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The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting

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fernmanus
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The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting

Postby fernmanus » Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:58 am

I have been kiting in the mountains for over a decade. it is interesting to watch how riders progress both individually and as a group.

I recall that initially, we would ride on the snow basically like we do on the water. You can always pick out a visitor just by their riding style. The way we ride in the mountains is just so different than how we ride on the water.

I have a lot of my own ideas on how mountain snowkiting has progressed, but I am curious to read how others view the progression of this sport. What style of riding do you think is at the forefront?

waynepjh
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Re: The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting

Postby waynepjh » Sun Jan 03, 2016 6:11 am

I think the style that you develop is directly related to the type of terrain you ride the most.

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Noahpz
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Re: The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting

Postby Noahpz » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:24 pm

fernmanus wrote:I have a lot of my own ideas on how mountain snowkiting has progressed...
What are those ideas?

Noah

fernmanus
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Re: The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting

Postby fernmanus » Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:40 am

I agree with Wayne that the progression has a lot to do with where you ride. These are my thoughts on riding in Utah where we have ample powder and great car-accessible riding.

As I mentioned previously, the first step is riding on the snow similar to how one rides on the water. Lots of jumping, concerned about staying upwind, and riding in a limited area. Riders frequently got stuck in wind shadows and had to hike out.

Next step, building kickers and using terrain to extend jump height and distance. Riders also began to start exploring terrain on moderate to strong wind days. Riders start gliding often starting with a jump into a glide because of the confusion between the two. Riders named wind shadow areas and began avoiding them.

The next phase was long, high glides - flying over roads, other Kiters, trees, etc. Kiters started using sleds and skins to access previously inaccessible terrain. Using the kite to travel uphill and then making S turns in the powder downhill.

What I have observed in the past couple of years. Using large kites to "ravish" the mountain, covering twice the terrain as a kiter on a moderate-sized kite. Making turns both uphill and down. Rather than gliding high, low-level skimming to follow the terrain. Slashing turns in powder-filled lee areas. The parallel in the backcountry is to skin up to tree-line and then using ultra-light kites to travel uphill, packing the kite up and then skiing down OR using powerful sleds to access amazing terrain and deep powder.

Of course, the progression is not this linear. Plenty of experienced riders still get stuck in wind shadows (it is easy to do on a lightwind day) and there is nothing wrong with not gliding and just jumping. These are just my general observations.

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lezo
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Re: The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting

Postby lezo » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:31 pm

Good observations fernmanus, actually I have witnessed a very similar evolution in individual riding styles here in France.

On best days making several dozens of backcountry kms on extremely varied terrain, sometimes between trees or rocks, sometimes a lot of avalanche free powder - very different from the typical kiting experience on water, needing completely different type of equipment, attitudes and skill sets. Maybe the most closely approached when doing half-day long downwinds in ocean waves here.

fernmanus
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Re: The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting

Postby fernmanus » Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:52 pm


Post subject: Re: The Progression of Mountain Snowkiting Reply with quote
Good observations fernmanus, actually I have witnessed a very similar evolution in individual riding styles here in France.

On best days making several dozens of backcountry kms on extremely varied terrain, sometimes between trees or rocks, sometimes a lot of avalanche free powder - very different from the typical kiting experience on water, needing completely different type of equipment, attitudes and skill sets. Maybe the most closely approached when doing half-day long downwinds in ocean waves here.
I agree with you and I like how you stated that it is a very different experience than water. I have found that the learning curve is much longer learning to snowkite in the mountains due to the terrain, wind shadows, and altitude. It takes a high level of fitness to really enjoy mountain riding and a fair amount of experience to really enjoy it. A lot of visitors come to the mountains completely unprepared for the experience.


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