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Wind Power Attends Snow-Kite Masters Event in Salt Lake City, Utah

Wow! A dream finally come true!  I finally made it to Salt Lake City for some SnowKiting in the Mountains and to participated in the SnowKite Masters Event! Something on my bucket list since I heard of it a number of years ago.  I had been out to Salt Lake skiing in 1983 with my brother Andy and Friend Jerry Kiesow form work.  We had an awesome time, skied 9 different mountains with the last being Jackson Hole.  I always wanted to go back there but with my new addiction to windsurfing I was spending all my vacation time on the beaches.

We satisfied our addiction in the winter by sailing of some form on the lakes. Voila! Along comes Kiting! With the advent of kiting we were soon satisfying our new addiction in the winter again kiting on the lakes and sometimes on land given the right conditions.  Soon the magazines were featuring articles on SnowKiting.  As soon as I saw that I my desire to return to Utah started to re-flame.  4 years ago Bob LeGault, one of my friends a windsurfing/Kiting student of mine was relocated to Salt Lake City for his job.  We have stayed in touch and he would tell me stories of him kiting in the mountains with some of the best SnowKiters in the USA.  Of course he invited me and friends to come out and join him.  Last year Mark Grienert one of my better traveling buddies were trying to make the trip happen.  Sad to say, too many things got in the way.  I told myself next year it would be my most important trip.  I made it happen this year but sad to say none of my other kiting friends could make it.

Bob picked me up at the airport Tuesday and we stopped at his house and quickly loaded up and headed to Strawberry Reservoir, where he was in a competition, placing 2nd in the amateurs 2 weeks ago.  After sending an e-mail to Bob to find out what kite sizes to bring, I was surprised with his reply that his most used kite was a 17m.  So I packed my 16, 12 and 9 all in a Naish Golf bag.  Arriving at Strawberry Tues. afternoon there was absolutely no wind.  I took some pictures and was amazed to see snow over my head.  Awesome terrain for both Kiting and snowmobiling.  Upon returning to Bob”s house I needed rest after getting up @ 3:30 and picking up a bug at the Milwaukee airport and suffering a little altitude sickness.  Dehydration in the higher altitudes gives me bad headaches.  Coffee and alcohol don’t help at all.  Once I drink enough water (about a gallon a day) I’m fine.  I need to start at home for my next trip. Wednesday morning I woke-up feeling much better and we packed up and headed to the Event Site for the SnowKite Masters.

Check the Event out at www.snowkitemasters.com On the way up the mountain we checked out many of the sailing and summer kiting spots on Utah Lake which is just south of Salt Lake.  We also stopped at the Skyline Motel we’ll be staying in tonight after attending the pre-registration Party!  Up the mountain pass we continued, the wind was pretty much non-existent.  At about 90% to the top we finally saw a little wind. Wow when we got to the top it was blowing snow. I got my trusty wind meter out and it peaked at 30mph, average of 25 mph. Bob gets his wind report from Kenny at www.forum@utahwindriders.org I must say Kenny was dead on with his report, but it didn’t look good on the way up. We pulled in the parking lot to find a two other vehicles and they were just starting to setup. You wouldn’t believe but the little mini-camper next to us were from Chicago. Amanda and Steven, with a friend from Germany. We pumped up our 9’s and headed out on the mountain terrain. It didn’t take me long to appreciate Bob’s local knowledge. Before I went far he warned me I was headed for a cliff. Visibility was not the best with angle of the light and blowing snow. I told Bob I would follow him and we went downwind and up a large hill. Something I had never done before with a kite. After getting to the top Bob told me to de-power the kite and we’d go down the hill. Well being cautious I de-powered my kite to the max and it would hardly fly. After finally putting it back to full power I could fly the kite and go down the hill. Did I say really haul ASS down the hill. The more we did it the more comfortable it was. Bob had his GPS on and topped at about 38mph. We then decided to go upwind to the top of another cornice. I followed Bob and watched him adeptly maneuver through a ravine. I was checking it out and positioning myself when he hollered that there was a wind hole there. I decided to pass on ride, not wanting to get stuck in the ravine with no wind.

Did I say getting around in all that snow was exhausting at that altitude. After riding till we were beat, we took a break before a second session. Summary: Coming from the lakes to the mountains is like going from the lakes to Maui waves windsurfing. My former student Bob became my instructor in the mountains. I was very fortunate to have him in Salt Lake City.

Checkout www.kitesites.com for awesome video of kiting in Utah.

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