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Snowkiting Group Basks In This Minnesota Winter

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Many of us would say this winter has been one of the worst ever, but one group in Minnesota disagrees.

The snow, the ice and the windy conditions have been perfect for snowkiters. And this past weekend more than 100 got to come together on Lake Mille Lacs for the 10th annual Kite Crossing.

While most of us have been complaining for months now, people like Mike Bares want you to “get over it!” For snowkiters, it’s been the best year in at least a decade.

At 80 years old, Dorian Olson is having the time of his life. He and 100 others from across the country and Canada came to Garrison to race their snow kites 26 miles.

“You have to have something in the winter to keep you busy,” Olson said.

People of all ages use giant kites attached to skis and snowboards to zip across the lake. It’s a sport that counts on snow and ice.

Lakawa snow kite shop owner Mike Kratochwill has been waiting for a winter like this. Kratochwill’s business has seen a 50 percent increase in just the first two months this season with no end yet in sight.

“This season has just been fantastic for business and for those of us who do what they do with the kites,” Kratochwill said.

Just days ago, it was 10 degrees below zero on Lake Mille Lacs. The average temperature in March is 34 degrees. The ice and snow pack there is so thick, they could be snowkiting well into May.

Once the race started no one here really cared who crossed the finish line first, snowkiters all know this winter has already been a winner.

Minnesota leads the country in the number of snowkiters, with about 600. It’s our 10,000-plus lakes and long winter that make the area so appealing.

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