The northern Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming proved again why they are a favorite snowkite destination. With a variety of terrain, a solid snowpack, steady west winds, abundant sunshine and easy access I could not have asked for a better combination to start my mid-March weekend.
While it is true backcountry, one has to sled or skin in to the kite spots, the distances are really quite short. With good visibility, one quickly arrives at a point where one can kite to the best and biggest terrain. If it happens to be northerly winds and whiteout conditions (like I awoke to this morning), it is best to leave kiting in the Big Horns for another day.
Going solo and having the benefit of many kite days in the Biggies, I know exactly where I wanted to start my first session: the SW side of Big Bald Mountain. I rode my sled right to the launch and immediately pulled my 12m Ozone Summit out of the pack. A quick ascent brought me to the top rim of Baldy where I was ripping turns and pulling the trigger to my heart’s content. I am always in disbelief when I kite here. The amount of vertical wind energy along this upper 10 percent of the mountain is amazing. The orographic lift that this mountain generates is, at times, overwhelming. If gliding and long flights are your cup of tea, you will be in heaven.
All through my first session I laid down high speed tracks along the top bowl of Baldy, dropped into many of the snaking canyons that drape its lower flanks, and made lap after lap in the softest powder I could find. Baldy was my fully lit snowkite playground!
After a couple hours kiting here, I got curious about conditions on the SE aspect of Baldy, the Terminal B side. So I rolled up my kite and sledded over to the shelter affectionately known as Terminal B. This box is a welcome rescue shelter that local kiters pull up every autumn and drag out every spring. Equipped with a stove and a couple seats it does the trick in providing shelter from the sometimes extreme conditions that hammer the Big Horns. A little digging and I was comfortably enjoying a warm break from the wind.
Conditions on this side of Baldy were a little different than usual. Powder was abundant, just in different spots that usual. Again my 12m Summit was the right choice, allowing plenty of power to make lap after lap in the untracked white. I kited here until sunset and then made my way back to the Wyoming High Country Lodge, just a couple miles from the kite spot. Here, I was served the warmest hospitality one could wish for along with a huge, scrumptious dinner.
That’s all for now. Powder is in the air, it’s dumping and the NW wind has filled in my tracks from yesterday. Tomorrow is going to be superb! I can’t wait!
Thanks for reading and see ya out there,