Another Great Mille Lacs Kite Crossing

Wow, it’s been nearly two weeks and the memories are still quite vivid.  Every year is so very different, every year this crazy group of people come together to share a frozen lake, chase each other out toward the horizon, share some good times and ride ride ride.  This year so many things came together so well and helped make this one extra special.

The snow coverage on Mille Lacs was the best it’s been in years.  There was a good base plus 5-6 inches of soft new snow.  The lake was white, the sky a dark blue, and the wind blew for three days.  So many smiles, so many tweaked bodies.

So many smiles, so many tweaked bodies.

The race on Saturday took 82 kiters up about a mile onto the lake for a start line to gain as much distance as possible as the SE was blowing directly into Garrison Bay.  The triangle coarse was loved by some and cursed by others.  But in the end I think all loved the challenge.  Top times were around 35 Minutes for the 13ish Mile course.  The top finisher was Chris Krug who had driven in for the event from the East Coast.  High aspect race foils took top positions in the ski categories, though there were quite a few impressive times and podium positions on everyday inflatables as well.

The race was great but in my mind the event started during the afternoon.  The great winds and perfect snow made for a great freestyle show.  Jeremy Jones (the new owner of Switchblade), Daniel Koenig (mr Blue Man), Denis Foo Kune, Bryce, Chris Bargsten, John Stroh, Chad Dobson, 13 yr old Patrick Levins and others were going big and putting on a show.   The vibe was great all afternoon as WildEarth Pizza fired up the Oven and Slingshot and Dynamik sponsored a great pizza feast for the riders.  Best Pizza Ever!

The vibe was great all afternoon

It was great to see some new riders taking to the kite for the first time.  Also great to see new juniors Patrick Levins, Owen Redding and Jeremy Woodward challenging all of us.  We were providing Slingshot Demos all afternoon as well and people were pretty stoked on the new lineup.

The evenings were great as well.  Stories were told, some new, some old (they seem to get more extreme with the passage of time), and laughter was the murmur.  Great to connect with everyone again.

While not their focus, it was great to see so many Slingshot Riders on the Podium, more than any other brand.  Way to go all!

The vibe of the day following the race day is always a bit more low key.  A smaller group of us, headed out away from the tracked venue and enjoyed untracked powder before heading back.

As always the feeling is one of gratitude

Thank you to all who put this on.  For most, this is a volunteer gig that takes a huge amount of time.  John Murray, Katie and Todd Newman, Mike Fox, Chad Dobson, Palani Palapala, Jenn Barnett, the Fleet 8 staff, and others.

Thanks Slingshot, Dynamik and WIldEarth Pizza for the great fresh pizzas!  Those were incredible!!!

Thanks to the sponsors who provided the financial support to make this happen.

Thanks to all of you who made the drive, from the East Coast, from Michigan, from Canada, from around the region, to make this event great.  Your stoke is the fuel that keeps this event going.

Full Results from Gopher State Events: here

There have been some great galleries and videos coming out.

John C’s Drone footage is superb:

John Zdecklik’s almost animated video is sweet:

 Jenn Barnett’s photos, as always, capture the day well

Melissa Jones/Switchblade’s Gallery rocks!

Love Chrissy Zobitz’a narrated race:

Daniel Koenig/Boost Kiteboarding’s

End of Session photos

Here are my shots from the day.  Mostly from the great boost session.  The stylish moves were amazing AND check out that sky!  Feel free to share and would love an EOS or a personal photo cred.

About the author


Tighe Belden has been riding the wind for over 30 years. He has been active in the windsport community for over 3 decades, as an instructor, event coordinator, creator of Lakawa and now End of Session, and stokes people on the latest gear as a Tech Ambassador for Slingshot Sports.

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