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Will 2013 Be The Year of Snow Kiting?

NORTH AMERICAN SNOW KITE TOUR

Snow Kiting = The Longest Runs You Could Ever Experience.

Snow Kiting = Faster Uphills Than On A Chairlift.

Snow Kiting = One Hell Of A Good Time.

With the opening of California’s first snow kite center at Sugar Bowl (Sierra Snowkite Center: California’s Only Snowkite Center OPENS) this sport is primed to blow up. Don’t be surprised  if 2013 is the year of snow kiting.

Image provided by flysurfer.com

Snow Kiting

In the early days of snowkiting, foil kites were the most common type; nowadays some kitesurfers use their water gear such as inflatable kites. Snowkiting differs from other alpine sports in that it is possible for the snowkiter to travel uphill and downhill with any wind direction. Snowkiting is becoming increasingly popular in places often associated with skiing and snowboarding, such as Russia, Canada, Iceland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden and the Northern and Central United States. The sport is becoming more diverse as adventurers use kites to travel great distances and sports enthusiasts push the boundaries of freestyle, big air, speed and backcountry exploration.

Modern History 

The 2000s have seen a giant leap forward in snowkite-specific technologies, skill levels and participants in every possible snow-covered country. The development of snowkite specific, de-powerable, foil kites have allowed snowkiters to explore further and push the limits of windpowered expeditions. Recent crossings in record times of large snowfields and even Greenland have been accomplished through the use of snowkites.

On the forefront of extreme freestyle snowkiting, dedicated snowkiting communities from Utah to Norway are pushing the freestyle envelope and documenting their efforts through films like Something Stronger and Dimensions by SnowkiteFilm.com and Drift Snowkite Magazine which is available as a digital magazine. The extreme envelope of snowkiting freestyle and back country is being pushed by Chasta, a French kiter sponsored by Ozone Kites now based in New Zealand.

Better equipment, safety practices, community know-how and qualified instructors are readily available in many areas, allowing people to learn properly and safely through different means than trial and error. The sport is currently being enjoyed by kiters of all ages and in a wide variety of activities ranging from mellow jaunts on a lake, to kitercross events, from multi-day expeditions, to flying off mountains, from freestyle jib tricks, to huge cliff drops as well as endurance and course racing.

There is a small segment of kiters that participate in GPS speed competitions where kiters record speed data on a GPS unit and submit it to a coordinating body for comparison to other kiter’s speeds. In the Stormboarding world wide speed ranking Joe Levins, an American kiter, was the first to reach 70 mph/112kph in 2008. In 2009 Christopher Krug, an American kiter sponsored by Peter Lynn Kiteboarding pushed the envelope further to a speed of 73.5 mph/118kph. The limits of speed for snowkiting are not yet known.

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