ND kiteboarders on Facebook?!

What is this Facebook thing? Kite ND is now on Facebook. Get the latest updates on the central North Dakota kiteboarding scene by joining the ND Kiteboarders Facebook group. That will be your best bet for finding last-minute kite sessions or session mates. Come back to this site for more detailed reports and helpful info.


Kiteboarding origins?

I saw this video titled, “Kitesurfing – A true beginning of the sport in 1958.” I couldn’t help but share it. It might have more  to do with parasailing than kiteboarding or kiteskiing but you might think it is fun anyway.

Check it out: 

Kite tubing – the next big thing?

Want to know what the next big thing in kite sports is going to be? Well don’t look here. But if you just want something wacky to do you could give this kite tubing thing a try.  Yes, kite tubing.  North Dakotans are crazy and this is proof. It all stems from the sub-zero winters. Darin from Mandan is credited for starting this new sport. He found a way to have summer fun in a new way with his Hydra 300 and an inflatable tube.  As he put it, “Ya the tube is ok, but needs fins or a rudder because once and in awhile it would spin me around haha.” I especially like the person hanging onto the back of the tube working as ballast and a rudder. So this might not take off the way kiteboards have but fun is fun. Just be safe.

kite tubing
Kite tubing in central ND

The first ever Event at Huff Hills

Come join in the most extreme obstacle race to hit ND! The Event at Huff Hills Ski Area will feature nearly 3 miles of course, with 12 crazy and challenging obstacles! This race isn’t about getting in shape, or changing your life, it’s about having FUN! Join us on June 29th, and get ready to have your best day EVER! Race will be broken into waves, with the first wave tentatively scheduled to depart at 3:00 PM.  The race will continue all day, and will feature great music, food and of course beer!  A portion of the proceeds will support the Bismarck Cancer Center to promote the fight against cancer, and support LOCAL cancer survivors!

This race will feature 12 obstacles that will push you! Information on obstacles will be released soon, but two obstacles will remain secret until race day! You won’t know what to expect until you hit the course!

The race will be timed using chip timing, so registration will close prior to the race. We will accept walk-up registrations on the day of the event if you do not wish to be timed.

Medieval Rush – July 6, 2013

This is off topic but worth noting as an event for those who enjoy crazy sports in ND. The event will be held in Bismarck, ND, July 6, 2013. Check the website for more details.

The Medieval Rush, an All-Terrain run that tests your Guts, Glory, Honor and Medievalism will be held in Bismarck. The conquering ground is 5.1ish Kilometers with a grueling set of obstacles.  The Moat of Mud, Hells Fires, Castle Walls and Barbed Wire Frenzy are just a few. Other events to participate in during the day are Team Tug O War, Stone Throw, Tomato Toss and Medievalist Man. Medieval Rush is a day full of entertainment where participants and spectators alike have a Medieval Time of Sport, Food, Music, Live Full Medieval Fights and BEER.


Missouri Valley Fairgrounds
3805 E Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58504

More Info:

United Airlines response to inconsistant baggage fees for kiteboarding gear

You may have already read my post about  the United Airlines baggage fees I was charged on a trip to TX. If so skip the next couple lines. If not, the story goes like this. I was charged twenty-five dollars for my kite gear on my way to South Padre, TX. On the way back I was charged a hundred dollars for the exact same set up. I requested a refund for the difference on the way back and was denied. I got two responses from United and here they are.
Email response:

Dear Mr. Cook:
Thank you for contacting United Airlines. Please forgive our delayed response. We are committed to responding in a timely manner and are doing everything possible to optimize our efficiency. 
When traveling with a kiteboard we have a service fee of $100 each way. Please view the link below. http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/baggage/sports.aspx
I regret we are unable to refund baggage fees. I am sorry for the inconsistencies as you should have been charged each way.

Thank you for your patience. 
Kind regards,
LaRece Sykes
Customer Care Mmanager

Written response:

United realizes that at times it may be necessary to travel with an item that exceeds weight limitations where additional charges may apply. In this event, all charges must be disputed at the time of payment for refund consideration. No refund will be considered after that time; therefore we are unable to honor your request.
Please be assured that United Airlines values your business and we look forward to serving you again in the future.
Customer Refund Services

So there you have it. If you fly United with kiteboarding equipment expect to pay the hundo. Now that said, a friend took the exact same two flights I did and was charged twenty-five both ways so you could get lucky. But I would recommend another airline altogether. The last line of their response letter should have read, “please be sure United values your money and looks forward to taking it from you again. We will let you leave town with your stuff but then we will coerce you into paying a lot more to get it home. Of course you could always leave it with us in the airport if you don’t like it.”

My point wasn’t really to bash United but just to give other kiters the awareness of what they might get into flying with them. Expect to pay extra baggage fees.

Gladiator Rush update

The Gladiator Rush is invading Huff Hills Ski Area South of Mandan, ND on June 30th!   This race will feature a 2+ mile course of hill climbs, Mud pits, wooden walls, haybales, dumpsters and scrap cars.  It promises to be a difficult challenge and at the same time, one of the greatest parties you will attend!

 Registration ends this weekend, so don’t miss your chance!  The race organizers are cutting off registration at 3,000, and it is almost full so don’t miss your chance!  Hit up www.gladiatorrush.com for more info or to register!

United Airlines handling of kite gear

When I noticed United Airlines started adding kiteboarding gear as part of their accepted sporting goods equipment I was pretty happy. As usual though the airlines let me down. I had different experiences getting my kite gear checked at different airports. Upon further review of their policy since returning home I found some problems with the policy.

I flew United from ND to South Padre, TX. On the way down I got through the check-in process without any trouble. I paid the checked-bag fee of twenty-five dollars as the policy states and went on my way. This was how I expected the transaction to go down.

Returning home things went differently. I had the same bag and the same contents inside. But this time I was assessed an oversize bag fee of $100. When I stepped up to the check-in area the woman asked if the bag contained kite gear. I answered with a yes. She then said it would be a hundred dollars. I told her the policy stated kite gear was to be treated as a simple checked bag according to her airline’s policy unless it didn’t meet the criteria as set out in the policy. She was unaware of the policy and asked another woman to look it up. Sure enough she came back with the policy in hand and stated my bag was to big to qualify. She hadn’t measured it yet. As you can see United had already decided I wasn’t getting through without the added fee.

Knowing my bag was sixty inches long I asked that she measure it. She measured the bag from end to end and then the height on both ends and told me the result was seventy-two inches. I then told her she measured incorrectly. What reason would there be to measure the height twice and add that into the total? She never even measured the width. So she didn’t measure correctly but it wouldn’t have mattered. The policy states length plus width plus height. After further review of the policy and checking with some kiteboard pros I have determined no kiteboard would be allowed to fly at the regular fee. This is because no kiteboard would fit within their restricted dimensions. In order to do so under the policy as written a kite board would need to be 1″ x 48″ x 13″. Or at least some dimensions similar to that adding up to less than 62″.  Maybe someone has a board like that but it is too small to fit the norm. Isn’t that what the policy is written for?

Wakeboards, snowboards and downhill skis are not limited by this strange set of dimensions and therefore allowed to fly at the regular rate. As far as the airline is concerned, what is the difference between a wakeboard and a kiteboard? Sure there are some kiteboards which would be closer to the surfboard category and probably should be charged as such but many are not. When I travel with my ski equipment I am probably traveling with more surface area and weight than with my kite gear but I have never had any trouble with it all. Well, United did temporarily lose my skis once.

Anyway, I couldn’t leave the bag at the airport and go home without it. Since I couldn’t reason with her I told her to charge it and I would dispute it later. So I will be having a conversation with United about the difference I found between their check-in process at the two different airports as well as the discriminatory way their policy is written towards kiteboard equipment. I will keep you posted on how this turns out.

First time skiing in 2012

If you haven’t heard, we don’t have any snow out here in central ND. That isn’t an exaggeration. We really do not have any snow. In fact, I have grilled out more this winter than I did this past summer. And I don’t like grilling in the cold. But that hasn’t kept Huff Hills from making snow. In spite of the terrible winter we have had, they have done a pretty good job keeping the hill painted white.

I headed out there for a couple hours to check it out on a bright sunny Friday afternoon. The snow was softened by the warm sun which is nice with snow from a cannon. I have been itching bad to get on my skis in any way possible this winter. So I got to make some turns and it felt good. Check them out if you have the itch too and need to scratch it any way you can.