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Only in Minnesota: Speed dating on skinny skis

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Rick Howell says he's a bit taken aback by the sudden interest in the Nordic skiing speed-date event he helped plan for 6 p.m. at the Elm Creek Reserve in Maple Grove. He and a friend, Kati Campbell, just wanted a way for folks with similar interests, and who were in the market for companionship, to break the ice, as it were.

"We thought it would attract a few people," he said. But that was before notice of the event made it onto skinnyski.com, a popular Web site for Nordic skiers in the Twin Cities. Then it was posted on gearwest.com, and eventually at twincities.com. "It just snowballed from there."

Here's how it works: Nordic skiers of any ability are welcome to show up between 6-6:30 p.m., and pay for a trail pass and a $10 entry fee. They'll get paired up according to age, ability and other factors, and then light out for an easy 2 kilometer loop and get-to-know-you moment. Maybe phone numbers and waxing tips will be exchanged. Then they'll return and repeat the experience with a new partner, again and again, as long as they can hold up (one guesses).

Want to know more? Check the links above. And be careful out there.