Med Student, Outdoor Enthusiast Wins Final Grand Prize In ‘Checkpoint MN’

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We have a winner! Katie Salvatore of Minneapolis was drawn randomly from everyone who participated in Checkpoint MN this winter.

She nabbed “Grand Prize Pack #5,” which includes a Framed Bikes ‘Minnesota 2.0’ Fat Bike, SPOT Gen3 GPS Tracker, and a Go Lite Bitterroot Water Repellent Down Jacket (made with DownTek).

Katie Salvatore checking in at Red Wing, Bemidji, and Roseville (OVAL speed skating rink)

Salvatore, age 25, is a student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She and her boyfriend traveled the state during multiple weekend trips to find Checkpoints.

Indeed, they were among a rare group of “checkpointers” who got all 10 points.

(See our related post, ‘Checkpoint MN’ Is Largest Outdoor Scavenger Hunt In U.S.)

Grand prize includes Framed Bikes ‘Minnesota 2.0’ Fat Bike, SPOT Gen3 GPS Tracker, and a Go Lite Bitterroot Water Repellent Down Jacket (made with DownTek)

They heard about the project on social media and decided to see the state via the 10 checkpoints.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “We did it over four weekends of trips, eating at local places, stopping at attractions, and doing day hikes.”

Checkpoint MN map

At the Roseville OVAL they went speed skating. They trekked down a snowy path in Bloomington to find the sign at the Three Rivers Hyland XC Ski Area.

Salvatore even tried ice climbing along the way. “We rented some gear and went with some climbers we know to climb the frozen waterfalls at Sandstone,” which is a destination that features one of the checkpoints.

Ice climber at the Sandstone checkpoint

The couple alpine skied at Lutsen (high was minus-5 degrees that day!), found Babe The Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan in Bemidji, and they stopped at Pipestone National Monument to check-in on their way out of the state on a Christmas roadtrip.

The most exciting checkpoint, Salvatore said, was Grand Portage National Monument. “We got there after dark and put headlamps on.”

The Grand Portage checkpoint, found up a trail on an overlook above Lake Superior, is among the most difficult on the course. “We were trudging through waist-deep snow, in the dark,” she continued, elated with the experience.

Congrats to Salvatore, and thanks to all who participated in the event. Thanks to our sponsors as well as headline partner Explore Minnesota for helping us make the debut of Checkpoint MN a success!

—Stephen Regenold

1,300+ check-ins around the state!

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.