Strawberry River (AKA The River) is the first commonly known launch at the Strawberry Reservior Area (It is possible to launch near Daniel''s Summit Lodge, but we will look at that site later).
Strawberry River is located on the left side of Highway 40 and has a sign marker on the road. It is also a popular place for snowmobiles.
Best Wind Directions: N - NW
Other possible wind directions are S - SW, E - SE, and West. However there are other locations at Strawberry that work better on those directions.
Coverage and Obstacles: Strawberry River is usually the first area to have adequate snow coverage. Obstacles are few and easily avoided. There are snow fences near the road and a few posts marking the snow machine path as well as trees. Small creeks are also sneaky and can ruin your day, keep your eyes peeled for sudden dips or long-winding creek beds and cross in areas where the snow is deep.
Wind Shadows of Note: The launch is at the parking lot and the wind tends to be light and sporadic there on light wind days. On those days, your best bet is to loop your kite up the nearby hills. The plains area that is just over a little rise and to the east of the launch area can be difficult to navigate back upwind. Riders will often bail and walk up the road. There is also a small valley to the NE of the launch that has trapped more than one rider on a light-wind day.
Best Features: The prominent hill to the east near the road is a popular spot for both gliding and making powder turns. The same is true of the hills to the NE of the launch. Lesser known features: 1. Cross the road to the south and ride the small hill directly across from the parking lot. 2. Go upwind a half mile from the launch and there are several gliding hills and wide open fields. 3. On a windy north wind day, one can go east past the prominent gliding hill to a giant gliding hill that is obvious from the road.
Downwind Potential: it is possible on a north day to do a downwinder to Coop, but it is tricky or you can cross the road and ride almost to the Road to the Marina until a line of power poles blocks your way.
What to Avoid: it can be tempting to stop at the River if you see a kite in the air, but a kite in the air does not guarantee ideal conditions. If the wind is light, the wind is more likely to be stronger at the downwind locations as the elevation tends to gain a bit at some of the later locations. I also recommend Chicken Creek or Ladders for beginning kiters as the wind tends to be more steady at both of those locations. The wind is also more puffy on a west wind at the River and better at downwind locations.
Best for: intermediate to advanced kiters just after a front has pushed through. Lots of powder field and hills to shred. Best spot early in the season or during a low snow year.
Wind forecasting: i use the weather page at http://www.utahwindriders.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page. There is a point forecast for Strawberry. I check the Daniels Summit Lodge meter reading. Daniels Summit Lodge is in a wind shadow, so the meter always reads low. I look for wind speeds of 9 gusting to 15 before I head out with a big kite. Unfortunately, it is really hard to plan in advance as to what will happen on any given day. Forecasts can change the morning of, so if you are traveling here, plan on an open schedule for maximum kiting.
Visibility: There are two cameras for Strawberry on the UDOT Commuterlink website. You will have to move the map over to the Strawberry area and click on the cam. It is no fun to kite in a white room, so always check the cam size before heading out on a storm day.