Snow kiting is the latest winter sport. Fast growing and simple to learn, skiers and boarders across the world are discovering the fun of traction kiting..
Given a good breeze, a dump of snow and a power kite you can turn a cold winter's day into a blistering, adrenaline soaked experience. Eye watering speeds of over 50 kph have been recorded as snow kiters blast themselves along, and the 'big air' jumps that boarders and skiers are pulling under the power and security of power kites are simply breath taking.
Using the natural power of the wind a snow kite and a pair of skis can also take you deep in to the untouched powder that only heli-skiers and ski tourers could reach before. Even a flat field can be a playground with a kite and some snow!
Wind power is one of life's few free rides and already snow kiting enthusiasts have achieved incredible things. From a ground breaking unsupported journey to the North Pole and back to huge kite powered adventures through Alaska, the world of winter sports is embracing this new fantastic new sport. The potential is simply limitless!
A few common questions.
Is snow kiting easier than kite surfing?
Firstly, can you walk on water? Most people can't and hence they find balancing on a snowboard much easier than a kiteboard. You also get a lot more time to learn to cruise as you don't keep sinking every time you stop.
It also takes a lot less wind to drive a board across snow than it does across water. With the snow kite the whole learning experience is lot less daunting as you need much less power to get you moving.
Finally, holding an edge in snow is much easier than in water making up wind progress much easier to master.
Why are open cell parafoils better than inflatables or closed cell marine foils for snow kiting?
In a word - simplicity. If you still need convincing then here's a few more reasons to use parafoil technology for snow kiting.
Open cell kites do not require pre-inflation. Instantly that's 15 minutes more fun a day than the inflatable owner is getting. As for all that messing around with frozen valves and numb hands - no thanks! Parafoils are out of the bag and gone in seconds.
For ultimate 100% control of any kite you need a 4-lined handle system.
Whilst an open cell kite can be stalled in to a lifeless piece of cloth just by pulling the brakes, inflatables and closed cell foils always maintain their rigid shape and surface area, even on the ground. In strong winds this can be a big problem as these kites can still produce unwanted power and traction which can be dangerous.
A basic open cell foil is under half the price of its closed cell or inflatable rival.
Finally, at the end of your day you can pack a parafoil in to a tiny pack and be on your way home in minutes, giving you loads of time to watch the inflatable's owner getting dragged around with frozen fingers whilst you're already at the bar.
Do I want handles or a bar?
Handles and a 4-line system gives the most precise control of a kite. Not only can you turn smoother and tighter than with a bar, you can also stall the kite to the ground and stake out the brake lines whilst you take a break or pack away.
However, kite surfers that are used to control bars can still fly Ozone kites. If you've learnt to kite with a bar, and don't want to use handles for snow kiting, take a look at Ozone's Control Bar with de-power system and safety leash.
Do I want skis or a snowboard?
Whichever you feel more comfortable with. For beginners skis are often better as the ease of movement really helps till you get the hang of it. However, once you're kiting properly then anything that slides works. We've heard reports of sledges, car bonnets `and even workman's shovels being dragged behind our kites!
Snow kite schools
Its still a fledgling sport so its hard to find schools but heres a list of the schools currently in France. If you know of any other Worldwide pro schools let us know and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll add to the list firstname.lastname@example.org
TTC : Pyrennees
Christian Calgaro Tel: +33(0)561 408 875
Kite Surfer Center
Alpes Semnoz ( Annecy)
Le Piron 74320 Sevriers
Arnaud Dupee Tel: + 33(0)450 524 621
Auvergne Cerf Volant
13 bis ave Charras,
63000 Clermont Ferrand
Marc Ortiz Tel: +33(0)473 395 701
Kite Surf Air
Col du Lautaret
35 Rue du Bacchu Ber,
Cederic Joubert Tel: +33(0)492 205 492