Hey Guys, thanks in advance for any feedback. I am an intermediate kite surfer and expert snow boarder looking to make the jump to snow kiting this winter. I live in NY, so our season is relatively short, but we do get the occasional foot or two of snow, and have some wide open farm fields in my area. I figured since I have the gear, why not give it a shot. I weigh about 190 lbs, and usually ride a 12m (LEI) in 14-20 knots 0 9m (LEI) in 20-28 knots. How should I think about the difference in power between kites on water and snow? Would I use the same size kite for the same wind speed? Also, any other suggested reading or videos for a beginner?
You'd use a smaller kite size on the snow. You don't need big power to start your session on snow. You're already in a "planing" position on snow, so you don't need a big kite to pull you up out of the water. Generally, you'll have a lot less resistance to overcome on snow than on water, so use a smaller kite on snow.
i use the same kite size as on water, but yes you can use a smaller size because as said above already on a plane just standing up.
my advice for beginners is always the same 1) helmet 2) kneepads 3) hip protectors 4) elbow pads 5) wrist guards 6) do not use your good board out there, buy a "rock board" for kiting. Don't forget to wear kneepads over your pants so you don't get your nice snowpants ripped up.
If you are an expert snow boarder you can skip the wrist guards you probably know how to fall right and not break anything. Places like NY that snow is like ours here in Michigan we are out in the wild, there's hard ice under the snow sometimes the snow has ice in it, all kinds of stuff, the falls can be very hard. It's nice if you live out in the mountains and have 2 feet of powder but we really don't see those sorts of conditions so make sure to gear up. I was out yesterday fantastic session, had nice snow in some places but other places there were jagged slabs of ice sticking up inside the snow I ran over them a few times. My board has more ptex than original bottom left.
Last edited by edt on Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The exception to the "use a smaller kite" rule is when you have deep, loose snow (actual "powder"). There's a lot of resistance when kiting in that, so a bigger kite (equivalent to water size) makes sense.
I second the note about pads. You can't wear too much padding, and make sure you've got a really good helmet. If you get lofted a bit and don't have your landing under control, smacking your noggin on essentially bare ice is gonna do some permanent damage.
The other handy addition is a switchblade adapter for a snowboard. It gives you a "hockey skate" blade on the heel side so you can ride on bare ice without just sliding sideways. Where I kite we often get patches of snow and patches of bare ice, and with a switchblade you track straight across the bare spots. Without a switchblade you slide sideways across the ice until you get brought up short when you hit the next patch of snow. It makes a huge difference in the fun (and control) factor. They're not cheap, but definitely worth it. I think the website is something like www.MNKiteboy.com.
I've used a switchblade device before and it's just too primitive for me. You can't buy an iceboard but you can make one, here is my iceboard 2017, Ignore the white markings those are cutouts I'm going to make later on to lighten the board a little. 4 hockey blades, steel center beam, thick baltic plywood, aluminum mounting plates (ice skates at an angle to dig into the ice), center swivel, snowboard bindings. If this design works good I will probably end up doing a complete rebuild with thinner plywood, fiberglass epoxy, change the center beam to aluminum and lighten up the entire build or maybe move the entire structure to aluminum bars and only have plywood for the binding mounts.
This is I guess my 20th build? I have made them smaller in past years, but the boards have gotten bigger and bigger to make them more stable, unfortunately it is pretty heavy right now which is why I'm going to probably rebuild this again for build 21 I guess.
When I kite with ice & snow patches I have plenty of fun on my snowboard. What I do when I hit the ice is flatten the board so you're not on edge, and point the board straight downwind then dig in again when you hit the snow. Of course if you try to edge on ice you will fall down that's not fun. Just point the board straight downwind when you hit the ice and you'll have plenty of stability. The switchblade has an unfortunate characteristic where it is quite sensitive to the amount of snow over the ice, so for instance, you have 1/4 inch of snow over the ice or 1 inch of snow over the ice or no snow over the ice, it performs differently in each case (because there is actually a 3 point contact, one at the switchblade and 2 more at the front and rear tip of your snowboard). I will do more carthweels with a switchblade in those sorts of conditions instead of just using my snowboard.
If you are on skis instead of a snowboard you can just edge on the icy spots because skis have better grip, but I'm not a skier.
Here's my Holly Jolly Christmas Video from yesterday
Thanks for all the feedback. I'm pumped to give it a shot. As far as holding an edge on ice, I suggest you guys try out Lib Tech or Gnu's boards with magne-traction. I've been riding them since '09, and won't ride a regular snowboard for more than a couple runs to demo or swap with a friend. The magne-traction is night and day when riding over ice patches on a snowboard. It has multiple contact points instead of just the tip and tail, so you weight is distributed between your feet and across the entire edge. I'm usually not one for game changers or hype, but magne-traction and reverse camber is a great combo for pow, park, and ice. Carving on groomers isn't the same due to the reverse camber, but you can still lay down some nice lines.
Magna is great for snow board sucks for snow kiting. Takes maybe 30 minutes to burn the edge off. Snow kiting you always have pressure on your edge and hard tool steel is like butter so while it seems nice for the first 30 minutes after that the magna traction feels like you are trying to cut down a tree with a hammer. You get the same amount of wear on your edge in 30 minutes snowkiting that you might get on the slopes in 3 years. Like I said before, don't use your best board.
If you can, find an area without tracks or snowmachine traffic. The little bits of crust will grab lines and can make relaunches frustrating. Kiting in lakes, crash gear is a must if there are ice fishermen on the lake. the ice hole volcanoes get buried and hurt like hell when you hit them. An ice screw is helpful to secure things on ice. To start with be sure the wind is steady so launching is straight forward. Moving around on a snowboard is a hassle.
Not saying this stuff to be a downer as snowkiting is a blast but there are things about hard water which don't take place on the liquid variety.
What part of Eastern LI are u located I'm in queens ny also.
AirConnolly wrote:Hey Guys, thanks in advance for any feedback. I am an intermediate kite surfer and expert snow boarder looking to make the jump to snow kiting this winter. I live in NY, so our season is relatively short, but we do get the occasional foot or two of snow, and have some wide open farm fields in my area. I figured since I have the gear, why not give it a shot. I weigh about 190 lbs, and usually ride a 12m (LEI) in 14-20 knots 0 9m (LEI) in 20-28 knots. How should I think about the difference in power between kites on water and snow? Would I use the same size kite for the same wind speed? Also, any other suggested reading or videos for a beginner?