SNOWKITING



Snowkiting is becoming popular in places often associated with skiing and snowboarding, such as, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the western United States. Snowkiting is an winter boardsport, this sport is practiced outdoors, integrating the airfoil and techniques used in kitesurfing, with the footgear and gliding surface used in snowboarding. You should take your skis or snowboard and your kite and you're ready. Both Snowboard, alpine skis and Telemark skis can be used during snowkiting. In the early days of snowkiting, foil kites were the most common type; nowadays some kitesurfers use their water gear for snowkiting, and it is not uncommon to see tubekites also. Snowkiting differs from other alpine sports, in that it is possible for the snowkiter to travel uphill with ease when the wind is blowing in the right direction. Like kitesurfing, snowkiting can be very hazardous, and should be practiced with care.

Equipment


2-Line Foil kites:
2-line foils offer good performance and are easy to fly and easy to learn. 2-line foils are conducted using a bar making them very simple to control. Some 2-line foils offer third brake line for added control and safety. The PKD Buster kites can be easily converted to a control bar that incorporates a chicken loop for connecting to your harness. A 2-line foil connected to a harness can be flown with one or both hands.

4-Line Foil Kites:
4-line foils are conducted using two handles and offer better, more precise control that two line kites. The 4-line kites are a little more demanding as they generally require two hands to fly. A 4-line foil will have a certain "feel" that a two line kite will not. This due to the more precise control that the handles offer. A good example of a 4-line foil is the PKD Buster. This is a great performing, economical kite that will take you from beginner up to intermediate flying. We stock most sizes of the PKD Buster. The Flexifoil Rage and BladeIII kites are also 4-line kites and can be purchased with handles for true 4-line flight or with a control bar for 2-line flight with a third brake line.

Depowerable Kites:
Depowerable foil kites are becoming very popular. Think of the depower system as a throttle. As you move the control bar in and out, the shape of kite is changed which results in a change in power. A depowerable kite is an excellent and safe means of flying large kites in wide wind speed ranges. One depowerable kite can take the place of two or even three fixed bridle kites. The Flexifoil Sabre is an excellent example of a depowerable kite.

Snowkiting Snowkiting


Inflatable Kites:
Originally designed for water applications, inflatable kites also work well on snow. Because of their rigid design, inflatable kites perform rather better in extreme light wind because they do not rely on air pressure to maintain their shape. Many people choose inflatables because they can be used in the summertime on water, thus eliminating the need to purchase two quivers of kites, although for best performance, your water kite will be larger than your snow/land kite. We recommend using foil kites on land and snow and purchasing a properly sized inflatable if you wish to enjoy summertime kiteboarding. Another downside to inflatable kites on snow is that they are less durable and you need to pump them up, which is not always fun in cold conditions.

Harnesses:
A harness is not totally necessary, but it will take the pull of the kite off of your arms and put it into the harness. All kite styles can be used with a harness although only kites with a control bar come with a quick release "chicken loop". This allows you to quickly ditch the kite if you fall or the kite gets overpowered. A 4-line kite controlled with handles can be connected to a harness, but this should not be done until you are experienced with your kite as there is no quick release to ditch the kite in a hurry.

Safety:
The question is not whether you will fall, but when. You should use a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. We generally see people snowkiting without this safety gear although a helmet should still be considered required equipment. You should also have some sort of device that kills your kite if it gets away from you. These are called Kite Killers and should be used with all 4-line foils. We stock the Flexifoil Kite Killers.