Where Can I Snowkite?
You can snowkite anywhere with wind and snow however the best places are those with few obstacles upwind to disrupt the wind (trees, cliffs, buildings) and no dangers downwind such as rocks, power lines or steep drops. Large open fields, frozen lakes, rolling hills, plateus and glaciers are the most popular – that’s a lot of space!
You, your kite and your board. No lifts needed; you don’t even need a steep slope.
Will the kite pick me up into the air?
Not unless you want it to. Relatively little power is needed to get going on snow because there is so little friction and the kites used are extremely stable and easily controlled. If you do get in to trouble every kite has a quick-release handle which when pulled immediately stops the kite pulling at all.
Even with all the safety measures in place you need to be aware of the terrain around you: the ground can quickly drop away from you when you jump on a slope and uneven terrain can make the wind turbulent.
The kite’s power can be directed and controlled to boost your jumps, power through tricks and float to gentle landings even on flat terrain.
Isn’t it really cold?
With the right gear, no, or at least you won’t be cold: even if it’s a bit chilly outside you will heat up as your muscles work and your insulating clothes will keep the heat in. Unlike skiing or snowboarding there’s no waiting around on lifts while your sweat cools and your fingers freeze. Just try to keep as much skin as possible covered to avoid the cold wind.
Can I go upwind?
As there is so little friction on snow and you have such a sharp edge on a snowboard or skis going upwind is easy, in fact some people find it easier than going downwind.
How much wind do I need?
Usually you need as little as 6kts of wind to get going. That’s like what you feel on your face when you sprint or enough to make leaves rustle. The lower limit does depend on the size of the kite you are using, your weight, your board and the type of snow you’re on.
Can I use any old skis or snowboard?
Yes you can. The kite is the special bit, it can be used to power you nomatter what you’re riding. Snowboarders may want to change to a duck stance as you’ll find yourself riding switch a lot, in fact some snowkiters don’t even notice when they’re freeriding switch!
Do I need lessons?
Yes, you should always take lessons from a qualified instructor. This sport can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Check out our snowkiting schools and holidays to find one near you.
How long does it take to learn?
Courses are usually run over 3 days however experience in sports such as snowboarding, skiing, sailing, surfing and paragliding will really speed up the learning process.
Do I need really strong arms?
No, the pull of the kite is taken off your arms by a harness which you wear around your waist and legs like a climbing harness. Your hands are only used to steer the kite by pulling on the control bar.
What equipment do I need?
You need a kite (including control bar and lines), a board or skis, a harness and safety gear including a helmet and normal snowboarding clothes such as an insulating windproof jacket, trowsers and gloves. If you already have all the kit for skiing or snowboarding all you need extra is a kite and a harness.
How much does it cost to get set up?
A new kite (with control bar and lines) will set you back €580 to €1250 depending on the model and size. Bigger kites, needed by heavier people or for riding in lighter winds, are more expensive than smaller kites. Ozone, with their roots in paragiding, are renowned for making high-quality kites which will last for many seasons and hold their second hand resale value well. Even with a top-end harness at around €70 snowkiting is not an expensive sport when compared to skiing or snowboarding because an expensive lift pass is not needed – the wind is free!
How does it look like in the end?