_MG_5247_WebWinter kiteboarding and summer kite surfing on Lake Mille Lacs

One of the best things about the action on the big lake in the heart of the state is there’s always plenty of excitement to go around. The winds that kick up on Lake Mille Lacs mean some of the best kiteboarding in the country.

Lake Mille Lacs’ reputation for the best kiteboarding has led to hosting the annual Mille Lacs Kite Crossing event the first weekend in March. Competitors from 14 states and Canada converge to harness Lake Mille Lacs’ winds and prove its reputation of best kiteboarding. The event is billed as the most challenging snowkite event in the U.S. and Canada and the longest-running snowkite event in the country.

If you’re not a participant in the 16–28 mile endurance race, you’ll quickly discover that kiteboarding is a great spectator sport, too, with plenty of fun, freestyle snowkiting or sprint events. It’s a visual feast to see the sky filled with colorful kites against a backdrop of white snow and blue sky—not to mention being a rush for kiters using kites as “sails” to catch a ride on snowboards or skis.

What to know when you go:
• March 4–6: Events take place from 10 am – 4 pm each day, all based out of Garrison.
• Come early and enjoy live music by Wailing Loons Friday night at Harbor Inn.
• Free to the public to view. Garrison shoreline is the best place to watch the kites take off and return. For closer viewing, come onto the ice or by snowmobile.
• Saturday’s main endurance race begins after the 9 a.m. racers’ meeting (wind permitting).
• Kite Crossing endurance race consists of two, 14-mile legs (out and back), with racing snowkite speeds up to 30 mph.
• Racing times are from 1–2 hours, depending on wind speed.
• On all 3 days, enjoy watching freestyle events (jumps and stunts), see demos, and food/beverages (available for purchase).

If you catch snowkiting fever, you’ll find yourself monitoring the isobars showing wind conditions on Lake Mille Lacs. Winter or summer, check out the winds, webcams, and lake conditions, rig up a colorful kite, and hit the big lake. With 132,000 acres of lake to explore while enjoying the action and the scenery, you’ll never run out of room to roam.

Summer kite surfing
And when summer comes and the lake is really wide open for business, kite surfing on the wide blue yonder brings all the challenges you’re looking for in your best adventure vacations. The sheer expanse of Lake Mille Lacs—14 miles across and 18 miles long—means you’ll find plenty of room for challenging action with just the right access bays to catch prime wind directions.

Rent equipment or take lessons
If you’ve never gone kiteboarding or kite surfing before and you’d like to take lessons or you want to rent gear, contact Lakes Area Kiting and Windsurfing Advisory in the Twin Cities or Minnesota Surf Co. in Nisswa.

Hard water or soft, get out to Lake Mille Lacs and #DoTheLake!