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Riding the Wind: Snowkiting to New Heights on Mount St. Helens
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Gear to Get You Going

 

Learning to snowkite can be fast, fun, and safe. Here is the gear you’ll need to get you cruising through the snow.

 

 

Get a Head Start

 

Purchase a 2-3 meter trainer kite and learn the basics of kite flying.

 

A trainer kite offers your first taste of power yet does not require a lesson to fly it safely. Fly it for a few hours, and it will accelerate your learning curve rapidly when you are ready to move to a larger, more powerful kite.

 

Slingshot B2 trainer kite with trainer video.

 

 

Skis Versus Snowboard

 

If you already ski or snowboard, learning to snowkite will come quickly. Use the same skis or snowboard you would ride on the mountain.

 

Skis offer better mobility, since you can walk around with them in deep snow, yet snowboards allow you to float above the powder when riding on the pow days. This is a personal preference and both work great!

 

 

Kites

 

Snow-specific foil kites can fold up and fit into a backpack with ease.

 

Many snowkiters choose to use the same kites used for kitesurfing on water, called “inflatable leading edge kites.” They allow you to use them on both snow and water.

 

A new kite, control bar, and flying lines start at $850. Used kites can be found online for discount prices.

 

 

Waist Harness

 

Good luck trying to hold onto a 10 meter kite for two hours without one of these. You wear the harness around your waist, and it attaches to the control bar so your body weight holds down the power of the kite. You use your arm strength only to steer the kite.

 

Snowkiting takes less strength than you would think.

 

 

Pack the Basics

 

Ride with a small backpack for essentials such as a hydration pack, snacks, phone or radio, and a small camera to show your friends all the cool places snowkiting will take you.

Where to Learn

 

Taking two to three hours of lessons from a certified kiteboarding school in an established location ensures a safe and enjoyable approach to the sport.

 

Lessons start at $99 at the top snowkite schools in America.

 

 

Sierra Snowkite Center

Location: Truckee, California

 

Terrain: Located at the base of Sugar Bowl Resort on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Snowkite Center has flat and undulating terrain with several miles to explore.

 

No wind? No problem. Eight world-class ski resorts are within a 20-minute drive.

 

 

Lakawa School of Kiteboarding

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

Terrain: Minneapolis has no shortage of frozen lakes in the metro area. Lakawa will meet you at the best riding location for the day and have you cruising in less than an hour.

 

 

Colorado KiteForce

 

Location: Lake Dillon, Colorado, at the base of Breckenridge resort

 

Terrain: This is a frozen lake, which is great for cruising. The school often builds freestyle kickers for learning to catch big air and holds frequent snowkite course races.

 

 

Utah Snowkite Center

 

Location: Park City, Utah, and surrounding area

 

Terrain: It’s true what they say about Utah snow (it’s great), and the terrain for snowkiting is equally as good. There are several riding locations available, ranging from wide open flats to large, rolling hills for a great intro to riding big mountain terrain.

 

 

The Next Level

 

Do you already snowkite and want to ride the best snowkite terrain on the planet? Global Sessions offers multiday guided backcountry expeditions with the top pros in the sport. All-inclusive camps are available in Idaho, Montana, and Alaska in the winter, or travel to the South Island of New Zealand in the summer (their winter).

 

 

 

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