The predictions were for snow early and wind about 2. The snow was more like oatmeal but the wind did come up quickly about 3pm. This is a reality of our sport out here on the prairie. People often say the wind blows all the time here. I tell them to buy a kite and it will stop. Of course the wind doesn’t cease but owning a kite increases your awareness to the wind and the quality of the wind. You start to understand even when the wind is blowing it may be too light or dangerously on the other end. It isn’t uncommon to get what happened today – the wind was still as Mona Lisa’s smile for most of the day. Within an hour or two it quickly rose to around 16mph with gusts over 20mph. Then, like an angry toddler given an iPad, the wind quickly stilled as darkness fell. In just a couple hours the tantrum was over and so was my kiting session.

Perhaps I should get to the point. All the wind towers dotting the ND prairie confirm this is a windy region (Side note – you do not want to kite into one of those).  But before you join the “wind energy is all we need”  advocates you need to get a kite. You should to do that anyway. The reason I say this is because the wind is really inconsistent out here. It will blow at a perfect 15-20mph while your at work and then drop to zed when your not. Seriously, a flexible schedule is necessary to maximize the use of your kiteboard up here. Unfortunately the wind doesn’t blow just the way we want on the weekends. I have watched blizzards coming in to try and catch that sweet hour or two between flag down and flag ripped off the pole. This isn’t the gulf where the wind makes a decision and sticks with it most of the day. Our wind is variable and gusty. If you want the perfect day you need to be patient, vigilant and opportunistic. You have to watch for those perfect conditions and then drop everything and go when they arrive. If you aren’t so picky, and I am not, you go when you can and make the best of it. And there are many of those days. Don’t worry, once your kite is in the air and your sailing 25mph across a frozen lake, you won’t be thinking “I wish I was back at work.” You will be smiling, relaxed and happy.

Now a note about my session yesterday. The wind came up and the sun was getting ready to go the other way. I quickly grabbed my stuff after work and was on McKenzie Slough in half an hour. I keep my stuff together so I don’t have to look for it when the time is right. The ice was good. The snow cover was patchy but navigable. I forgot my ice screw but at 16mph the setup was pretty easy so it wasn’t necessary. It was a quick session but fun and I got to finally give my 10m Rally a good run. It will take a little getting used to .vs my 13.5m Kahoona. The 10 is quite a bit quicker and surprised me on a couple turns and jumps. Looking forward to the next session to dial in the timing with this kite.

See you out there soon.


5 thoughts on “Something about prairie winds

  1. Hey friend.. I’m looking for more kiters in the ND area. I plan to kite on Lake Sakakawea this summer. Write me back if you want. I would like to hook up with some like minded individuals this summer if possible to shred the big lake..

    1. Where abouts are you.. I have been looking at Sakakawea state park as a launching point. Went up last weekend to scout some launch sites (although 1/2 the lake is still iced over) looked like a couple decent spots to set up.

  2. Hello, I am new to kite boarding and am hoping to make the most of the upcoming summer to progress into the sport. Have you ever tried kiting lake sakakawea? I was thinking there may be better wind out on the big water. Thinking of staging a camper up there as a sorta kiting base camp for the summer.

    1. I have not kited on the big lake – Sakakawea. I was out on the little lake next door, Audobon, once this winter. From what I have heard though is that it is best to have a boat or other transportation to find the right spot and have support in case the winds change or something else happens. I am not sure of your skill level so I can’t really say how it would be for you. The attraction to that lake is obvious but smaller bodies of water could be more forgiving. New Johns Lake isn’t nearly as big but open and accessible on all sides. Hope that helps a little.

      1. Mr. Kitend,
        I have done a little snowkiting over the last year, I moved from Montana a couple years ago and did my share of snowboarding before I left so hopefully the transition to water wont be to bad. Just got back from Gulf Shores AL where I hit the water for the first time. Would you and your kiting brethren consider hitting the big lake this summer, or perhaps I could search you out else where, its a lonely world for a kite flier in this state. As Mr. Anonymous said like minded individuals would be nice..

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