March 2nd, 2008
390 Mile Snowkiting Expedition to Raise Wind Energy Awareness Complete
Mortenson Construction, Northern Great Plains Inc. and YogaSlackers announce the completion of the 2008 To Cross the Moon (2XtM) snowkiting expedition across North Dakota. On February 11th, three extreme athletes set out to snowkite nearly 400 miles from Crosby, N.D. down to Keldron, S.D. and on Thursday they accomplished that goal!
In addition to the kitersâ€™ epic journey, a community outreach crew visited over 30 communities throughout the state speaking to over 7,000 people.Â â€œWe came with a hopeful message connecting the exciting wind-powered sport of snowkiting with North Dakotaâ€™s incredible wind energy potential and the role it can play in mitigating climate change,â€ said education crew member Jason Schaefer.
While the kiters stayed outside braving the elements, the education crew relied on the generosity of North Dakotans staying in homes, farms, even gymnasiums.Â â€œWow!Â I just moved here from Michigan.Â I still cannot believe the amazing hospitality offered to us all across North Dakota.Â We could not have done this without the incredible outpouring of kindness,â€ according the education crewmember, Chelsea Hummon.
Now that the expedition is complete, the next step is a documentary film.Â A professional videographer and three professional photographers captured action as the kiters and the education crew crossed the state.Â The crew envisions a documentary film to be released and a tour in conjunction with the film.Â The film will be submitted to festivals such as the prestigious Banff festival as well as to outdoor networks such as Discovery and National Geographic.
The media crew had plenty of adventures to capture.Â The kiters started their journey in northwest North Dakota camped out in 20 below zero temperatures.Â A week into the adventure, expedition leader Sam Salwei, dislocated his shoulder while getting onto his snowboard in the middle of Lake Sakakawea.Â A long and arduous rescue effort ensued.Â Sam was able to rejoin the expedition a week later.Â By then, the weather had warmed considerably causing much of the snow to disappear and the top layer of ice on their river route turning to slush forcing the athletes to switch their skis and snowboards for a mountain board (think skateboard with big wheels) and two buggies.Â The buggies look like trikes with big wheels.Â The athletes steered the buggies with their feet while holding the kite in their hands.Â The buggies did not have brakes or seatbelts.Â Nonetheless, the buggies did allow the athletes to complete the first trans-state crossing via kite in history.
"What do we do now?" asked Jason Magness, one of the kiters. "We've spent the last nineteen days trying to eat enough, and worrying about freezing to death or blowing away."
"Yeah," agreed expedition leader, Sam Salwei, "We spent the last three weeks worrying about not dying, and now as we go back into society, we have to worry about not living."
The expeditioners should have no trouble staying busy.Â They will be traveling all across the country doing adventure races and yoga slacklining.Â They are also participating in a race in Costa Rica this year.Â Not forgetting their roots, the team plans on organizing another adventure race in Grand Forks this year.
The 2XtM education crew will also be busy as offers to speak continue to roll in.Â The crew expects to continue doing educational presentations and invites interested groups to contact them.Â Their next big event is a concert at UND on March 14th featuring local musicians and footage from the expedition.Â
To continue raising awareness for the need for more wind energy, 2XtM has created a windsock program where recycled snowkites are cut up and turned into material for windsocks.Â The windsocks can be hung from homes, businesses, even cars as a way of showing support for wind energy.Â â€œWe envision 2XtM windsocks becoming synonymous with support for wind energy much like the Lance Armstrong bracelets are for surviving cancer,â€ noted 2XtM education crew member, Kathryn Joyce.Â Groups and individuals can order the free windsock kits by sending an email to 2XtMwindsock@gmail.com.
Perhaps the greatest thing the athletes have been able to accomplish is to show people around the country another side of North Dakota.Â A reporter from Outside Magazine, a competitor to National Geographic with a circulation over two million, came to North Dakota to cover the expedition for a week.Â National Geographic adventure is also exploring a story about the expedition.Â â€œWe want to instill pride in North Dakota while showing there are many wonderful people doing creative things in our state,â€ exclaimed Salwei.
In an effort to practice what they preach while lessening their contribution to global warming, all the pollution generated during the crewâ€™s travels is offset by renewable energy investments thanks to a partnership with 3 Degrees Energy, a leading company offering renewable energy credits.
Updated blog entries, photos and videos of the expedition can be found at 2XtM.com
A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS!