Snowkiting Crusade — 2XtM 2008

To promote renewable wind energy in North Dakota, the 2XtM Expedition kicked off Monday of this week, three athletes snowkiting south from the Canadian border on a three-week-long journey in an attempt to traverse the entire state of North Dakota via the non-motorized sport of snowkiting.

photo: Sean O’Connor/

Snowkiting is a growing sport where skiers or snowboarders are pulled by giant paraglider-like canopies. North Dakota—with its flat, treeless landscapes and legendarily windy and snowy winters—is a perfect venue for the sport.

2XtM’s goal is to raise awareness for the potential of wind power in North Dakota. The athletes— Sam Salwei and Jason Magness of Grand Forks, and Californian Paul Cassedy—hope to exemplify the vast amount of wind that North Dakota has in a tangible way by literally being blown 390 miles across the state.

Further, they will travel self-sufficiently, hauling equipment in backpacks and sleeping out in temperatures that may drop below zero degrees. A typical day will consist of melting snow for water, kiting for 6 to 8 hours, and cooking one hot meal at the end of the day.

An educational tour will coincide with the expedition, 2XtM volunteers giving presentations and talks at churches and schools across the state on the sport of snowkiting as well as climate issues and wind energy.

photo: Sean O’Connor/

North Dakota has been called the “Saudi Arabia of Wind.” The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., concluded that North Dakota has the greatest wind resource of any of the lower 48 states.

Follow the expedition here, including live tracking via a SPOT GPS device in Salwei’s pack:

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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