Snowkiting

Eddie Petranek snowkiting down a hillSnowkiting is a winter version of windsurfing. It involves using the wind, a kite, skis or something similar and the snow to allow yourself to be transported across all kinds of terrain. By changing the direction the kite flies into the wind, a snowkiter can start, turn, stop or even jump.

The sport is relatively new. Parachute-skiing started in the early 1970’s. By the 1980’s, skiers used reconfigured parachutes to ski on a frozen bay in Erie, Pennsylvania. Manufacturers then developed “foils” for snowkiting and interest in the sport exploded.

The foils used in snowkiting can cost anywhere from $200 to more than a thousand. Typically, four lines will go up to the kite. Two of them are used for turning and two of the lines are used for the amount of power that you get out of the kite. There is a bar system that allows you to adjust which lines you are pushing or pulling to make the kite change its direction of flight.

To snowkite, you need winds of at least six to about 20 miles an hour. You can then use skis, a snowboard, or even a sled along with your kite. Pros suggest taking some lessons before trying the sport on your own. They also say Idaho has great terrain for snowkiting so get out and soar!