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 Post subject: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY ID
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:38 pm 
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My wife and I are planning a snowboard/snowkiting trip out west for early December 4-10. We realize the earliness of this trip makes things difficult, but it’s all we’ve got to work with. From other very helpful posts on this forum, we have learned that the two most likely places for us to get some good snowkiting action are Island Park, ID, or Skyline, UT.

Goals: To get the best early snowboarding/snowkiting experience that we can for the best price with as little driving around as possible (wife is not a fan of being cooped up in a car). We would preferably be staying closer to the snowboarding and driving for the kiting so we can hit the slopes if there is no wind scheduled for the day.

I’m going to lay out the options that we have discovered so far in hopes that you all can shed some light on the best choices or help reveal new possibilities:

Colorado

We were originally going to hit up CO until we considered snowkiting. Cheap flights ($300) and lots of good snowboarding, but it is probably too early for Dillon Reservoir to be good and there’s no real kiting terrain to speak of there.

Utah

Kite mecca! Pretty good flights ($418)

Option 1: Two great kiting options here (Strawberry and Skyline). Skyline is reported to be one of the best early season spots. Only problem is that both of these places are like 2 hours from the ski resorts. The only option that I can see is possibly Sundance Resort, which is only 1 hr 20 minutes away compared to 2+ hours for other resorts. Sundance seems like a pretty small mountain for out west, but probably plenty to keep us entertained when there is no wind (assuming it is open by then).

Option 2:
Powder Mountain – Larger mountain with a kiting area built right in. Concerns here are that the kiting won’t be as good because it is a small area and we might get skunked on snow/wind. (do they make snow for the kiting area at all or just wait?). This would be a great convenience for us to have both options available at one place, at the risk of not getting to experience Utah’s premier spots.

Idaho/Wyoming/Montana

The other great early season spot is supposedly Island Park, ID. Like Strawberry and Skyline, it seems to be a fairly decent drive from any ski resorts. Options for nearby ski resorts are:

Jackson Hole (2 hours):

Pros – Lots of closer snowkiting spots in the Jackson area, assuming we get lucky with an early snow!

Cons –Seems more expensive than other resorts…($600 to fly into Jackson too)
Grand Targhee ( 1:45) – Seems similar to Jackson Hole, smaller, less expensive and closer to Island Park.

Big Sky (1:45) – Pretty epic looking mountain…slightly cheaper flights into Bozeman ($500)

So the first question is, am I missing any obvious early season possibilities that are closer to ski resorts?

The second question is, out of these options, which one is most likely to cough up the goods?

Thanks for any advice! :bye:


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Your best bet is don't commit just yet. If Possible. Typically early snows are best in 1 of the areas you're looking at but the others could easily be marginal at that time. If you can possibly wait until mid-November you'll typically see a storm pattern develop over the Rockies that favors one area more than the others.

Just based on overall history though your best chances are either Utah or Island Park/Targhee. Targhee gets the orographic lifting snow effect on the east side of the Tetons so typically is better than J-hole early.

Weather sites to watch - don't bother with ski resort blather
NOAA point forecasts for each area you're considering

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Montana/montana.html

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Utah/utah.html

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Idaho/idaho.html

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Colorado/colorado.html

Also - if you look into some of the various state avalanche forecast center reports that can give a great perspective of what snow conditions are like on the ground in the high country...ie. good base or feathery crystalline type snow. Just google search say Utah Avalanche center & you'll get that info. If long range forecasts are to be believed(usually not reliable) the northern rockies are looking favorable.

Hope this helps


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:35 pm 
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When I read the subject line, all I could think was, 'All of the Above Please'. Reading the posts it seems you've done all the homework and have it pretty much dialed for early season options. Lewmt has the best advice anyone can give at this point in time. For example, our first winter storm is hitting this week, yet predictions and actual snowfall are yet to be determined.

My first advice, especially at that time of year is to rearrange your plans, dropping either the resorts or the kiting, combining both is often a futile endeavor, as Snowkiting in itself almost always requires a drive of some distance to line up premium snow and wind conditions.

Here is my personal advice, that would nail great kiting, gravity riding and sweet mountain adventures, all for about the same cost of purchasing lift tickets : Head to northern Wyomings Big Horn mountains, stay at the Bear Lodge, rent a snowmobile and score great winter rides everyday. :naughty:

Also feel free to call 435-462-5303, as the trip gets closer and I can help with local Utah location conditions and advice.

Windzup,
Brian Schenck
Here's a link to a site that is growing outdated, but has some links to Utah weather and snow reports... www.KiteUtah.com


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:24 pm 
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Location: jackson WY
There are closer and better spots to jh than island park. Towgottee pass 1 hr north of jackson is high elevation and usually good by mid nov. There are three different spots to ride based on your ablility and desire to climb to the goods. All of are riding spots were well covered by the end of nov last year and this year is supposed to be similar. here is a video from "towgs"
http://www.vimeo.com/8827301 thats towgottee pass!
another spot about 45 min from jh we call it tetonia http://www.vimeo.com/8662555
If you are thinking of coming here look me up on facebook we use it for posting conditions and to inform others where we plan on riding that day. Good luck! wayne

"Jackson hole kiters" On facebook


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:58 pm 
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Strawberry is only 35-40 minutes from Park City, the canyons, and deer valley. Last year it was deep pow around thanksgiving.

I noticed you listed it as 2 hours from resorts and I just wanted to let you know how close it is to Park City.

Good luck in you trip planning!


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:57 pm 
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All these guys have it covered pretty much. Keep your options open a little bit, You never know where the good stuff will be.

The Bighorns have traditionally been a great early season locations. One thing to watch out for: even though Jackson Hole and the Bighorns are both in Wyoming and look close on the map, you have to take the long way around to get there in the winter if you want to visit both places. I think It's like an 8 hour drive or something when Yellowstone is closed.

good luck, Joel.


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:13 am 
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Wow guys,

Thanks for the informative responses! Every time I see a video of one of these spots I wish I could go to them all! I am going to discuss all of this with my wife and see how far we can push back making a final decision.


lewmt
- I will keep all of those sites bookmarked for the next couple months!

Windzup- Thanks Brian for your advice here and in the other threads on the forum! I will keep your number at hand and I am going to investigate the Big Horn mountains more.

waynepjh – Those spots look great! If this map is correct (http://localkitespots.com/kitesurfing/I ... 600202160#), it looks like Tetonia is pretty close to Grand Targhee as well which would be great…there seem to be a lot of kiting options in the Jackson area!

Billy B – Thanks for the correction regarding Strawberry. I hadn’t looked as close at that spot since people were saying that it wasn’t as good for all winds as Skyline. It seems that the area itself is awesome though…I am going to keep my eye on this spot for sure given the distance to the resorts.

Wreknball – One more reminder that we’re going to have to make some tough choices…wish I had a month off instead of a week.


Another question: I always assumed that you wouldn’t need as big of kites on land as you do on water, but it seems that the opposite is actually true, it appears that we might actually need bigger kites than normal, especially when dealing with hills and (hopefully) some powder!
My wife and I weight 120 and 150 lbs, respectively. Generally, my wife rides a 7m and I ride a 9m in 17+ mph. In the lower 14-20 mph range, we ride 9m (her) and 12m (me).
What sort of kite sizes should we plan on bringing out west? Do I need to pick up a 14m or 16m for this trip?

I will probably continue to post questions here periodically over the next couple of months in hopes that this thread can become a resource for future travelers.

Thanks! :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:22 pm
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Quote:
Another question: I always assumed that you wouldn’t need as big of kites on land as you do on water, but it seems that the opposite is actually true, it appears that we might actually need bigger kites than normal, especially when dealing with hills and (hopefully) some powder!
My wife and I weight 120 and 150 lbs, respectively. Generally, my wife rides a 7m and I ride a 9m in 17+ mph. In the lower 14-20 mph range, we ride 9m (her) and 12m (me).
What sort of kite sizes should we plan on bringing out west? Do I need to pick up a 14m or 16m for this trip?


Typically in Snow good snow that is there is very slight differences in power needs so what you use in water is fine for good snow. If you're on ice or light covering snow size down abit.

The real factor that coastal people may or may not get is altitude. My normal sizes for around 180-190lbs in the mountains are 11-12 and 14-16 You take these same sizes to coastal areas and they are completely different and most of the time waaaaayyy too big.

remember when you arrive in the rockies most areas you will kite will start around 6000ft and end up in the 10,000 foot range so plan accordingly.

I would recomend for your wife around 9-12m and for you 10-11 and a 14m the only thing is if the wind cranks up to around 40-50 to size down to 9m I can easily hold a 11-12m down to high 30mph range whereas coastal riding im lucky to hold the kite down up to 20mph.

Oh and it can get super gusty at times so watch the snow and punch out if a whitewall is heading at you. :thumb:

P.S. another helpful tip is to watch the tempratures and wax your ski or board accordingly. A low temp wax in warm snow SUCKs or sticks actually. bring wax im sure the hotels have a iron u can use :naughty:


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:42 pm
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Location: Cody, WY
Windzup wrote:
Here is my personal advice, that would nail great kiting, gravity riding and sweet mountain adventures, all for about the same cost of purchasing lift tickets : Head to northern Wyomings Big Horn mountains, stay at the Bear Lodge, rent a snowmobile and score great winter rides everyday. :naughty:


Sound advise from a well travelled kiter! The kiters living close to the Bighorns are very spoiled. Especially if you own a sled. There is no need for us to travel anywhere else. We'll be starting our season this weekend with the Bald Mtn Snotel now reporting 13 inches in the last 24 hours. By December, 14A will be closed and all the best kiting will be by snowmobile access. Terminal B (our safety shelter) will be somewhere below the south side of Baldy and a second shelter has yet to be mounted with skis and find a new winter home ( Duncum Mtn???).

My lady and I share a 4 kite quiver of Ozone foils. 5m,8m,10m & 12m. She'll be on the 8 while I typically fly the 12. I would like to get a 14m or 15m but I doubt they would get used very much.

Safe Travels to the Wild West.

This is why I still live here! :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Early December Kite Trip out West-Advice on CO UT MT WY
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:05 am 
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Craz Z - Thanks for all the equipment tips - sounds like I might need to think about picking up a 14 (just in case). I hadn't considered altitude or different board waxes at all! I'll keep an eye out for that whitewall :thumb:

Windgumby - The Bighorns sound awesome! They also sound like they might be a bit inaccessible to us if the roads are all shut down! Either way, that back country sounds awesome, but may be a bit more than we'd want to bite off on a first snowkite trip out west...

Ideally we'll find some places to ride near the road so we won't have to deal with the logistics of renting a snowmobile as well (assuming you need a permit, etc). Which brings up a couple other questions...

1. When we rent a vehicle, do we need 4WD? When we were in CO, all the roads were plowed so much that you didn't need 4WD, but it seems these kiting adventures might take us a bit further off the beaten path... do Skyline, Strawberry, Island Park, and the surrounding WY spots require 4wd?

2. Assuming we stick close to the flats and play on some of the smaller "hills", what level of avalanche preparedness do we need? It doesn't seem like something we need to worry about, considering most of the slopes I've seen, but just wanted to double check.

Thanks!


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