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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~

WISSA 2015 Event Status (republished)

Here is an embed of the Drone Video from WISSA 2015.

During the recent World Ice & Snow Sailing Championships in Fond du Lac, we updated the Event Status with short summaries each day that were available on the Live Camera page or on the Wind Power Weather Center.

 

Event Status:

WISSA 2015 starts Monday!

Monday Feb 9: WISSA 2015 was officially declared Open at the Ceremony at FDL Yacht Club. A practice course race and STS were done, but the wind became very light….Now we wait for some wind.

Tuesday Feb 10: SE Wind came up after lunch. Short Track Slalom races for Sled & Wings Racers were held. Conditions were good. The Kites held 3 course races NW of the event site. The race results should be posted tomorrow.

Wed Feb 11: Windy and Windy. The Wind came up on Wednesday NW 20 mph gusting to 30 mph. 2 course races for Kites, Sleds and Wings were completed before lunch. After Lunch, 1 more course race and then on to STS (short track slalom). The Short Track was awesome to watch and race as it was very windy and the conditions were excellent.

Thursday Feb 12: Good NNW wind in the morning. 3 course races were run north of the event site. The temps were low (6F/-14.4C), but the snow seemed better. The 20 mph winds dropped to about 13 by the end of the last course. After lunch, the Sleds and Wings did a few Short Track Slalom races, but the wind was getting light so the day was called about 4pm.

Friday Feb 13: We had a south-west wind 15-20 mph for the 3 course races for Kites, Sleds and Wings. The course was just under 4 miles long. After lunch, STS races were held and the wind was great about 18 to 22 mph. There were some aweome races and a few spectacular crashes. The bonfire got started to create some warmth. The Sturgeon Queen contest had numerous contestants, 4 finalists and Molly J. was crowned the Queen. The fireworks show was quite a site. Andy Gratton was giving ice boat rides on the STS track until late in the night….what a day! My GPS showed 31 miles total for the day.

Saturday Feb 14: Very strong North-Northwest winds on Saturday. The Wind Power Weather Center rated it at 4 windsocks (25+ mph ave) for 5.75 hours. The race committee declared no course or STS racing due to strong winds and very low visibilty (0.1 mi). Speed runs with the radar gun were ran just north of the event site. Bob Cook got a top speed of 54.4 mph on kite with skis. This was the windiest day on Lake Winnebago this Winter season. A few sailors free rode for a while as the day cleared up nice. Mike (#011) did the Honorary Long-Distance with 5 trips to the FDL Lighthouse and a total of 57 miles (630 miles for the season since 11/21/2014). The Closing Ceremony and Awards banquet was held at the Retlaw and was a great dinner with awards. Hopefully all the racers and spectators had a great time at WISSA 2015. It was an exceptional event!! Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this event happen and the racers for traveling to Lake Winnebago. Stop by the Event site or Wind Power on Sunday.

Post-event Update: It’s Monday morning and what an amazing event. I am more tired (and sore) than Sunday. Anyway, the Tent is down and the Event Organizers have been working hard to clean-up. The weather Sunday & Monday is cool, but light wind and sunny makes for a couple beautiful days. We will be sending out an e-mail to racers, volunteers and staff shortly with FTP info on sharing media (images and video) and soliciting some feedback. If you left anything behind, please notify Dan Duester or Kevin at Wind Power.

 

What a great Event!  I have referred to this a few times just to remember what direction wind was blowing that day.  Hopefully others find this useful too.

 

 

WISSA 2015 Race Results

WISSA 2015 drone overhead image

WISSA 2015 Event Site from the Drone (Thanks Casey)

 

The following files (.pdf) are the FINAL Scoring results from the World Ice & Snow Sailing Championship event held in Fond du Lac, WI USA.  The event was help February 9 to 14, 2015 on the Southern end of Lake Winnebago

We hope everyone made it back home with safe travels and has great memories of this exceptional Event put on by Wind Power, WAK and FDL Visitors Bureau.  Also, a huge THANK YOU to the Race Committee for running great races!

Course Racing:

STS (short track slalom) Racing:

Speed:

 

Mike Bierworth (#011) was nominated for the ‘Honorary Long Distance’ with 57 miles sailed on Saturday Feb. 14.  No racing was held Saturday due to high winds and very low visibility.

We are going to be adding content to our blog and site in the near future.  It is windy today, so gonna go out and sail a bit.  Thanks to ALL the Racers, Volunteers, Hosts, Sponsors, Spectators and everyone at WISSA 2015!

 

 

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