Knowing a deep freeze cold front was moving in I was excited to get out kiting before going into temporary hibernation. So Friday afternoon I headed out to put the kite in the air. Temps were in the mid 20s and wind at the truck was around 16mph. I tried to get the 3m Hydra out but the wind wasn’t strong enough to pull me. I had told a couple guys from work were I was going to be and they showed up. So I handed off the trainer kite to one of them and began pumping up my Kahoona 13.5m kite. One of the guys helped me finish pumping – thanks for that. I got the kite up with little problem and was off like a rocket immediately. The snow across the field resembled sand dunes with consistently rolling drifts. Wind packed with a thick crust, you could walk across the snow in most areas. This made the snow fast and easy to glide on top of but a bit scary too. I was stoked.
To put things in perspective, I have had the kite for two winters but only been able to use it as many times. One successful attempt out of a few last winter and this was the first time I tried the big kite this winter. There are things I need to work on for sure. But I have noticed improvement coming out of my few successes and many failures. I have learned a little each time.
Thus far I have been apprehensive about trying the kite in what is probably the necessary wind for fear of being overpowered. This day I noticed the kite was actually pretty easy to depower and control in the teens. There was a lot more power to be had if I wanted – more power wasn’t an issue – especially on the hard pack snow. Something I noted from this is it is easier to embrace some of that speed and keep moving than to try and go to slow. It seemed like as long as I was ok with the speed it was easier to keep the kite in a sweeter spot. I didn’t say sweet spot because I am still working on that. Anyway, I started to understand the figure eight and how that works a while back while practicing in the water but I need to get better not just finding that sweet spot, but staying there.
I was able to incorporate things I learned from my attempts this summer too. Trying to get up from a deep water start over and over and over (you get the picture), made it pretty easy to use the kite to get up out of the deep snow when I fell.
I was starting to doubt whether I was going to be able to make this sport work. But now I have found a spot near home and should be able to get out more. This day renewed and stoked my interest for the sport. Hopefully, it stoked the other guys who were watching into trying it out.
- Don’t be overly afraid of the wind. Trust the wind range of the kite.
- Keep carving against the wind so you don’t lose so much ground to it. That makes for a shorter walk back to the truck.