A few weeks back I was invited by Alannah, my old ski coach and fellow adventure gal from The Campsite Blog, to give kite skiing a try. Obviously my answer was “YAHHH!” Soon I found myself out on Spray Lakes with Jay and Tom, the instructors of Rocky Mountain Snowkite, before I even knew what snowkiting was.
Snowkiting involves either downhill skis or a snowboard and a specially designed steerable kite similar to those used in kite surfing. The best part is you can use any open snow covered surface like an open field or frozen lake; meaning if you live far from the reaches of the mountains, you can still get the exhilarating rush of skiing. Even aerial tricks and big air are all possible with snowkiting. Although big air was beyond my skill level, it was pretty incredible watching some of the guys on the lake soar 20 feet in the air and land soft like a cat!
Now before you get all intimidated about big air and high speeds, not to worry, the learning curve is easy and the instructors at Rocky Mountain Snowkite are the best! They start by introducing you to a training kite without your skis; learning how to lay the kite out, the safety features, how to hold it and how to control it. It’s small so it doesn’t have the power to move or lift you, quickly diminishing all intimidation.
Slowly you progress to being harnessed in (similar to a climbing harness) to bigger kites with your skis on, still using the same techniques you used on the training kite. You quickly get a feel for picking up speed, turning and tacking. When you need a break they have a cute little hut set up on the lake. It’s quipped with a small propane stove for hot drinks and is a comfortable relief from the endless winds on the lake.
At the end of the day I was exhilarated and ready to buy all the equipment I needed to take up the sport! If you’re looking for something different with a dose of adrenaline and a reason to get away from the crowds of the resort, I definitely recommend giving snowkiting a try with Rocky Mountain Snowkite.