Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting on the bench with Omar Ansari, founder of Surly Brewing. You can listen to our Sauna Talk Episode here. Today on the bench, I have the pleasure of visiting with another enterprising icon in the Twin Cities. Today we welcome John Munger, Executive Director, Loppet Foundation.
Both John and Omar know each other from way back. Surly was an early sponsor of the Loppet Foundation. That relationship is still strong today. Their beginnings: John with the Loppet and Omar with Surly, each started as a kernel seed of an idea. And each have each grown into something long lasting and remarkable.
Both have have swam upstream against established rules and structure, both political and policy, with fierce dedication to their clear visions and missions. As you’ll hear in this episode, John notes that “real change in the world is stuff that lasts.” In the case of Surly Brewing, we have Surlyville, a substantially cool and beautiful brewery destination complex. In the case of Loppet Foundation, we have the Trailhead, a substantially cool and beautiful recreation destination complex.
Each of these beautiful buildings, and the smiles created within, are “instagram worthy” Both buildings appearing in tourist brochures and social media feeds for people visiting the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Neither of these Twin City iconic structures and organizations would exist without Omar and John.
Founded in 2002, The Loppet Foundation It is a non profit, which is dedicated towards doing something good for the community.
The foundation undertakes a variety of things including trails & facilities management, large-scale public events, youth and adult recreational programming, and competitive training clubs. At the center of all of these ‘tentacles’ is their mission, which is to create a shared passion for year-round outdoor adventure in the Minneapolis area, with a focus on underserved youth and families.
The Loppet Foundation offers year-round programs for kids adults and everyone in between. From Loppet Run Club to our in-school Minne-Loppet program. The foundation works to get folks from all walks of life outside and active no matter the weather.
The Luminary has grown tremendously. As you will hear in the interview, the first luminary had about 150 people in 2006 and this past Luminary we had over 10,000 people in attendance.
The Trailhead project (includes building and surround trail improvements) is about a $10 million project in total. The building is completed and has quickly become a signature, statement piece for Minneapolis. 612 Sauna Society’s wood fired mobile sauna has been parked in the shadows o the trailhead all winter long, and now into Spring. The sauna residency has complemented the offerings of the Trailhead. Guests have been able to enjoy sauna after a ski, surrounding old growth trees and well groomed trails, in a “this is so awesome, it’s got to be against some kind of rule” kind of way.