re-sized snowkiting

Snow Kiting Expo in Minnesota this weekend

Snow kiting is all the rage up in Minnesota this weekend – let’s hope you guys get some good wind and have a great weekend. Information for this event comes from the Duluth News Tribune.

The annual Island & Boulder Lake Snow Kiting Expo will be held Feb. 7-8 from noon to 5 p.m. each day.

The event, sponsored by University of Minnesota’s Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP), will be held at the Island Lake bridge area off County Road 4 Saturday, while Sunday’s will be held at Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, about 18 miles north of Duluth.

So what is this extreme sport all about and who came up with the idea of the human body bridging the gap – creating the link between the kite and skis/snowboard/skates?

“Essentially, in the European Alps, people were goofing around with paragliders and they would climb up a mountain and then fly off,” said Randy Carlson, coordinator for snow kiting (among other things) for RSOP. “From that came a simplified version of the paraglider that could be used on land. In Hawaii, they evolved into inflatable kites that could be relaunched off of water.”

For the Minnesota winter version of the sport, a participant uses a kite that’s anywhere from 3 to 18 meters in length. There are lines traveling down from the kite to a control bar. A participant then attaches the bar to a harness, all the while wearing skis or a snowboard (even skates, which is more difficult).

The snow kiter then uses his or her skis or snowboard to edge into the snow and travel across the wind.

The expo is designed to showcase the sport to people who are new to it. There will be introduction sessions at the event as well.

“It’s a tremendous exercise,” Carlson said. “If you’re an Alpine skier or snowboarder, you’ll appreciate the power that the kite provides. The edging that you have to do is every bit as rigorous as going on an Alpine ski run with the advantage [of] continuous action. … You just go where you want to go with the kite. Some people like touring and just seeing new parts of the lake.”

Having some kind of experience involving kites, skis or snowboards would be a plus to anyone participating. (Snow kiting is typically done with winds of at least 10 mph.)

“If speed is your thing, Alpine skis are going to allow you to go faster,” Carlson said. “When people are starting with the kites, Alpine skis; it’s easier to stand up on them. … If you’re an avid snowboarder who can get down an Alpine ski run, then you’ll be alright starting with a snowboard.”

For more information about snow kiting, the upcoming event and Boulder Lake, visit these Web sites:

See what this extreme is all about in this video from bada55ba55

And check out this great video from DZIDAproduction – it is 4 mins 19 secs long, of which the first 2 mins 45 secs is a well put together production demonstrating the gracefulness of this extreme sport and the remaining 1 min 30 secs is of this guy flying with his kite – he is well high and not in control – for all that time and thankfully he comes in for a safe landing – wicked! Unlikely to happen in Minnesota – you need a decent mountain to get such air.

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