hello, I am trying to get a little info before i start up some snowkiting... i already snowboard and i was wonderingg...
1. is it possible to snowkite up a 45 degree incline without smacking your kite on the side of the hill? If so, what factors make this more possible, any equipement that improves this, any areas? 2. How easy is it to turn your board, how much 'give' does your line give you, movement laterally, while you are being pulled by kite, how far can you arc back and forth across terrain while being pulled downhill say. 3. is it perhaps the case that amateur snowkiters go on level ground, while experienced snowkiters can learn to go over steep up and down terrain? 4. what areas in the U.S. would provide constant strong wind against the side of a mountain/some hills, where one could snowkite up hills consistently? 5. perhaps a ski area that has a lot of fairly steep * Tunnel * or ravine shaped runs that catch the wind and channel it up or down would give enough constant wind to allow people consistently kite uphill at an angle? I know snowkiting is fairly new so there is probably not a dedicated field like this but perhaps someone knows some area like this? < a trench about 15 foot deep and 30 or 45 feet wide that is positioned so as to channel wind caught travelling thru a mountain pass,trench cut shaped like a hemi-spere/half circle, would be ideal, because your kite would not usually catch the side of the trench or the mountain, it is too low, and you could cross back and forth inside of the trench from side to side, rough terrain can be placed in the trench. if the trench focuses wind then an uphill ride would be easier... sure no place exists like this but could anybody mention something similar they know of?> 6. how fast in general can you get going while snowkiting, does your speed match windspeed, is it say 1/2 of the wind speed on your kite? 7. suppose you smash into ground... what systems can keep you from being dragged over rough terrain? perhaps something that can fold the kite up causing it to land and or retract the kite reel it in?
my favorite part of snowboarding is going downhill over very rough terrain and moguls and navigating like this. I hear lots of snowkiting is done on level ground (providing strong, constant wind speeds to pull you) this just sounds boring. even if you are being pulled, being pulled across flat ground sounds like taking a ride in my car. So I am trying to find out how hard it is to do it over the terrain i would normally select, and if possible to try some uphill.
1. Yes you can and even steeper if you wish. The wind is closer to the ground going up hill as it compresses and creates lift sometimes it gets stronger the higher up you go. No special equipment needed.
2. Don't need alot of room for turning. you don't need speed to plane like water so you can Crab as little as 10-20 feet if needed. going down hill the kite will follow just try not to send it or you could be paragliding. Lots of guys fly foils up pack down and free ski or board on the way down. either kite flys fine as you cruise down hill.
3. Yes you most defintely want to begin on level ground before adding the 3rd dimension. moderate to advanced you won't like flats as much. kiting up hill requires more power input and flying the kite and power looping to pull you up.
4. The rocky mountains are really some of the best snowkiting. there are many places out there. Idaho,montana,wyoming,utah,colorado, new mexico etc.
5. the kite needs smooth air so in a trench as long as you have lots of line outta the hole you'll be fine. closer to the trench will be more turbulent and the kite might behave irradically.
6. depends on how fast you're comfortable with. and how experienced you are with high winds. boards can average 40-50mph skis much higher 50-70 on a speed run. the air is thinner the higher up you are so usually a bit bigger kite and apparent wind is 2-2.5 times wind speed depending on how you are flying the kite, altitude, and increasing windspeed and of course kite size.
7. The snow is very soft and very forgiving. kiting towards cliffs and large boulders isn't a priority. getting dragged through a minefield of rocks is usually what snowkiters usually avoid. safety systems are pretty straight forward when in doubt punch out. kite will sit and wait til your ready and get the snow outta your pants.
Good questions! A lot of these strike right at the short and long term learning in snowkiting. I'm not going to hit all of them but
2- getting this stuff dialed in is part of the fun - your turns can be on a dime or approximating giant slalom turns depending on your kite, wind and surface - because you have some lift involved you are going to need to be able to keep the kite low for the more powered big turns. These turns are best when you are actually carving more than 180 degrees because when you get back past perpendicular to the wind and start going upwind you increase your speed and the turning speed of the kite.
If you are just riding laterally, on a tack we would say, the depth and power through those turns are going to be dependent on how far/fast your kite drifts back into the window as you turn downwind. You're really just carrying your speed here and balancing the kite, then snap back into upwind for more energy input.
4 - lots of areas, you want to learn about wind conditions because some spots are have narrow ranges of ridable wind speed and direction. You can somewhat spot them on google earth if you angle your view to the dominant wind direction and look to see what has a long fetch so your wind is clean.
For most skill levels the best terrain is rolling hills instead of 45 degree mountains - you can have lots of wind lips and rollers that don't break the wind up. Really good snow kiters might travel through some steeper/gusty areas because they are more comfortable with the range of power their kite is going to generate, but in general these aren't areas where you hang out and play - too hard to finesse the riding when your power is up and down.
5 - an uphill terrain park with steady winds is what we're all looking for. Sometimes it works.