Ullr, the norsk bringer of snow, has been stingy with the white stuff this winter. I don’t really believe in snow gods but I do know this has been a dismal winter for those who like to play in the pow. On the other hand, this has been a windy winter in western ND. We have had several clippers providing strong winds for days at a time. This past Saturday (February 1st) I took advantage of some 15mph winds on McKenzie Slough. The windchill was well below zero but hey, it is kind of to be expected when your sport calls for wind and snow.
The weather really wasn’t bad. The lake could definitely use more snow cover. It is probably about 60/40 split between snow/ice. The ice is the kind they play the winter classic on – clear and bumpy. One of my skis was bumped off track by a chunk of ice, causing me to mentally prepare for the thought of knocking out a tooth in the very near future. By luck I was able to regain control over my legs which I suddenly found performing involuntary splits. I was expecting to go face first onto the ice with no way of saving myself when I got control back and avoided the impending danger. But this little scare made me think twice about my speed and my attempts to try catching air on these conditions.
Earlier in the week I watched a video on Kiteboarding.com about how get started with jumping. I was kiteskiing but assume most of the principles they mentioned for kiteboarders applies. I also assumed the theories are the same for snow and water. Feel free to correct me if my assumptions are wrong. The idea was to keep the kite steady at 45 degrees and turn up wind to apply pressure against the kite. I didn’t find that this really gave me any lift. Maybe if the wind had been stronger it might have worked. I’ll have to try that next time. But the second part of the kiteboarding.com tutorial went into steering the kite to gain power and lift. So I tried to work this in with my steering and had better results. It took a while to get the feel of lift. Once I started to get it I was able to repeat it and get some small air. By steering the kite from 10 or 2 o’clock towards 12 o’clock I got the extra lift I wa looking for. The tutorial had also prepared me for the downwind travel I got when in the air. So I knew I might need to keep from oversteearing the kite and stalling it. So up around 12 o’clock I would steer the kite back into the direction of travel giving me a soft landing. I got one really nice three or four footer and decided to end it on a good one before I crashed on the ice and ruined the day.
- The jumping tutorial at kiteboarding.com does a good job of explaining this technique to newbs. Check it out.