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Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

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crabnebula
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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby crabnebula » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:43 pm

First of,......snowkiting is and likely will always be second to kiteboarding on water, even with the major terrain differences snowkiting has.

I've seen the classic progression from teaching that new kiters want to learn on snow FOR water, Then in the spring they can tranfer their skills on wate. Or, folks learn on water and just get through the winter By occasionally snowkiting and or dawning a dry suit and going out on the water anyways,......keeping their skills sharp for the warm water.

In regards to the differences of regional kiting snow vs water? on the East coast almost everybody is using LEI kites and a few may own a foil or two.... other local NH riders and a few dedicated snowkiters in New England may use foils solely, but the majority here are on water year round and find that using those same kites on snow is fine.

I also notice that, many kiters simply see driving around to chase good snow and good wind is not worth the effort, in most but not all cases. Especially when they can drive a few minutes and ride waves or flat water to get their kite experience or be on a local pond lake or field no matter what the conditions.

Like in many sports and recreational pursuits ( my education specializes in this department ), there are media spikes and surges of interest that take place to push the sports growth rapidly. For example.....

Mount Everest....and all the hype about climbing Mount Everest in the mid and late 1990's....remember Into Thin Air? At that time I taugt more mountain courses on winter camping, crevasse rescue, and mountain climbing skills then ever, now that the Everest boom is over, it is back to ice climbing and mixed climbing in the winter.

Snow Kiting never had this surge as there are so many Artic and Antarctic expeditions solely by kite that it isn't as unique, and special to the the media, like why the Everest surge has slowed. And snowkiting just in itself get some headlines, but it still isn't understood by the General public.

Although it is much more complicated then just the media's affect on the sport, the growth of snowkiting in fact ties into the goals of recreation and the correlation of how attainable and sustainable those goals of snowkiting are. Then to compound the complexities, snowkiting itself has a mandatory set of goals, or in this case skills, say, learn to fly a kite, learn locations to fly at, then become intertwined with the goals of that individual and what motivational aspects, life priorities, and recreational drives they may have.

A huge factor that whether you like to admit or not, is economy and weather. They play a major role in the return rate of snowkiters and for that matter spending in general. Recreational pursuits in rough economic times is not a priority for really most people. Then add in a icy, n wind season....and snowkitings growth would predictably slow and or slowly trickle in.

In general Americans do not prioritize recreation nor respect it as much as they would like to think.

loads of research has been compliled and although we all may believe that we all prioritize recreation, studies have in fact shown that USA is likely to rather work 40-50 hours and 6 days a week for money, rather than a 3 day week and less money but more time off ( to allow for say,mum, more snowkiting?!,)

This may connect to a paradigm that more is better. And maybe it is. As to why snowkiting is not seemingly growing in comparison to kiteboarding on water? It just cannot deliver the same accessible, reliable, and rewarding experience for the patience level and expected return that folks out there are looking for. People new to the sport see a image in their mind and want that image fulfilled. They are not fools not are they going to waste their money and time chasing a phantom. At times snowkiting can be just that. As most kiters will agree for very 10 sessions. You'll only get 1 really good one.

Snowkiting needs an bridge for those that enjoy winter and then can connect to kiting. They are in need of being patient and all knowing that chasing the wind and snow is worth the effort and have a few extra $'s to spend for kites that may not be used. It is simply a "risk vs. reward" issue.

The lessons that I teach are, by the metrics I have, are steady and growing from 10 years ago when I started.
but I see WAY! More growth with water kiting than snow,..and this is with multiple events to help expose the snow sport to more folks in more regions, as well as having a contract with a major corporation to help bolster the people getting to see and enjoy the sport of snowkiting , it is still slower than kiteboarding on water.

Snowkiting has grown a lot, but meanwhile the public still often does not even know the name of our sport.

And while the country has a distinct difference in styles of snowkiting per terrain available, the way in which it is being seen as per media's perspective that of high flying and freestyle craziness, down to relaxing with the family flying kites on a sunny day. It is clea.ry a sport with a lot of options, and that is good.

The Snowkite summit in the Big Horns last year brought up a great point to push the extreme side and create a surge of interest, and show the population of "already excited about risk sports folks" out there what snowkiting can do, from gliding and climbing mountains, to just cruising around and racking back and forth all day...and yet to many just snowkiting alone is an extreme sport, and as snowkiting, like any "adventure" sport does has inherent risk, it is unfortunately labeled extreme.
But that in research is not bad. Many people seek a rare equal to that of their nor,al stress and daily life's challnges. Mother intensity of snowkiting on pure ice and going up hills to fly off is certain.y a type of elixir for just that.

But we all know...it is a sport for everybody and slowly, people who are excited and dedicated about taking up a challenge will adhere to the weather and wind forecasts like we all do, but reality is, it is a slow growth sport and will have the numbers be what they are.

Predictions can be made, and people can from all angles push the sports appeals, and that will all help grow the sport.

From mundane riding on flat terrain to crazy mountain flights with kites, snowkiting and all its aspect aren't going anywhere, and as people in th sport maintain a level of excitement and passion for the sport, it will be noticed and taken in by those who see it's worth and reward for the time, money and effort needed to truly be able to kite year round, land snow and water.

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby edt » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:24 pm

I think we agree that snowkiting is becoming more popular so I just want to add a bit about popularity in niche sports and what it means for locals.
crabnebula wrote: Mount Everest....and all the hype about climbing Mount Everest in the mid and late 1990's....remember Into Thin Air? At that time I taugt more mountain courses on winter camping, crevasse rescue, and mountain climbing skills then ever, now that the Everest boom is over, it is back to ice climbing and mixed climbing in the winter.
climbing mount everest is more popular than ever. The mountain is maxed out right now, you can not physically fit more people up there.

Image
Image

you see the top of the chart slow down around 2009, that's because that mountain is maxed out.


Now it's true you saw interest completely die at your local spot. That's what you have to remember about niche sports like climbing or kiting that the total volume is so low that tiny spikes can seem meaningful. It's not. You just see in your local spot a decline that is more than compensated by growth everywhere else in the world.

Same with the original poster's comment about skyline in UT. He saw an absolutely drop off in snow kiting but it's not true that this is global or even all across the USA. Snow kiters are STOKED we love it and it is growing.

However it is a very small and niche sport (snow kiting has always been much less popular than water kiting) so you can easily see a drop off to zero at any particular local spot even when world wide it is constantly growing in popularity.

Image

ragnorak 2014

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby skullcandy » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:06 am

crabnebula wrote:First of,......snowkiting is and likely will always be second to kiteboarding on water, even with the major terrain differences snowkiting has.

I've seen the classic progression from teaching that new kiters want to learn on snow FOR water, Then in the spring they can tranfer their skills on wate. Or, folks learn on water and just get through the winter By occasionally snowkiting and or dawning a dry suit and going out on the water anyways,......keeping their skills sharp for the warm water.

In regards to the differences of regional kiting snow vs water? on the East coast almost everybody is using LEI kites and a few may own a foil or two.... other local NH riders and a few dedicated snowkiters in New England may use foils solely, but the majority here are on water year round and find that using those same kites on snow is fine.

I also notice that, many kiters simply see driving around to chase good snow and good wind is not worth the effort, in most but not all cases. Especially when they can drive a few minutes and ride waves or flat water to get their kite experience or be on a local pond lake or field no matter what the conditions.

Like in many sports and recreational pursuits ( my education specializes in this department ), there are media spikes and surges of interest that take place to push the sports growth rapidly. For example.....

Mount Everest....and all the hype about climbing Mount Everest in the mid and late 1990's....remember Into Thin Air? At that time I taugt more mountain courses on winter camping, crevasse rescue, and mountain climbing skills then ever, now that the Everest boom is over, it is back to ice climbing and mixed climbing in the winter.

Snow Kiting never had this surge as there are so many Artic and Antarctic expeditions solely by kite that it isn't as unique, and special to the the media, like why the Everest surge has slowed. And snowkiting just in itself get some headlines, but it still isn't understood by the General public.

Although it is much more complicated then just the media's affect on the sport, the growth of snowkiting in fact ties into the goals of recreation and the correlation of how attainable and sustainable those goals of snowkiting are. Then to compound the complexities, snowkiting itself has a mandatory set of goals, or in this case skills, say, learn to fly a kite, learn locations to fly at, then become intertwined with the goals of that individual and what motivational aspects, life priorities, and recreational drives they may have.

A huge factor that whether you like to admit or not, is economy and weather. They play a major role in the return rate of snowkiters and for that matter spending in general. Recreational pursuits in rough economic times is not a priority for really most people. Then add in a icy, n wind season....and snowkitings growth would predictably slow and or slowly trickle in.

In general Americans do not prioritize recreation nor respect it as much as they would like to think.

loads of research has been compliled and although we all may believe that we all prioritize recreation, studies have in fact shown that USA is likely to rather work 40-50 hours and 6 days a week for money, rather than a 3 day week and less money but more time off ( to allow for say,mum, more snowkiting?!,)

This may connect to a paradigm that more is better. And maybe it is. As to why snowkiting is not seemingly growing in comparison to kiteboarding on water? It just cannot deliver the same accessible, reliable, and rewarding experience for the patience level and expected return that folks out there are looking for. People new to the sport see a image in their mind and want that image fulfilled. They are not fools not are they going to waste their money and time chasing a phantom. At times snowkiting can be just that. As most kiters will agree for very 10 sessions. You'll only get 1 really good one.

Snowkiting needs an bridge for those that enjoy winter and then can connect to kiting. They are in need of being patient and all knowing that chasing the wind and snow is worth the effort and have a few extra $'s to spend for kites that may not be used. It is simply a "risk vs. reward" issue.

The lessons that I teach are, by the metrics I have, are steady and growing from 10 years ago when I started.
but I see WAY! More growth with water kiting than snow,..and this is with multiple events to help expose the snow sport to more folks in more regions, as well as having a contract with a major corporation to help bolster the people getting to see and enjoy the sport of snowkiting , it is still slower than kiteboarding on water.

Snowkiting has grown a lot, but meanwhile the public still often does not even know the name of our sport.

And while the country has a distinct difference in styles of snowkiting per terrain available, the way in which it is being seen as per media's perspective that of high flying and freestyle craziness, down to relaxing with the family flying kites on a sunny day. It is clea.ry a sport with a lot of options, and that is good.

The Snowkite summit in the Big Horns last year brought up a great point to push the extreme side and create a surge of interest, and show the population of "already excited about risk sports folks" out there what snowkiting can do, from gliding and climbing mountains, to just cruising around and racking back and forth all day...and yet to many just snowkiting alone is an extreme sport, and as snowkiting, like any "adventure" sport does has inherent risk, it is unfortunately labeled extreme.
But that in research is not bad. Many people seek a rare equal to that of their nor,al stress and daily life's challnges. Mother intensity of snowkiting on pure ice and going up hills to fly off is certain.y a type of elixir for just that.

But we all know...it is a sport for everybody and slowly, people who are excited and dedicated about taking up a challenge will adhere to the weather and wind forecasts like we all do, but reality is, it is a slow growth sport and will have the numbers be what they are.

Predictions can be made, and people can from all angles push the sports appeals, and that will all help grow the sport.

From mundane riding on flat terrain to crazy mountain flights with kites, snowkiting and all its aspect aren't going anywhere, and as people in th sport maintain a level of excitement and passion for the sport, it will be noticed and taken in by those who see it's worth and reward for the time, money and effort needed to truly be able to kite year round, land snow and water.
You have a sequel coming out?

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby crabnebula » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:22 am

Yes I'm writing it now

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby skullcandy » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:56 am

crabnebula wrote:Yes I'm writing it now
:thumb: Just bustin bro, actually liked your write up.

Btw for the Utah guy who started this post. I went to Strawbs today. Wind conditions excellent (11m) - Snow conditions AWFUL! Thin, Baked out, Crud. Some untracked spots but was a lot of work crusting through it and then having to skip over frozen snow mobile tracks. This is my point - wind should be good tomorrow but I am not sure its worth the cruddy, thin snow conditions.

We need a couple of storms then a nice high pressure post frontal.. lets hope it happens soon :thumb:

Side rant here - Does anyone like snow mobiling? Hate how you smell like you just worked three shifts at the gas station and breath it in the whole session. Machine based speed sports don't really do it for me personally. Im bringing this up with the looming x games - I hate when the snow mobile events come on. Boring to me. Would be cool if they added Snow kiting free style, big air, and race. (Never gonna happen but would be cool)

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby Craz Z » Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:04 am

I've been snowkiting for 10 years and have not lost interest however its getting harder and harder to enjoy the crappy conditions that seem to get worse every year.

Last weekend I was completely soaked from a down pour of rain while I was snowkiting. couldn't see and was soaking wet kited an hour an half and went home. Tomorrow im going out again and I know very well the snow will be absolute crap but need a fix. The same conditions in Utah are the same here.

Don't get me wrong there are good times and bad as earlier this season I camped out an had a foot of fresh powder 2 days in a row and it was one of those times to remember.

I've just noticed the lack of interest comes from not having one hard to predict weather item which is wind, but now its predicting snow and wind and that gets rid of half of the people right there. the snow should be good and the wind should be smooth or most go buy lift tickets.

The other problem is alot of people that are getting really good pics and footage are all using snowmobiles to access higher terrain deeper in the backcountry.

My opinion is if I have to buy 4000$ dollars in kite gear and a 4000-15000$sled snowkiting isn't worth it no matter what. I like it but would rather be in mexico in board shorts kiting in an exotic location.

You know I try to stoke up alot of people about kiting and tell water kiters about how awesome it is to go up the mountain as fast as you can go down one. there is a twinkle in their eye for about a second and then say its too cold. or i'd rather go downhilling.

Its weird people rather downhill then kite but it is what it is. We've lost a lot of people around here to warmer weather kiting destinations and more consistent conditions of water kiting

I really think if snowkiting is growing changing or whatever the case maybe. The conditions of having good snow and consistent winds are dwindling and I've never believed in global warming and still don't.

Some of the warm water friends I've mentioned snowkiting to think the snow is for Eskimos if the temp drops below 60 they move south dry suits and 5mil wetsuits are a foreign language to some also.

I miss the events of the past as well! snowkiting was thriving and growing and understand that having an event with no snow or no wind is a deal breaker and the reason why there are fewer and fewer of them. I used to look forward to the events.

I will always snowkite and like not having the crowds so really I could care less what happens to the sport. :thumb:

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby jumarcil » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:24 pm

Craz Z wrote:I've been snowkiting for 10 years and have not lost interest however its getting harder and harder to enjoy the crappy conditions that seem to get worse every year.

Last weekend I was completely soaked from a down pour of rain while I was snowkiting. couldn't see and was soaking wet kited an hour an half and went home. Tomorrow im going out again and I know very well the snow will be absolute crap but need a fix. The same conditions in Utah are the same here.

Don't get me wrong there are good times and bad as earlier this season I camped out an had a foot of fresh powder 2 days in a row and it was one of those times to remember.

I've just noticed the lack of interest comes from not having one hard to predict weather item which is wind, but now its predicting snow and wind and that gets rid of half of the people right there. the snow should be good and the wind should be smooth or most go buy lift tickets.

The other problem is alot of people that are getting really good pics and footage are all using snowmobiles to access higher terrain deeper in the backcountry.

My opinion is if I have to buy 4000$ dollars in kite gear and a 4000-15000$sled snowkiting isn't worth it no matter what. I like it but would rather be in mexico in board shorts kiting in an exotic location.

You know I try to stoke up alot of people about kiting and tell water kiters about how awesome it is to go up the mountain as fast as you can go down one. there is a twinkle in their eye for about a second and then say its too cold. or i'd rather go downhilling.

Its weird people rather downhill then kite but it is what it is. We've lost a lot of people around here to warmer weather kiting destinations and more consistent conditions of water kiting

I really think if snowkiting is growing changing or whatever the case maybe. The conditions of having good snow and consistent winds are dwindling and I've never believed in global warming and still don't.

Some of the warm water friends I've mentioned snowkiting to think the snow is for Eskimos if the temp drops below 60 they move south dry suits and 5mil wetsuits are a foreign language to some also.

I miss the events of the past as well! snowkiting was thriving and growing and understand that having an event with no snow or no wind is a deal breaker and the reason why there are fewer and fewer of them. I used to look forward to the events.

I will always snowkite and like not having the crowds so really I could care less what happens to the sport. :thumb:
Been kiting 8 years and when I started I stopped buying ski tickets because kiting in 1 or 2 feet of fresh snow was really a blast. These days are gone though. The 3rd or 4th really bad winter in a row..... global warming ? I think so. Gimme 2 or 3 snowy winter to prove me wrong. One last thing, i kite 4 to 5 x a week in the summer.But in the winter only once or twice because of darkness and weather

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby crabnebula » Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:53 pm

Yeah im with you guys

The snow on our mountainous terrain has been a few years in a row just ice and dangerous to ride lakes are junk ice, fields are crusty and snow fall less per month than ever

Ironically the argument of lift lines being long is sorta skewed as I've been skiin and snowboarding at local area in NH and have found absolutely no lines what so ever

The groomed snow is by far the best around in NH!

So, yeah I can clearly see the frustration with snowkiting and would add that MOST kiters I know ride LEI kites and use snowkiting as a way to get by in te winter months and do in fact travel to exotic location and enjoy warmth and sun with flat water and waves to push freestyle and carving skills

Honestly h20 is where to go

Super friendly to beginners, more water than land with snow, and only requires wind with a little direction per location

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby fernmanus » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:53 am

It is interesting reading the replies to my initial query.

There seems to be a general consensus that the conditions have been subpar as of late. That may be true at many locales, but it does not hold true at Skyline. Skyline is at 9500 feet and it gets plastered with snow. Conditions this year have been as good as any other. We have had a dry spell in January due to a high pressure inversion, unfortunately that is a pretty common occurrence in January.

Strawberry is at 7500 feet and therefore it gets less snow and the snow is also more likely to turn to crap. This year was actually one of the few years that it was rideable before January 1st. The way I look at it Strawberry has a short, but glorious season, but Skyline is more reliable for both good snow quality and wind. When Strawberry is on, it is utterly amazing due to the vast amount of terrain. The same is true for the Camas Valley in Idaho. However, both of those locations require a cold, snowy winter. Skyline is at a higher altitude than Alta ski resort, so it is "ON" more often.

The ironic thing is the same element that makes Skyline so good is its biggest detriment to tourism - the altitude. I can feel it and I live at 5,000 feet. Plus, the place is plagued with wind shadows. It is not very approachable for newbies. I have seen many people spend the day watching their kite flutter out of the sky over and over again (there are methods and gear to deal with this issue). I guess the bottom line is that Skyline is a great place to ride, but you need an inside scoop if you are traveling there or it can be frustrating.

I also want to chime in on snow machines. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I hate the sound of them, I don't see how people can stand riding around on a motorized chainsaw all day. However, I love them when the wind dies and they rescue me from an arduous, postholing nightmare back to the road.

It may be true for many kiters that snowkiting is just passing the time until summer, but for me the opposite is true. I have the means to travel to some of the premier sites for water kiting and I am sorry, but wave riding while it is a lot of fun, to me it does not hold a candle to riding in the mountains. It is the stillness and solitude that I crave. The blinding beauty of the peaks. Ripping powder and gliding off hills. Snowkiting is my first love, water passes the time...

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby matthepp » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:59 pm

Living in SW Colorado, I feel the same as Kenny. We had good early powder this year with many good days already. We're in a bit of the January snow and wind lull right now but it'll be back once we get to the Superbowl. Then there ought to be some amazing days til June. I learned to water kite first on Colorado (which was miserable) but every year it seems the snow kiting is better than water. Only 3 water days last summer. But being up at 13k feet in mid winter is stunning. And nothing beats logging a 50 mile 10k vert powder day. If y'all are jonesing, come on out!


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