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Snow Kite Flying - Too Dangerous or Safe Enough?

forum for snow- and landkiters


gavin feargrieve
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Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:24 am
Kiting since: 2008
Local Beach: Stony Beach, Conrads Beach
Favorite Beaches: Varadero, Cuba
Style: Old School, Wave
Gear: Flysurfer Speed 2 15m, 19m - favorite kites
Brand Affiliation: Flysurfer and Cabrihna

Re: Snow Kite Flying - Too Dangerous or Safe Enough?

Postby gavin feargrieve » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:22 am

It's a good question, how safe is gliding?

I've done a paragliding beginner course and have 20 flights under my belt. Just enough to know I don't know much (eg. XC flying). I had a great experience and will go forward with it, but it's not kiting. Limited wind range and no quick release are stand out differences.

I'm much more comfortable with a kite-the timing, handling, etc It's all become second nature. I own a kitesurfing school and have been teaching for about five years. Long enough to see a lot of unnecessary mishaps due to a lot of reasons- gear failure due to neglect, poor understanding of wind/ weather patterns and just plain o'l poor judgement account for most accidents.

It's fair to say gliding is for experts only and most of them are crossing over from paragliding/ getting into paragliding. So, with experience comes safety and you can rule out the above mentioned causes of accidents.. But the question remains, is kitesurfing gear safe enough for gliding? In my opinion, in the right conditions and with the right gear the answer is yes. However, you really do need a pro level understanding of the gear and conditions to make a sound judgement. IMO, there is huge alpine touring potential with kites that hasn't really caught on yet. Currently planning a trip to the 'Blow Me Down Mountains' in Newfoundland, Canada. Will see what trouble I can get into!

The best line in this discussion is that flying with a kite is not a fashion if you think it's too dangerous then don't do it.

Cheers,

Gavin

waynepjh
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Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:17 pm
Kiting since: 1999
Gear: Ozone edges and c4
Brand Affiliation: Ozone team rider
Location: jackson WY

Re: Snow Kite Flying - Too Dangerous or Safe Enough?

Postby waynepjh » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:44 pm

Very well said Gavin! Having a good understanding on when to fly is very important. This comes from over 15 years of paragliding for me. People say "why not use a paraglider" but most of the hills are to small to wanna break out my wing. Sometimes we kite up the hill with our speed wings but that is much harder than with a kite. Once in the air i can fly faster and farther on a kite compared to my speedwing. Kites can handle more turbulence than a speed wing or paraglider. I can fly down with a kite and be back on top in a min ready to fly again. I feel that you put way more force on your line when you are looping up the hill. Our gear that we fly on is new at the start of the season and frequently inspected. We also clip in with a locking biener. Even backing up our chicken loop. I used to fly high facing backwards and don't do that to much anymore. Now I prefer staying low and facing forwards. Last winter on Thompson pass I flew down a glacier that was over 4000' vertical. The whole glide was well over ten minutes and I was always less than ten feet off the ground. Gliding can be done safely.
Look at the stunts people are pulling on the water. Jumping piers and jetty's is not very safe. Len ten blew one of his stunts and hit rocks. He walked away from that one. How about that sweet new video of Jesse riding jaws, a gear failure there good be deadly. Gear failure is dangerous anytime it happens. That's my one cent worth!

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Bille
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Local Beach: Lake Mohave
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Brand Affiliation: Barz Optics
Jaybar Dynabar V7

Re: Snow Kite Flying - Too Dangerous or Safe Enough?

Postby Bille » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:03 pm

waynepjh wrote:...
Last winter on Thompson pass I flew down a glacier that was over 4000' vertical. The whole glide was well over ten minutes and I was always less than ten feet off the ground. Gliding can be done safely.

...


DUDE -- "That" sounds like it was a BLAST !!! :thumb:

I changed my mind on the safety thing for most Everything. After hearing on the news
in Vegas a week ago, about this teenager with a Hoodie & i-pod plugged into his ears.
YEA -- he decided to cross the road ; that didn't go so well, and now he's DEAD !
He died Looking Cool though .

Awareness is Key in everything we do in life, but given a choice, i'd rather go out
following --waynepjh-- down the glacier, than crossing a Fricken road as a pedestrian.
Just give it Everything Ya got, & don't get complacent on the way down, (or Up) !!

I'm still a bit surprised about the 4000' in 10-min though ; that's a 400'/min sink-rate .
The air must have bin kinda dead & stable that day ? Does the snow do that ?

Bille

waynepjh
Very Frequent Poster
Posts: 958
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:17 pm
Kiting since: 1999
Gear: Ozone edges and c4
Brand Affiliation: Ozone team rider
Location: jackson WY

Re: Snow Kite Flying - Too Dangerous or Safe Enough?

Postby waynepjh » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:14 am

I was on a 13 meter kite with about 15mph wind. To light a wind for riding around but perfect for looping up the hill and flying down. The hill was about 25-30 degrees. After a ten minute or so flight my arms were pumped! Gave myself tendinitis that day. . I have a video of the spot coming eventually but lost motivation editing. Right now its about 4 hours long. :thumb:

gavin feargrieve
Rare Poster
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:24 am
Kiting since: 2008
Local Beach: Stony Beach, Conrads Beach
Favorite Beaches: Varadero, Cuba
Style: Old School, Wave
Gear: Flysurfer Speed 2 15m, 19m - favorite kites
Brand Affiliation: Flysurfer and Cabrihna

Re: Snow Kite Flying - Too Dangerous or Safe Enough?

Postby gavin feargrieve » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:38 am

"Kites can handle more gusty wind and fly further than a speed wing"- Of course, it's gotta be the right kite but that's good to know. I always figured kites could handle turbulent wind better but not had the chance to compare back to back.

Thanks


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