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Winter Fun: Kite Boarding On Lake Mille Lacs

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s Winter Fun Week, and the WCCO Morning Show team is getting outside all week to try out winter activities for you.

As the week has been progressing, the activities seem to be getting harder. The activity tasked to Natalie Nyhus for Wednesday combines flying a kite and skiing at the same time. And as she found out, it’s no walk in the park.

In fact, it takes a quite a little bit of finesse to ride the wind.

Mike Kratochwill of Lakawa Outdoor Sporting Goods brought her back to the basics, explaining that the steering mechanism is actually about as easy as any other — right to go right, left to go left.

“The sport caters to people who want to play outside. We have unlimited free wind. So once you have the gear, you can go out and play on days like today,” he said.

And once you get the hang of steering, you can ride right along like the experts we spoke with.

“My favorite part is the silence, the peace, the wind,” said Leah Hiniker, who has been kite boarding for a decade. “You don’t have the snowmobile sound in the background.”

Furthermore, it’s a sport you can practice year ’round. You can hit the water in the summer, or ice in the winter. And there is no want for great locations to harness the wind.

“It’s unique in Minnesota in that we have so many riding locations. Right now, people are on Minnetonka, White Bear Lake, Waconia, Medicine Lake. They are all over the place,” Kratochwill said.

It’s what you want to make it — you can slowly cruise at 5 to 10 mph, or gain speed and ride a little more aggressively. And after a bit of a learning curve, Nyhus said she started to get the hang of it.

Kratochwill said he works with children as young as 8 years old and adults in their 70s.

The 10th Annual Kite Crossing on Mille Lacs brings 50 to 100 kites out the weekend of Feb. 28.

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