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Advice for hill ascents/descents

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SaulOhio
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Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby SaulOhio » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:17 pm

I am hoping to go to Ragnarok for my second time next year, and need to learn a thing or two about dealing with hills. I didn't want to jump off the hills like I saw some people doing, especially since I had broken a line a couple months before on a medium sized jump on ice.

Not me, but what I want to learn:


So I am going to get regular lines to replace the racing lines on my Ozone R1's, so I can trust them better in the air.

But what about technique? How much does my experience getting air from the water or on flat ice translate into controlling my descent from a big hill? On my first trip to Ragnarok, I found myself slowly inching my way down the hills to avoid getting air, which really cost me a lot of time. What would happen if I just let myself go, trying to stay on the ground as I descend the hill, keeping the kite down near the surface? I may be able to handle the speed, but what is that going to do to the kite?

I would like to travel out West (I live in Ohio) to find some of that kind of terrain this winter (Maybe this December). Any suggestions?

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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby plummet » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:27 pm

First up I dont snow kite. I Kitebuggy in sand dunes. The kite flying technique remians the same for hill flying. But i don't want to get too much air because any landing is absorbed by my spine as im sitting down. So i can help with dot getting air technique. It depends on the direction compared to the wind to what technique you use going down hill. The most likely place to get air is down slope upwind. In that instance if you dont want to get air, carve higher upwind and put your kite low. The more upwind you go the slower you go. Then at the bottom of the hill you are upwind of others and you can crank faster a broadreach on a downwind tack.

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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby joriws » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:51 pm

If you go with skis I recommend going face first like a paraglider inverting bar from normal kite position, red to right hand. You need speed to get lift-off and steer kite above you before lift off. Be very careful while flying that you don't turn kite too quick and get out of control due to swinging. Wing fly direction parallel to your trajectory is important. I wear additional climbing harness to clip on. Put strong safety clip directly to depower line. Set depower limit ball to somehow powered position. Use bar (AoA) to control flying height. When swapping lines check your mixer lines. They carry a load. Also check lines underneath floaters.

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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby geopeck » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:04 pm

Down hill gets weird, most of the fun I have snowkiting is uphill because you're using force of the kite against the force of gravity, making it fun to fly the kite actively and use lots of power. Downhill it's the opposite, kite and gravity are working together, plus the general fun of dropping some shelves or picking your line is going to work against you. Also the wind will be worse in all those areas so more likely to stall, luff, bowtie etc, depending on the angle of the hill to the wind.

In terms of picking your line you have to figure that there is a smaller range of angles and speeds that will keep the kite flying right while also keeping enough of your weight on the ground to maintain comfortable edging and control. Your line through terrain gets dictated by the kite instead of what your rider's eye picks out. To me it's less cool - riding downhill while flying a kite seems like a combination of two things that don't need to happen together, like riding downhill and juggling, or riding downhill and doing a crossword. As riders, we can get everything we need out of a hill, as kiters we need to keep the kite reactive but not overpowering.

A few things I'm doing when downhill with the wind - be ready to make quick slashes upwind or jump turns just long enough to redirect or reposition the kite. Keeping the kite high instead of low gives more opportunity to keep it off ground, out of bushes, in cleaner air. Tough on your neck tho.

The big counterintuitive move is having the bar all the way in, even into the stall zone. That's how you get a good drift, especially with a foil.

A depowered kite is going to try to fight it's way to the edge of the window and with a foil it will collapse LE inward when you overrun it. It's a little uncomfortable at first but powering up and stalling the kite back into the window gives you a lot of kite stability and a bigger range of angles to travel at.

If I'm going downhill into the wind the kite also stays a little higher, bar goes out so that it will travel well with me, speed is dictated by keeping enough weight on the ground to maintain control.

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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby geopeck » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:51 pm

Yeah, I may have missed your point that you wanted to fly down, thought you were talking about getting down fast and fun

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SaulOhio
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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby SaulOhio » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:43 pm

geopeck wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:51 pm
Yeah, I may have missed your point that you wanted to fly down, thought you were talking about getting down fast and fun
Its not about fun. Its about fast, because its during a race.

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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby kitexpert » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:49 pm

It is easiest to go downhill with a kite by heading against the wind. Then you can point your skis straight down and use your kite as a brake. Kite is then low and you control braking by sheeting in/out. With this technique it is possible to descent very steep hills. Speed can be so fast your ears are popping - at least mine are.

Other directions are trickier. Going down with the wind can be a real pain, and this wind is usually of poor quality.

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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby matthepp » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:42 am

Saul,
I grew up in NW Ohio, and now I live in Colorado. So, please consider yourself invited to come out to train any time this winter, I have a crash pad for you. I did Ragnarok year before last and loved it. It was clear that a lot of people didn't know how to deal with the hills. Dropping down from Gate 2 was a big steep hill that went straight upwind. Just like kitexpert says, pick a line that balances wind and gravity with the kite sheeted way out and edge hard. Flying down the hills during a course race seems like a stunt but maybe I'm missing something. Regardless, that's probably not the time or place to learn potentially catastrophic high gliding techniques.
Other than that one steep hill, all I remember needing to do was to push through my right leg as hard as I could for 5 hours. My knee is still sore!!
Good luck!
Matt

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SaulOhio
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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby SaulOhio » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:35 pm

matthepp wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:42 am
Saul,
I grew up in NW Ohio, and now I live in Colorado. So, please consider yourself invited to come out to train any time this winter, I have a crash pad for you. I did Ragnarok year before last and loved it. It was clear that a lot of people didn't know how to deal with the hills. Dropping down from Gate 2 was a big steep hill that went straight upwind. Just like kitexpert says, pick a line that balances wind and gravity with the kite sheeted way out and edge hard. Flying down the hills during a course race seems like a stunt but maybe I'm missing something. Regardless, that's probably not the time or place to learn potentially catastrophic high gliding techniques.
Other than that one steep hill, all I remember needing to do was to push through my right leg as hard as I could for 5 hours. My knee is still sore!!
Good luck!
Matt
They must have set up pretty much the same course, because that's where we had to do the really steep descent this year, right after Gate 2. I saw one guy just take off into the air and drift down right in front of me. Unfortunately my GoPro had given out by then.

I may take you up on the offer. Or are you going to Skyline this year?

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Re: Advice for hill ascents/descents

Postby plummet » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:10 pm

I would think that you would be able to go faster on the surface rather than in the air. Unless the surface was so rough that you couldn't go fast.


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