European Snowkite Contest Roccaraso in Italy (28 January – 3 February 2014)
Event report by Yusca Balogh
I always wish we had mountains in Holland, as a kiter from the flat Netherlands I know that if you stay in Holland you will never get a really proper snowkite session in our country unless you are super lucky. Every time I saw snowkite movies it made me want to do the sport more and more, the shots from people riding up mountains, packing-up their kite and freeriding down, discovering the mountains by themselves inspire many to buy a kite and not use prepared pistes or use lifts.
Some years ago I looked up snowkite events in Europe and started doing snowkiting every winter, mostly in the Alps in France and I have also been to Switzerland and Germany. This year a special event was organized in Italy, it was about freeriding but in a race format, only experienced snowkiters from all over Europe were invited and I was super stoked to get an invitation. Together with my Flysurfer team mate Reinhold, we headed over to Altosangro at the end of January.
In the mountains southeast of Rome, next to the city Roccaroso and Aremogna the European Snowkite Contest took place. The spot looks like a huge circle of mountain peaks with a flat spot in the middle; everywhere around you are little hills, big hills, just one big playground to me.
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How did the race work, by uploading your Kite-Tracker track with the app on your phone it was possible to use your GPS and capture the track you made (max speed, altitude and much more). At the start of the race everyone turned on his tracker and of we went. We had a time limit to be back, within these 90 minutes you could go as far as you could and explore the whole area. This allowed for riding everywhere, the goal was to make an as big as possible distance and levitation going from one mountain to the other but still be back within the time limit.
Together with Flysurfer teamrider Reinhold also known as Fly Fisch from Austria we competed in this awesome contest. The spot was so big, as far as you could see, from horizon to horizon, nice hills and mountain peaks were waiting to be explored.
During the competition days it was very windy, we had gusts measured up to 30-40 knots. It made it possible to race with my Flysurfer Cronix 6m and sometimes with my Flysurfer Speed4 10m DLX and they took me everywhere were I wanted to go. Snow beepers and GPS Kitetracker on green and off we went!
Beautiful and awesome at the same time about this race was that you really had to be one with the kite and the nature elements around you. The thing is, you have to take the best line going up the mountain, that part is quiet easy but after that you want to go to the next mountain and you don’t want to get stuck behind it, because there will be no wind anymore.
So zig-zagging over the area discovering the best lines was the ultimate key. The trick was to estimate where the wind was and to estimate what the best and safest way to go was. Sometimes you could see what other riders were doing and where to go or not go, but snowkiting in areas like this is special and can be very challenging, when you arrive at a mountain peak and there are 35+ knots of wind gusts coming by, then you go into the valley and you only have just enough wind to keep you moving.
I finished 5th place in the snowboard category after the competition. My teammate Fly Fisch ended 3rd place in the snowboard category.
Didier Botta was able to win the snowboard category and Johan Civel won the ski category.
It was an amazing experience, it definitely made me a better rider. Thanks a lot for the great hospitality and organization.
Keep riding, Every day is a kiteday!
More pictures HERE