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Introduction to Snowkiting: A Snowy Season with Wind Power

The winter season is fast approaching, and here at Wind Power we have been receiving a lot of interest in the snow sports that we participate in. So today, we decided to create a quick overview of the winter sport “Snowkiting”.

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(Wind Power’s own Ben Herdrich Snowkiting on a warm day)

In this blog we will explore the concept of Snowkiting and the types of kites used while Snowkiting. Snowkiting is an amazing new sport that has been the talk of the town for a few years now, with all the new and advanced equipment, it makes the sport easier and more versatile for all types of riders.

Let’s look a little bit into what exactly Snowkiting is and why it is becoming such a popular sport. Snowkiting is basically skiing or snowboarding with a kite. There is a lot that goes into this sport however, understanding the wind, flying the kite, edging, jumping, etc… With all these things going on, Snowkiting can become a very challenging sport that tests your limits each and every session. Wind Power recommends at first taking lessons (Snowkiting Lessons) to learn important safety concerns with kiting, and also how to actually FLY the kite. Learning how to properly fly the kite from an instructor makes it that much easier, and quicker, to get you up and running on your board or skis. A few safety factors are important to understand, you need equipment that will protect you in case you crash, fall, make a mistake flying the kite, or any other factor that can come into play. Pads are highly recommended since here in Wisconsin, we are mostly Snowkiting on frozen lakes and this can cause injuries if you are not properly protected. For safety, protection equipment and gear, check out this past article written by Wind Power: Winter Safety Equipment.

Let’s talk a little bit about the types of kites used for Snowkiting. There are two specific styles of kites used in the winter season. The more traditional kite that is commonly used for Snowkiting is a Foil Kite link to Ozone Foil Kites.

Foil Kites are non-inflatable kites that capture air inside of various cells located on the leading edge of the kite (very front of the kite) to create the classic C-shaped outline the kite requires to properly fly. Below in Image 1 is an image of an Ozone Foil Kite. A few benefits to having a foil kite is the ease of packing up, the power that foil kites are able to generate, and the ability to kite in lower wind ranges. The foil kite is able to be easily packed away into a small backpack when in the backcountry, no need to release any valves to deflate the kite (we will explain this feature in the paragraph to come). A foil kite can also be used on land, some rider use foil kites to power buggies, mountainboards, and other land cruisers. These are just a few benefits to having a foil kite in the winter.

Image 1: Ozone Foil Kite

The second type of kite used in Snowkiting is a Power Kite or Inflatable Kite. This style requires air to be pumped into a “bladder” on the leading edge. In doing so, the kite takes on a “fixed” shape. A benefit of an inflatable kite compared to a foil kite is that inflatable kites can be used more easily on both water surfaces and snow/ land surfaces. This is due to the fact that inflatable kites can be “re-launched” from water surfaces much easier than foil kites. This allows kiteboarders to use the same type of kite on both water and snow/land surfaces. Referencing the previous paragraph, these kites have sometimes multiple struts lining the canopy to help give the kite its shape. Located below in Image 2 is a great picture by North Kites showing the leading edge, and the struts located on the kite.

Image 2: Leading edge and Struts

The bladder and all the struts fill with air and this air needs to be removed to store the kite in its specific bag. This process is not a lengthy one so packing up takes just a little bit longer than the foil kite. Located below in Image 3 is a picture of a Naish Inflatable Kite. 

Image 3: Naish Inflatable Kite

Wind Power has been involved in Snowkiting from the beginning. Not only do we host races, events, demo, etc, we are also actively involved with Snowkiting instruction all winter long! Link to Winter Snowkiting Lessons page. Wind Power has the knowledge, experience, resources, location and support for ANYONE interested in pursuing Snowkiting.

~Team Wind Power~

Fall Sailing & Kiting at Wind Power October 25, 2014

This fall has yield good conditions for windsurfers and kitesurfers on Lake Winnebago.  Here is a video of put together by the Winnebago Association of Kiteboarders (WAK) – Thanks Dan!

Winds were WNW (west-northwest) 20 mph gusting to 35 mph.  See the data in Weather Center History.  The wind had quite a range and gusts were strong.  We had a couple windsurfers and half a dozen kitesurfers.

 

2013 Sturgeon Stampede

Join the 24th Annual Sturgeon Stampede!

Feb. 9th – 10th

 

Warming up and winding down after a great day in the wind.

 

Lake Winnebago has turned into a winter play ground again.  Many sports take place on the lake in the winter.  Kiting, Ice Windsurfing, Ice Boating, Snowmobiling, Ice Bikes, 4-Wheeling, Cross-country Skiing, Ice Skating and of course Ice Fishing.  Those are just a few of the many activities enjoyed in the winter on the frozen Lake.  Airplanes touch down, people drive their vehicles on the lake, and it’s like another city out there in the Winter Wonderland.

There is a very busy time on the lake when Sturgeon Spearing takes place.  There can be 10,000 shanties out there with someone in them trying their luck at capturing a Sturgeon.  Sturgeon Spearing usually starts the second weekend of February and runs until the harvest quota of sturgeons are meet which usually takes about a week.

What a great time for a PARTY!  Voila! The Sturgeon Stampede.   Dan Deuster and Ed Schneider started it over 20 years ago.  It has transformed over the years and now it’s a Kiting Event with WAK (Winnebago Association of Kiteboarders) running it.  It also has other entities such as Windsurfing on the ice/snow, Ice skating, Ice bowling and of course food and beer.  Saturday evening is the time to light the bonfire.  So come and watch or better yet participate!  (Link to map)Fisherman’s Road

 

The Kiting Event will kick off Friday with the courses and jumping ramps being setup and tested vigorously.  Beer and Food follows.  Saturday morning registration takes place until 11:00 am followed by an 11:30 riders meeting to discuss the events and their format.  Possible Events include Lake Crossing, GPS Speed Drags, Kitercross (obstacle course), and the Big Air Contest.  Beverages and warm food will be available. At dusk the bonfire will be lit with the awards to follow.  Sunday is a funday with more fun racing.  It is also the back-up day for lack of wind or good conditions.  As of this writing the conditions on the lake are excellent for the event.

 

Kevin has had the busiest winter yet teaching Winter-Boarding(Windsurfing on the ice/snow) and Kiting.  Winter is the easiest time to learn both sports, especially Kiting.  You can learn to kite in 2 – 3 hours in the winter versus 2 – 3 days in the summer. It takes much more power generated from the kite to get moving on soft water.  If you kite about 10 times in the winter your skills should be at a much better level to learn the soft water kiting easily. If fact you should be able to get rides on soft water the first day you try after kiting in the winter.

So sign up soon so you can get your ten times out with a kite in the winter before it thaws.  Wind Power currently has a waiting list so get on the list ASAP.  The lake has over 2 feet of ice.  The snow conditions are currently excellent now for both skis and snowboards. Wind Power Kite Lessons  link to WP Kite Blog

24th Annual Sturgeon Stampede Defies Weather Conditions

 

The members of the Winnebago Association of Kiteboarders (WAK) will be making the best of this years winter weather at the 24th annual Sturgeon Stampede Kiteboarding Classic to be held on February 9th and 10th .  “This year offers a unique weather opportunity to explore new methods of sailing and kiting on ice and to enjoy the festivities developed by our members.”

 

Many of the Midwest’s best kiteboarders will collect off the shores of lake Winnebago to show off their favorite tricks while competing in a variety of heats including: Speed drags, Kitercross, Lake crossing, and of course  Big Air . Events will be scheduled from Noon to dark each day, wind permitting.

 

Kiteboarding is the fastest growing water / snow sport in the world, and can be enjoyed year round, on snow, ice, or water. It combines the fundamentals of wakeboarding or snowboarding, along with flying a 3 to 16 meter kite for power. The power of the kite allows jumps and tricks often exceeding 20 feet, and the ability to free ride for hours at a time. No gasoline or lift ticket required!

 

The members of WAK invite you to their event Feb 9-10 and suggest you dress for the weather and bring your camera. Several kite instructors and retailers will be at the event for those interested in learning the sport. An ice bar will be featured at this years event as well as heated shelter, music, food and refreshments. Other activities include ice bowling, Sturge-O-Rama, Sturgeon Queen contest, awards presentation, and a bonfire at dusk.

 

The event starts at noon and will be held on Lake Winnebago 1/2 mile off the shore of Fisherman’s Road landing (6 miles north of hwy 23 off hwy 151). For more information check out our website at www.wakkiteboarding.com , or email any questions to info@wakkiteboarding.com