“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Snowkiting, The Coming of Another Extreme Sport

Posted by direwolff on February 7, 2007

This past weekend Lil’ Pinot & I made it out to Utah, to meet up with some friends for 3 days of fun in the snow. Well, fun in the high altitude snow that is. At a summit level of 9,597 feet lies Skyline Ridge, two hours south of Salt Lake City just out from the small town of Fairview. Here you find a veritable winter wonderland for just about any extreme snow sport including high-speed snowmobiling, back country skiing and snowboarding, long distance snowshoeing, and of course what motivated us to this distant locale, snowkiting.

As some of you know, I’ve been a long time kitesurfer, and snowkiting is merely a transference of that same sport but on to the snow-pack. A large contingent from the Bay Area was up this weekend, many of whom are avid kitesurfers and windsurfers, deciding to try their hand at snowkiting. It’s safe to say, that while we all had a somewhat sketchy start on the first day, by the second we were all feeling back in our element. Logan Weir, the son of a long time local Crissy Field windsurfer, captured the most awesome day with these great shots…

This guy (I believe his name was Jake) was throwing down some HUGE airs off of various drops but thought the following picture put things somewhat in perspective…

As I mentioned, there was also some wonderful snowshoeing to be done, and in the following picture you can get a sense of the magnitude of the place looking out in one direction. This just happens to be the direction that Lil’ Pinot decided would become the motivation for her 2 hour hike. It was pretty hard core, especially when we saw her dissappear and re-emerge hours later 180 degrees from this direction…

No weekend in the kiting world would be complete without a race to keep every one honest. One of the St. Francis Yacht Club Race coordinators, JK, happen to be on hand to get things rolling smoothly…

All-in-all, a good time was had by all. I will say that snowkiting is not a sport for the meek, and comes with a different set of challenges than kiteboarding. For one thing, your legs get much more tired much faster. Several of the top athletes among our group were getting cramps in their legs. This didn’t stop them from staying out and taking yet another session, but it definitely worked us over. Putting together one’s rig in the cold is not as pleasant as on a nice summer day, but by the third day the temperatures got comfortable enough that this was no longer an issue of concern. The landings from doing big airs are definitely harder, and though riding in the powder makes it more fun, you need to carry a lot more speed to move through it smoothly. Would I do this again, “fo-sho”, will I become as addicted as I have been to kiteboarding, only time will tell.

Tomorrow or later today, I hope to put up another post with a couple of pictures of Lil’ Pinot & P-Air’s adventures in snowkiting :)

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