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European Alps snow kite sites

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Bertie
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European Alps snow kite sites

Postby Bertie » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:45 am

I'm hoping to drive to the Alps this winter taking kites and skis and following the snow for a week in early March looking for flattish fields, lakes, or plateaus and cols. It would be great to start a sites guide thread listing location, access, best wind direction and strengths, hazards, skill level required and any other useful info like good value local accommodation . Someone may have already done this , but I haven't found it.
For anyone who takes the trouble to post a site guide thanks in advance.
Bertie

Bertie
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Re: European Alps snow kite sites

Postby Bertie » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:40 pm

The Bernina Pass is a typical north-south connection. Ideal wind conditions for snowkiting are north, northeast. The northern foehn provides for a bright blue sky while the southern foehn ensures a lot of snow. Whatever the conditions, the pass road is open all winter, which means that kiters can easily reach the spot by car or Rhaetian Railway, rig up their kites and get going. Those looking for a more exclusive experience on the Bernina should try out the spot on the east side. There you are likely to kite almost all alone.
Lifted this from a tourist site.

Bertie
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Re: European Alps snow kite sites

Postby Bertie » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:47 pm

Wind and weather conditions on the Simplon Pass

Located at 2000 meters, the Simplon pass forms the connection between the Valais and Italy. At this meteorological divide between north and south, pressure differences occur frequently resulting in good wind conditions. Northerly foehn usually means good weather and perfect conditions. Southerly foehn can lead to fog and snow fall. Southerly foehn means a lot of fresh snow on the Simplon, due to the natural geographic barrier to the south and the resulting uplift of air. Northerly foehn rarely results in fresh snow. The weather conditions on the Simplon are mostly determined by the weather from the south.

Ideal wind directions for snow kiting on the Simplon

Because the pass forms a north-south connection, the winds are mainly NW-N-NE and S-SW. One gets perfect conditions both with northern and south-westerly winds. All westerly wind conditions are extremely dangerous, because these winds tend to change direction very quickly and randomly, their gusts extremely complicating the circumstances. Therefore, in order to catch the perfect conditions on the Simplon, one needs some experience. Ideally, Windfinder would predict NW or northerly winds. Should that be the case, one definitely also needs to check with Meteoblue on 700hPa, because if the upper air flows at 3000m are too strongly from a westerly direction, the wind conditions on the pass will be strong northerly gusts.
At 3000m winds from NW-N directions mean, conditions are just perfect! The same is valid for S-SW winds. Should the wind direction at 700hPa be too westerly or south-easterly, there may be gusty wind conditions. If the wind direction at this altitude is south-westerly, you can look forward to a great day with perfect conditions. In addition the wind force on the Simplon pass, especially for strong northerly winds (12-18kn on Windfinder), is relatively moderate and rarely exceeds 5bf.

As of December, should there not be an undercurrent, then, providing good thermic conditions, you can look forward to morning north-easterly winds. These winds usually come at 10-15kn and last till about 11am. Forecasts for morning winds: Windfinder should announce a thermic northern current for the morning. If you can only see violet on Windfinder, the conditions for a successful morning session are rather gloomy.

For the general weather forecast, SF Meteo is a good source.
Lookout for Foehn: Check Meteocentrale Föhndiagramm
Lookout for avalanches: Check SLF Lawinenbulletin

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Re: European Alps snow kite sites

Postby Toby » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:00 pm


fernmanus
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Re: European Alps snow kite sites

Postby fernmanus » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:02 am

I wish there was more information online about European destinations. The kiteforum kite sites has so little information. I have seen some great video from the Dolomites in Northern Italy, but when I look on-line the only spot mentioned is a limited area at a ski resort in Cortina. It is obvious from the video footage that there are plenty of off-piste opportunities for experienced snowkiters. Perhaps, I need to learn Italian to figure out where to go. I can always find accommodation info on my own. What I am looking for is the size of the riding area, terrain, average annual snow accumulation, avalanche precautions, and of course wind speeds. You need a lot more info for a successful mountain snowkiting trip than you do a kitesurfing trip. Unless, of course a rider could just tell you go here, at this time, and you are likely to ride. Works that way where I live in Utah, but maybe we have it better than most.

Last year, I went to Obertauren, Austria. The riding area was small, not a location to center a snowkiting trip from the US around, but I did some touring and alpine skiing as well, so it was a good trip. I would like to travel to a spot in Europe that matches or surpasses the riding in my backyard.

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Re: European Alps snow kite sites

Postby mr moon » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:49 am

The Norther Italy is loaded with snowkite spots, together with the region of Abruzzo in the central Apennines. The North offers more options with Bernina, Tonale, Resia, Gavi, Lautaret in France etc.. you can find a full map and many spots reviews on skitealp.com although I believe is in Italian only. Abruzzo also features dream backcountry spots such as Campo Imperatore and Roccaraso, not many climbing options though.
I would wait to decide until a week before leaving if you want to get the perfect conditions ;)


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