Snow Kiting and Kite Skiing are a lot easier to learn than kiteboarding on the water. It is easy to stand on snow, which makes the whole process easier. It also takes a lot less wind to drive a board or skis across snow than it does across water. The whole learning experience is lot less daunting as you need much less power and wind to get you moving.
In addition, holding an edge in snow is much easier than in water making up-wind progress much easier to master. All you need is snow and a power kite and you can turn a cold winter’s day into a blistering, adrenaline-soaked experience!
To Snow Kite or Kite Ski you will want a foil type kite since it is completely soft in structure and cannot be damaged easily when the kite is slammed into the ground. Foils are also capable of reverse launching which is very important for re-launching these kites from the snow.
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Choosing the Proper Kite Size
Unlike water, snow conditions change daily. When you consider a kite size, you must also take into consideration the main style of terrain. It will take more kite power to pull you in fresh powder than it will on packed snow or icy conditions. The most popular size for most winds and and terrain is the 5.0 square meter. The 5.0 is ideal for the medium winds of 14-20mph. A 3.5 will work in higher winds, over 18mph and a larger 7.0-9.0 foil will be the preferred size for lighter 10-15mph winds.
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Static vs. De-Powering Foils
Recent advancements in technology have brought us foil kites that are capable of de-powering (often called “sheeting”) Foils with de-powering systems are far superior to “static” quad line kites for many reasons. De-powering foils have a control bar that has a hole drilled in the middle to allow the center lines to pass through the control bar and into your harness. This allows the control bar to “float” on the center lines and takes all the pull off your arms and grip and into the harness. Pushing the bar away from you decreases power. Pulling the bar towards you increases power. Not all quad lines are capable of de-powering it is an integrated design of the control bar and the kite. Here are a few more things to know:
Know The Difference
- De-Powering Foils allow for kiting in a much greater wind range. The kite will fly to the edge of the wind window as you decide how much power you want by adjusting the de-power strap.
- Safer – You can depower the kite with a simple flick of the wrist to avoid being overpowered.
- The Smoothest Power Delivery – Moving the bar is like having shocks to asborb the variable wind speeds/gusts. The change happens almost instantly–allowing for longer and safer sessions.
- There is NO advantage to having a static quad line kite over a de-powering quad line kite other than the static kites are far more affordable in price.
- Our De-Powering Foils include the Ozone Frenzy & Apex II kite and the Montana IV kite!
Where Will You Be Sailing?
When choosing a kite, consider what’s around you. The snow kite size you use will also depend on the surface you’re kiting on. Snow Kiting on hard packed snow or ice takes a lot less power than deeper powder conditions. Some of the best snow kiting is done on a frozen lake as you have unobstructed wind flow and you know there is nothing under the snow like branches or rocks.
Consider Your Skill Level
The next consideration is your skill level. Also consider your athletic ability. The larger the kite the more power it generates and more demanding it is for you physically. If you are just getting started, the best choice is the smallest kite that will produce enough power to move. It is essential not to be overpowered, not just because it’s obviously safer but, less power is easier to manage. No one kite will cover the entire wind range, so start with a smaller kite and then get a larger kite later.
Consider Your Weight
You should also consider your size. The bigger you are, the more sail you will need to pull you around. If you are over 180 lbs, you should be looking at 5.0 sq. meter kites to start with. If you are less than that you can go with a 3.5 to start with.
Selecting A Place To Ride
Make sure it is a large area free of all obstacles. Consider what might be under the snow. You don’t want to land on a sharp pole, etc. Pay attention to the area directly downwind of the riding area. You don’t want to get pulled into a roadway, etc. Flat land or rolling hills is much preferred over mountains and you must find a place with consistent winds. Choose a snowboard with a long effective edge to resist against the kite, but is still short enough to keep the swingweight down. Kite Skiing works with nearly any type of skis, but typically shorter (lighter) skis allow for more air and bigger tricks.
The Rush Pro 350 package – This package includes 3.5 sq. meters of power with the Rush Pro 350 by HQ. This quad line kite includes a control bar, complete with lines, and kite backpack, it’s only $259.99!
For the best in performance, price, and safety we highly suggest our Snow Kite Package! Featuring the Apex IV De-powering Kite, Dakine Renegade harness, and a FREE Snow Kite instructional DVD!