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Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

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skullcandy
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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby skullcandy » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:47 pm

Fern - Agree about skyline in terms of better wind/snow conditions. 2.5 hour drive for me each way and too lazy to drive that far for a day of riding and you never know what conditions are going to show up. Some buds and I met up at Strawberry yesterday and it was perfect 12m (for me) wind conditions (we rode at Chicken Creek West). The snow was very marginal but we did have a great time bombing around, boosting, gliding, freestyle, carving. I will say my legs are very sore today from the effort needed to rip thru the cruddy snow to find the crystal underneath. The terrain at Strawb is truly awesome for any folks considering visiting... 45 min drive from Park City. Just takes 12" storm and a high pressure post frontal and its on.

Yes, the H pressure inversion is killing us right now and is normal for Jan- hopefully it moves out soon.

Lastly - today its 50 degrees in Park City (Unheard of temps for end of January!!!)

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby windrupted » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:35 am

No wind on the coast either. No clearing wind events at all. But what about this big blizzard about to dump on the eastern seaboard? I hope RVRat gets a week of powder turns out of it. John, keep us posted.

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby windrupted » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:41 am

And regarding sled tracks: how about when the wind dies, and your a mile from your car? Walking back on a sled track sure beats post holing all the way. Wish they all ran clean burning 4 stroke motors though. Do they still hold drag races up Boscoe's Hill?

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby Hardwater Kiter » Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:45 pm

We all ride AT bindings for long distance rides and carry skins. Post holing your way back is from some places we ride simply is not an option. And these places rarely if ever see sleds either due to restrictions or lack of access.

I'm not a throttle twister. But last season we had a lesson on a lake on a no wind day. Looking at the map there was one place that with the given conditions might have enough wind to pull it off. So we jumped on some 4 strokes (I don't know how people can stand 2 strokes) and pinned it 15 miles out to the spot. It was pretty sick and we've been on the lookout for a sled for our operation. They really do expand the possibilities. From gear hauling, long distance location access or simply recovery when the wind dies. They do serve a pretty handy purpose I hat to admit. :wink:

"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..."

Fernmanus' description of what it is for him to snowkite is something that I imagine is pretty universal to most really dedicated snowkiters. Be it in the Rockies, the plains or on lakes I feel there is some commonality. I know I certainly relate. For me, I love cruising open spaces. First tracks on a lake or field give me just as much joy as first tracks in the hills ever did.

We had a great weekend here. And a fair number of people showed up and it just convinced me further that snowkiting in many places is very much alive and thriving. Maybe going through some transitional changes and some loss of interest due to weather but I can say at least locally, we have a fairly sizeable snow kiting community and it is growing. We've lost some of the long time regulars in the last couple years but there are a lot of new kiters filling the ranks. It really struck me this weekend when half the kiters that we saw were new snowkiters within the last year or two.

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby Windstoked » Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:16 am

Interesting thread. We were wondering the same thing ourselves on a snowkiting trip to Utah this year over the holidays. It was our second snowkite trip, having visited Utah two years ago. We decided to move into snowkiting then, but have had no decent snow or wind in the Sierra nearby.
We arrived at Skyline December 29th, and enjoyed fresh powder and decent wind, and not another kiter or even tracks on Bosco's ridge. We kited east winds the next two days there and saw three other kiters total, but only one other out with us at the same time. Admittedly these were weekdays, but with the holidays, great recent snow and good wind, we were surprised to see so few kiters at one of the supposedly most popular sites in North America.
Downhilled the next two days because of low forecasts and disappointed to see it came in January 1st based on Peter Miller's video. We then hit Strawberry on Jan. 3rd and saw a dozen or so kiters, and had a fantastic day where we were starting to do short glides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RDIxbX-Tig

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby nate76 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:48 am

crabnebula wrote:
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....
Crabnebula, I appreciated your write-up and data, but this point in particular I'm just not sold on. I think the extreme-sports folks have already discovered kiting. Especially if we are talking water: there used to be a sport called windsurfing that guys used to do until another bigger extreme sport came along.

If we are interested in growing the number of people involved in snowkiting (and frankly, there aren't very many people who are interested in this - most of the current active population would like to see the number stay small), then I'm not convinced that continually pushing the "Extreme" label of the sport is beneficial.

I am painfully aware of many individuals in their 30 or 40 somethings (you know, the ones that actually have enough money for a $1000 kite) who are actually dissuaded from trying the sport after watching what is most of the online kiting videos. They are intrigued, but it looks too dangerous. Or they would love to try, but their wife caught them watching kiting videos, and their wife said it is too dangerous. I think in some ways, our eagerness to apply the extreme label has unfortunately cut off much of the potential customer base.

Kiting certainly can be extreme, but it doesn't have to be. And [gasp] believe it or not, it can still be enjoyed in its un-extreme state. Some of my favorite snowkiting experiences have been in 8-10mph dusk or dawn sessions: cruising along on a blanket of snow enjoying the solitude, serenity and amazing colors that only happen in a winter sunrise or sunset.

I get a little tired of the constant mantra that you have to be boosting 50 ft of air or hill gliding multiple minutes to "really" be kiting. This sentiment was echoed again this year at the snowkite summit where someone made the announcement that the only reason we kite is to fly. Well, frankly, that's not true. I have a paraglider for that. In the past I built and flew an experimental aircraft for that. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy jumping and I'm learning hill gliding and think its amazing- but it is not the end-all of kiting, and I still have fun kiting even when I'm not doing that. To belittle those who don't do it is a little short-sighted and probably detrimental to the sport. Its a little like saying, "Bikers bike for one reason: to go down a mountain trail," as if the entire sports industry of road biking didn't exist (I say that as mountain-biker).

I gotta hand it to the New England crowd who gets after it in some pretty nasty kiting conditions and enjoys the heck out of cruising around and getting some serious speed and miles on their lake network out there. It sounds like a blast and I would love to make it out there some time (my wife has family in Enfield, CT - hmmm....). I will have to agree with others that I am always perplexed at the "It's too cold" argument. I don't recall a session that I haven't come back sweating from. Some of it is just getting out one time and getting over the psychological hump; sadly for many more (aka the majority) it is just too much work.

I will say I've never had the trouble of too many kites blocking my view of the sun-kissed mountains at six in the morning, and that's just fine by me!

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby Starsky » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:31 am

Amen brotha!

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby Don Monnot » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:12 pm

With all the reports of big snowstorms in New England, I would guess that the snowkiting conditions there are good this winter (at least now). So how is it there? You guys too busy riding to post?

Where I'm at in the Midwest, we just recently got enough snow to kite on land. Frozen lakes have worked really well just a few times. Most of my snowkiting this year has been on rough ice with thin or no snow. Losing the edge on your switchblade at 30+ mph due to rough ice and then sliding along the bare ice on your arse or back at that speed is a little less than "awesome". The wind we've had has been either ultra light or big wind but so gusty and shifty that it's been really tough riding (on thin rough ice). Not a great winter season so far. I've had a few great sessions, but I've spent way more time at the local, tiny ski hill than I have with a kite.

With that said, though, I still prefer to be under a kite than in line for a lift. I look at how much distance I cover under kite vs. riding downhill at a resort, and it's obvious (to me) why I prefer the kite. My last session under kite I rode 7 miles in 45 minutes. Then it got too dark to see the ruts and tip-ups, so I packed up. A friend rides on a local lake at night, and just posted he did 25 miles before he packed it in. The last time I rode at a ski resort, I rode less than 2 miles in about an hour and a half. I spent way more time waiting in line and riding a lift than going down the hill. If I get the option, I'll deal with rough ice and thin snow rather than ride downhill at a resort.

Don

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby Windstoked » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:50 pm

Thanks for the Midwest report, Don. I guess it's hard to be sure how much of the apparent decrease in interest is just a reflection of the lousy snow for most of the Western US this year. It's raining in Norcal today up to 8000', with sleet to the top of Squaw Valley at 8700'.
Your comments about wasting time in a lift line or on the lift aren't as big of issues out west, where the express chairs and long steep slopes allow significant skiing, and we didn't wait more than a few minutes in some lift lines and most of the time skied right on.
We were thinking if we lived in Salt Lake City and it was 20-30 minutes to downhill ski and the conditions were good, and an hour and a half to Skyline where you might get skunked, we might choose downhill that day also.
The other thing we were struck by was the contrast going from Skyline with three people one day to a ski resort with five thousand the next, and there were another half dozen resorts similarly packed with people nearby. I like that less crowded aspect of snowkiting, but it's also fun to have at least a few others around to share the stoke.

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Re: Snowkiting - are people losing interest?

Postby Anthonyshopguy » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:30 pm

nate76 wrote:
crabnebula wrote: Being on the front end of the curve your describing. I certainly agree with your thoughts. Water has been frustrating and 43 mph speeds on the playa while fun are also very scary. I love nothing more than cruising some fresh pow with the sun setting on the Grand Mesa. PS loved your video on Snow mesa ran into somebody from that area and says he can provide some powered rides up there. Maybe this winter we can get together.


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....
Crabnebula, I appreciated your write-up and data, but this point in particular I'm just not sold on. I think the extreme-sports folks have already discovered kiting. Especially if we are talking water: there used to be a sport called windsurfing that guys used to do until another bigger extreme sport came along.

If we are interested in growing the number of people involved in snowkiting (and frankly, there aren't very many people who are interested in this - most of the current active population would like to see the number stay small), then I'm not convinced that continually pushing the "Extreme" label of the sport is beneficial.

I am painfully aware of many individuals in their 30 or 40 somethings (you know, the ones that actually have enough money for a $1000 kite) who are actually dissuaded from trying the sport after watching what is most of the online kiting videos. They are intrigued, but it looks too dangerous. Or they would love to try, but their wife caught them watching kiting videos, and their wife said it is too dangerous. I think in some ways, our eagerness to apply the extreme label has unfortunately cut off much of the potential customer base.

Kiting certainly can be extreme, but it doesn't have to be. And [gasp] believe it or not, it can still be enjoyed in its un-extreme state. Some of my favorite snowkiting experiences have been in 8-10mph dusk or dawn sessions: cruising along on a blanket of snow enjoying the solitude, serenity and amazing colors that only happen in a winter sunrise or sunset.

I get a little tired of the constant mantra that you have to be boosting 50 ft of air or hill gliding multiple minutes to "really" be kiting. This sentiment was echoed again this year at the snowkite summit where someone made the announcement that the only reason we kite is to fly. Well, frankly, that's not true. I have a paraglider for that. In the past I built and flew an experimental aircraft for that. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy jumping and I'm learning hill gliding and think its amazing- but it is not the end-all of kiting, and I still have fun kiting even when I'm not doing that. To belittle those who don't do it is a little short-sighted and probably detrimental to the sport. Its a little like saying, "Bikers bike for one reason: to go down a mountain trail," as if the entire sports industry of road biking didn't exist (I say that as mountain-biker).

I gotta hand it to the New England crowd who gets after it in some pretty nasty kiting conditions and enjoys the heck out of cruising around and getting some serious speed and miles on their lake network out there. It sounds like a blast and I would love to make it out there some time (my wife has family in Enfield, CT - hmmm....). I will have to agree with others that I am always perplexed at the "It's too cold" argument. I don't recall a session that I haven't come back sweating from. Some of it is just getting out one time and getting over the psychological hump; sadly for many more (aka the majority) it is just too much work.

I will say I've never had the trouble of too many kites blocking my view of the sun-kissed mountains at six in the morning, and that's just fine by me!


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