Snowkiting is an extreme sports still in it’s infancy. Fleet 8 is proud to host the largest snowkiting race each year in Minnesota.
2006 Mille Lacs Kite Crossing
As one of the last winter events in the region and with the great memories of the previous year’s epic event, the anticipation of the 2006 Mille Lacs Crossing was high. Those that arrived on Friday found a very diligent crew making last minute preparations to the venue. New for this year was the addition of a terrain park, with jumps and sliders to give some of the “new school” riders something to help put the groove on. The venue was well laid out by Fleet 8 to accommodate riders, vendors and spectators. With everything in place it was time to head to the Y club for some grub and then make our way to the Goose for evening “festivities”.
Saturday morning we woke to a brilliant day, though unfortunately the winds were quite light. The decision was made to postpone the race till Sunday. Saturday would be a freeride day. Within an hour the wind had come up enough to stoke the crew. Within a very short period of time dozens of kites filled the sky. Boardsports, Lakawa Kiteboarding/Slingshot, Midwest Mountaineering and Ozone were giving demos and instruction. The energy was growing with the wind. By mid-afternoon, the wind was enough for riders to start reaching to the sky and putting on a show. Once again post “session” festivities were put on by the Y Club and the Blue Goose of Garrison.
Sunday we all awoke to 2 inches of fresh powder and heavy fog. Under a light misting of freezing rain, Mike Fox of Fleet 8 went through his decisions for the race at the skippers meeting. The conditions were extremely difficult to judge, and the race committee decided they would make decisions regarding the course once out onto the lake. With visibility in question and the thought of dozens of kiters spread out across the lake, the Fleet 8 crew knew they had their hands full. The race started out on a fairly tight reach along the NW side of the lake. The sight was spectacular. Close to 50 kites all different shapes and colors disappearing into the mist all in a line. The Fleet 8 crew set the upwind mark and flagged the leader Joe Levins, down the Western side of the lake. Joe set the line down the lake with the race committee just in front of him. The reach was extremely tight. Joe’s path was difficult for the rest of the pack to follow. Most of the riders required numerous tacks, zig zagging into the wind, to make the upwind mark that he set 3/4 of the way down the west side of the lake.
As the winds lightened and the visibility dropped kiters spread out all over the lake. Some got a bit disoriented and made a quick stop as far away as Malmo before getting their bearings and heading back to Garrison. To add to the challenge of the day, the freezing rain was turning to ice on most of the riders equipment. Kites that are designed for efficiency were falling out of the sky when layers of ice up to 1/4 inch thick was accumulating on the leading edge of the kite. Lines stiffened, pulleys froze, all new challenges for most of the riders.
The Kite Crossing is this country’s premier endurance event. This year proved to be a slightly different test of endurance. The obvious stamina required to just complete the course is significant, though the conditions that were thrown at the riders (and race officials) during this event tested them as never before.
All in all competitors from over a dozen nationalities put their best to the test. Everyone who completed the event was a winner. Special recognition needs to go to Jeremy Jones, age 9, who completed the full course. A cheerful awards ceremony was hosted by the Y Club following the event.
A great season of events came to a close with the Kite Crossing. The community was stoked, invigorated and making plans for the 2006-2007 seasson.
Special thanks go to the Garrison Commercial club, Boardsports, Midwest Mountaineering, Lakawa Kiteboarding, Ozone, Slingshot, Wipika, and John Pederson Photography for their generous support of the event. The Fleet 8 crew, who produced the event, did an incredible job creating a weekend long event, and ensuring that everyone got off the lake safely. Big thanks to all.
Official Results for 2006 Mille Lacs Crossing
Postponed to Sunday, March 5th
Start time window: 11:48 – 11:54 AM
Wind speeds prior to start: 9-11 knots
Visibility: at start, 1.25 miles – during race, .5 miles
1. Joe Levins, White Bear, MN Ski 1:15:46
2. Jeff Cole, Orono, MN Ski 1:16:22
3. Jason Jones, Brainerd, MN Ski 1:25:04
4. Jeff Wieber, Zimmerman, MN Ski 1:25:12
5. Chris Bargsten, New Brighton, MN Ski 1:25:25
6. Peter Hill, Minneapolis, MN Ski 1:28:55
7. Eric Byers, Grand Forks, ND Board 1:29:58*
8. Dave Nelson, Minneapolis, MN Ski 1:30:45
9. Scott Lystrup, Altoona, WI Ski 1:34:55
10. Mike Fey, Orono, MN Ski 1:37:50
11. Christian Svensgaard, Hudson, WI Ski 1:37:59
12. Mike Bares, Maplewood, MN Ski 1:38:28
13. Jon Stroh, Lakeville, MN Ski 1:39:53
14. Rob Evans, Orono, MN Ski 1:41:05
15. Steve Blain, Star Prairie, WI Ski 1:44:12
16. Larry Reed, Dallas Center, IA Board 1:49:12*
17. Matt Kobelinski, Anoka, MN Board 1:49:33
18. Brian Smith, Bloomington, MN Ski 1:49:52
19. Eric Paulson, Aitkin, MN Board 1:50:04
20. Mike Turner, Excelsior, MN Ski 1:50:33
21. Nathan Borer, Mayer, MN Board 1:56:04
22. Scott Chapman, Bloomington, MN Ski 2:00:57
23. Tighe Belden, St. Paul, MN Ski 2:01:18
24. Alfredo Barrera, Crystal, MN 2:07:30
25. Paul Matousek, Sioux Lookout, ONT Ski 2:09:29
26. Anna Levins, White Bear, MN Women 2:10:44
27. Tatiana Pacheco, Bloomington, MN Women 2:23:39
28. Andreas Gruettner, Columbus, OH Board 2:32:44
29. Denis Foo Kune, St. Paul, MN Board 2:36:16
30. Roland Rioux, Winnipeg, MAB Board 2:36:22
31. Jeremy Jones, Brainerd, MN Junior 2:36:45
32. Todd Hanson, Cross Lake, MN Board 2:40:00
33. Andy Foster, Wayzata, MN Ski 2:47:17
34. Brad Woodworth, Dryden, ONT Ski 2:47:55
35. Brad Roman, Plymouth, MN Board 2:49:33
36. Bryce Johnson, Horace, ND Ski 2:50:38
37. Jerry Sandell, South Haven, MN Board 2:52:18
38. Matthew Turnquist, Vadnais Hts, MN 2:57:42
39. Pat Hinch, Bloomington, MN Ski 3:08:40
40. Jeff Gorton, Delano, MN Board 3:09:12
41. Alfie Ferreyra, Des Moines, IA Board 3:11:42
42. David Cleveland, Howard Lake, MN 3:15:10
43. Kristoffer Johnson, East Troy, WI 3:19:32
* designates short course.
Due to conditions, turning marks were monitored but not accurately recorded. Nearly 40 did the full course. Approximately 10% of the start and finish bibs were improperly recorded, but defined after additional research.