access season pass is $80 for individuals (versus $20 for a day pass), or you can time your visit to one of Loppet’s free events.
As newbies to both Minnesota and skiing, we took our first private XC lesson with head instructor Greg Klave at the Trailhead. He was knowledgeable, funny, and exceedingly patient. In less than two sweaty hours, he taught us enough basics to start practicing on our own. (And practice we must—Ashlea fell on her butt twice that first day. Future Olympians we are not…) The Trailhead also hosts group lessons for beginners on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m., covering both classic and skate-style cross-country skiing.
Of course, all that exercise works up an appetite. Tucked into the belly of the HGA-designed Trailhead is Cajun Twist, Teóna Washington’s popular Nawlins-style catering business turned brick-and-mortar restaurant. On a blustery cold day, nothing warms your bones better than her bubbling-hot seafood gumbo or red beans and rice with smoked turkey. And for dessert: big, pillowy beignets.
Even sweeter, Cajun Twist works with the Minnesota Bonding program to hire former prisoners, and donates 10 percent of all its Wednesday sales to feeding the homeless. Good food, great mission. 🙌
1221 Theodore Wirth Parkway, Golden Valley, MN; 612-355-7757.