Meet Your Volunteers


The 2013 Loppet Kubb Tournament is set to be a great one, thanks to these fantastic volunteers! We had a great meeting last night and I couldn’t be more excited to work with such skilled people. To my left they are: (L to R) Sarah Wray, Jake Freeberg, Josh Dibley, Rachel Goplin, Megan Gamble, Cole Vyrens, Shaun Laden.  Not pictured but just as awesome are: Raulie Ruiz, Becca Stohlmann, Mike Jackelen, Jill Johnson, Danielle Claseman, and David Davies-Deis.

See you on the ice,

Eric Goplin

We got a dusting of snow last night

Every Kubb tournament probably hosts players that are concerned about what the condition of the pitches will be, but our tournament probably has more variable conditions than any other.

In an effort to help you all track what the surface of Lake Calhoun will look like, I found this Webcam:

KARE 11’s “Lake Calhoun” Sky Cam

This is camera moves and is sometimes pointed towards Calhoun’s neighbor, Lake of the Isles. They are connected and probably have a similar amount of snow on them.

I’m not sure how often this picture is updated, but it should change here on our site, unless your web browser caches the image.

Less than two weeks

The 2013 Loppet Kubb Tournament is less than two weeks away and we’re getting geared up here at Minnesota Kubb HQ! Medals, Bibs, and Trophies are all prepared and ready to go. This year will be our biggest tournament yet with 40 plus teams (and counting) registered coming from 3 states. For me personally it’s a pleasure to welcome so many teams from out of state to this urban tournament here in my home city of Minneapolis. While on Lake Calhoun recently I saw countless walkers, joggers, runners, skiers, and bikers were using the lake as if it was June. There is a great sense of pride felt by many Minnesotan’s who don’t allow our harsh winters to stop us from getting outside and doing the things we love. It’s certainly in that spirit that we host this tournament and hope it’s part of what drives so many teams to travel here to enjoy a day of celebrating kubb outside.

I’m also impressed and humbled by the number of participants from right here in the Twin Cities. Last year I was pleasantly surprised by the number of local teams whom I’d never met. It’s great to know so many people are playing kubb right here in the Twin Cities. I truly look forward to meeting new players and teams again this year.

As we approach our 4th Winter Tournament it’s fun to think back on how far we’ve come since 2010, but we’ll save that for February 3rd. For now we have our eyes squared firmly on the 2013 Loppet Kubb Tournament and hope you do too!

The First Attempt to Create an Ice King

Back in August I posed this question to Ask Planet Kubb:


A few weeks ago, realizing the tournament was fast approaching and there was plenty of cold to help me freeze ice in my backyard, I gave this idea an admittedly half-assed shot:

(Side Note: The wooden king you see in the following pictures is the king from my set, which is the longest running set amongst any of my friends in Minneapolis and played a major role in making the Tad Kubbler guys and most of the rest of us the players we are today. I need to purchase some wood glue so I can throw out the duct tape and patch it properly.)

photo (4)

So I went in my basement and found a box that fairly close to King sized: 13 x 11 x 4 inches. I cut in it half.

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I took the other half of the box and used a box cutter to make it sort of a liner so the size was closer to correct and the sides of the king wouldn’t have creases. I also tried to shorten the interior a bit.

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Then I found a plastic bag. The bag pictured here leaked and had to be replaced the next day, but you can see that it got filled with water and I could stick my hand in the water and kind of try to flatten out the folds, but I didn’t do that great of a job of that.

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Here we are two or three days later and as you can see, the bag froze in to the ice. This pink bag also wasn’t big enough, which is why the top isn’t square.

On the plus side, I proved that I could freeze a block of ice that was about the right proportions and  although it doesn’t look like much here, I think it would have looked pretty cool if I had carefully tried to get the rest of the bag off using warm water. Also, It may be easier to create a hollow ice king which is closer to regulation weight than you’d anticipate because as the block freezes you can see how much unfrozen water is inside and potentially drill a few holes to drain that excess water/weight.

This was just my first try and with a temperature drop in the forecast, I think I might give it another go.

That said, the main reason I wrote this post is to encourage anyone with the motivation to build a wood frame or something more elaborate. If a really nice looking Ice King shows up at the tournament, and the final teams are willing to use it, I’m certain Eric G will allow it. If you make on and no one else wants to play with it, you can definitely put it in play against my team.

Moving Right Along

As we move into December registration for the 2013 Loppet Kubb Tournament is in full swing. Many familiar faces return including all of the 2012 semifinalists, as well as veteran kubb teams like The Ringers, Lakerol Originals, and Kingpin. As a kubb enthusiast I love watching the sport of kubb grow. So while I love seeing the veteran teams slug it out in the later rounds, watching teams play in (and truly enjoy) their first tournament brings me a unique joy.

First Timers

I was truly blown away by how many people braved the elements to participate in the 2012 Loppet Kubb Tournament. Looking back almost a year later, I’m even more amazed at how many of those were first time participants. Why such a large percentage of first time participants? For starters, credit the Loppet. The City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation has undoubtedly captured the spirit of not just winter recreation, but the collective attitude Minnesotans know so well – the idea that we can’t let a bitter and prolonged freeze stop us from doing the things we love. The Loppet offers the chance to do just that. In this case, that thing we love? Kubb.


When early registration ended 3 days ago, the total number of teams signed up for the Loppet Tournament had already reached 25. The growth of our tournament reflects the broader growth seen around the Midwest and that of the U.S. Championships in Eau Claire. However, it doesn’t fail to continue to amaze me how far we’ve come. Three years ago we scraped, begged, and borrowed our way to an 8* team “tournament” in a Minneapolis backyard. Since then the Minnesota Kubb Winter tournament has doubled in size from 8 in 2010, to 16 in 2011, to 32 in 2012. The goal (while lofty) is to once more double in size this year to 64. Such a growth rate is not indefinitely sustainable, but it speaks to the potential of where kubb can go in Minnesota and the Midwest.

Here’s to a great 2013 Loppet Kubb Tournament,

Eric Goplin – Director

* Many of them less-than-willing participants convinced (bribed) to attend with the promise of hot toddies.

Invitation – Kubb Pro/Am

We’re pleased to invite all kubb players to Minnesota Kubb’s first Pro/Am Event, November 11th at Theodore Wirth Beach from 10am to 1pm. No need to RSVP, register, or be a Loppet Tournament participant – just show up anytime and play! Rumor has it there will be a few special guests as well!

View Larger Map

Come join us to play kubb as we gear up for the 2013 Loppet Kubb Tournament. We’re calling this a Pro/Am because the goal is to mix up players who are newer to kubb or looking to get better at kubb by pairing them up with someone who has been around the world of kubb for a few years or has experience in tournaments. Mixing up players is not required, if people prefer to play with their friends/teammates, no problem.

If you are a player looking to take your game to the next level, this is a unique chance to play alongside a more experienced player who can answer questions and help you think through strategy that will payoff come tournament time.

More information: Minnesota Kubb Pro/Am

Why not 3-Player Teams?

I truly believe the inevitable future of kubb in the United States is 6 player tournaments. It might take years, but if the story arc of U.S. kubb follows a similar path to it’s European counterpart, it stands to reason that 6 player tournaments will gain traction while 2 player tournaments will at some point seem entirely antiquated. If this is in fact true, and with the United States Championships already bending that arc by requiring 3 Player teams, several people have asked me why the 2013 Loppet Tournament continues to play as a 2 player event? The answer is a somewhat practical, but mostly tactical one.

Functionally, a 2 player tournament makes it easier for more teams to participate given the potential weather extremes in February. A person looking to play in the tournament need only convince one friend it’s not crazy to stand out in the freezing cold throwing wood instead of two. Also, teams signing up with three or more players are cushioned against any one player bailing out the day before the tournament after seeing a bad forecast. These are small factors though, more so the decision to continue with 2 player teams is about the future of kubb in Minnesota.

In carrying out our mission of supporting the growth of kubb in Minnesota, the immediate strategic imperative is to demonstrate a consistent yearly increase in team participation. This does several things to legitimize kubb as both a part of the Loppet Festival and a sport that’s not a fad – consequently making it easier to shop sponsorship, attract press, and market the sport. Entering only our second year of partnership with the Loppet, moving to 3 player teams and the subsequent drop in the number of teams hurts our long-term outlook. Why? Because while individuals participating in the tournament would likely increase even if we did switch to 3 player teams this year, the fact is success for this event is currently measured by team participation, regardless of the asterisk noting team size was increased. This strategy is not indefinite. The goal is that several years of solid growth entrenches kubb as on ongoing part of the Loppet, thus putting the tournament in a better position to absorb the move to 3 player teams and the potential drop in team registration. Year two of this Loppet experiment just isn’t the right time. Who knows, maybe kubb is so big in 2014 that we can switch to 3 player minimums and still increase the number of teams?

-Eric Goplin, Director

Director’s Cut

I’m starting the Director’s Cut tag as a way to distinguish posts that are better suited here on the blog than cluttering up the Loppet Tournament Page with explanations and information that the average Kubb Tournament participant doesn’t need (and frankly doesn’t want) to know. I’ll post about drawing for groups, bracketing and why we’ve made some of the decisions we’ve made about the Loppet Tournament.

See you on the pitch,

Eric Goplin