Montana has the unique distinction of hosting the Nation’s longest running snowkite event: The Montana Snowkite Rodeo. This year was the 10th anniversary and for those that attended it was four days of non-stop kiting, soaking in natural hot springs and long nights of excessive partying!
Based out of the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge, dozens of kiters from around the US, Canada and even Australia roamed the Big Hole Valley to enjoy superb kiting conditions. Every day was different; all were windy. At the north end of the Big Hole we kited Mount Haggin for two days. Those days could not have been better. Sunshine, smooth powder snow, never ending hills and fully lit 12m conditions made for a fantastic kickoff to the Rodeo.
A storm day greeted us the next morning and the participants spent that day atop Big Hole Pass. As the powder piled up, the west wind increased. Some of us brought snowmobiles and here we used them to “go long”, ranging miles from the highway to kite deep powder.
Our last day was forecast to bring high pressure and no wind. That forecast apparently missed the mark as strong east winds lit up Big Hole Pass. Rodeo kiters hit up a nearby ranch, one that we had previous permission to kite, and we found ourselves throwing huge glides, powerful boosts and ripping endless powder on steep mountains. It was a crazy session that no one will ever forget!
Unfortunately all things come to an end and the four day weekend eventually wound down Monday afternoon. As we left the Big Hole and headed home we could feel the sense of Montana’s strong kiter community. That feeling is as strong as ever. That is what makes the Rodeo special, seeing kindred spirits, flying kites on limitless snow covered hills and soaking our tired bodies in hot thermal springs.
See you at the Rodeo next year!