I have used snow, sand, bocce balls, the ball on my truck and even a soccer goal to keep my kite steady while I am doing other things. But none of them were quite as useful as the ice screw. What is it you ask. Well, the special screws are generally used by ice climbers. You may have noticed them in action on the Coors Light commercials were the guys go to great lengths to deliver the beverage. Back to the point, these are hollow screws with a ring on the end. I bought mine off a fellow kiter but you can find them online. Now why would you want one? As I stated at the beginning, there are times when you need to park your kite, detach and do something else. I really like this when I am setting my gear up before kiting. I attach my safety/bungee cord from my kite bar to the ice screw. Then I run my lines (attached to the bungee) downwind from the screw. I inflate the kite and attach my lines. Then I can set it up on its side at the edge of the window without worrying about it going anywhere. If anything is messed up it becomes really clear at this point but it is still easy to fix as I am not at all attached to the kite. This is a good time to inspect everything. You can also grab onto the bar and try out the kite this way. Again you aren’t attached so you aren’t in any danger of something going wrong. Once you are sure everything is ok you can hook up your chicken loop and then detach the bungee from the ice screw and hook it to your harness. You want to be careful when doing this as you will likely have to take your eyes off your kite for a couple seconds. If you have help the other person could do this for you. You are probably thinking if you had help you wouldn’t need the screw at all. I still like them because it does give you independence. At some point in your session you might want to stop for a snack or rest. Just ski up to the screw, unhook your safety cord from your harness and attach it to the ice screw. Now you are free to do whatever you want without worrying about what your kite is doing. You can be sure it will be sitting right where you left it. If you want to put the kite nose down to keep it still that isn’t a problem either. I have found the ice screw to be worth the money and can’t say enough good things about it.
If you are handy you can probably make your own screw or think of a similar tool to do the trick. If so, let us know about it here.
- An ice screw can make your kite set up and tear down safer
- The ice screw is particularly handy in high wind situations which can be difficult to shut down on your own