Snow: Go From Land to Snow in 5 Easy Steps
By Alex Brown
Posted Monday 14th April 2008
It's fun. It's fresh. It's on snow. Can it get better? Yes, Brazil in the sun with chicks in bikinis. But it's still winter (at least in some parts), so why not go snowkiting. Most of you will probably have a kite that can be used on the snow. Anything is useable, from small foils to big tube kites. Here are my 5 easy steps to get snowkiting.
1. Pick out your threads. It gets FREAKING cold when the wind blows through and the snow picks up. Start with a layer of thermals. You can get these from camping stores and outdoor sports stores. Next pick out a good pair of pants. You want to go one size up for snowkiting so that your movement is not restricted. Look for snow pants that have air vents so that you can circulate some fresh air inside.
On top, pick out a couple of long or short sleeve t-shirts. It's best to trap air in layers rather than use one big coat. Trapping the air in layers is a lot more effective at keeping you warm in the wind and snow. Look for a coat, again that has air vents and is one size larger than normal. You want a lightweight jacket that's wind-stopping and has a hood.
Pick out some good fitting boots. It's best to go to a store to have them fitted properly. Lastly, you need some gloves, a hat and some goggles. Goggles are better for snowkiting than glasses because you don't get snow in your eyes when you crash or it starts to snow. Plus it looks cooler.
2. One pump kites will make life nicer. The last thing I could imagine doing on the mountain in minus 30 is messing about with shit valves or trying to get air into an arc of one of those foil kites. But use what works for you. I do suggest you take a one-pump, however. For your bar and lines, any normal set will do. Just check your lines often, especially if you want to jump super high with your kite.
3. Pick out a good kite spot. I've only just started travelling to snowkite, and I have found some great spots in Europe. The Czech Republic offers some gentle hills and flat spots in non-mountainous areas. It feels safer to learn there, and is SUPER cheap. A beer costs 25p man. Austria offers some epic mountain spots. It's a little bit more expensive than CZ, but offers traditional areas to snowkite. Obertauern, for example, offers a snowkite spot right next to a slope. Suitable for flat land, hills, piest and night flying. If there is no wind, grab a lift pass and shred the slopes.
4. Flying on planes. Take a golf bag and pack everything into it. I guarantee it will be cheaper than paying for overweight luggage with crap low budget airlines that charge up to £10 per extra KG. My top tip is to put a gold club and ball on the top, so if you have to un-zip, you got your golf gear ;)
5. Water and land kiting are superb sports to crosstrain with for snow kiting. You can practice while there is no snow about so that when you do hit the white stuff, you can rip. Also, practice your snowboard skills at dry slopes to get used to riding in bindings.
Best, MBS, BasementVision.com