……And you know what.. Sky isn’t the limit, you’re mind is! #theskyhasnolimit
Snowkiting for me (snow and skiing in general) is about reaching limits and challenge my limits nowadays.
About: ” Knowing my limits but never accept them.“
Its very common for people to limit their plans and dreams, thinking that they are not able to accomplish so much. Others say sky is the limit to encourage us to dream big . I know what they mean and the all mean well .. but I would say , the sky has no limit, your mind is! The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go behind them into the impossible. Go for it and check it out yourself. Your life will be more rewarding in many ways.
Everyone can find ways to improve themselves, and these are improvements that are especially valuable to yourself. Improve yourself or find a way to make it possible. So begin with the end in mind and Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be
8 things I found out, that might help you survive mind- games in snowkiting!
For the 4th time I am back on the snow, in the mountains with skies – and a kite! The first years I hated to launch a foil kite with skies and in the mountains, I was to scared to go fast, to go uphill and more scared to go downhill. After all there was always too much wind and I didn’t had any control.. in my mind. With a snowboard and a tube kite I felt more safe – might be because its more similar to kitesurfing. And my last experience on skies…… No- way I was going into the hills.. until forced by the Redbull Ragnarok…That changed everything. In competitions I don’t think about limits, I just go. It was the step I needed to gain confidence in the snow again. The three years after where a lot more fun, every year a bit more.
The very best days of my life have been on snow and skies, snowkiting (flying off the hills , gaining some speed on skies again, winning the European championships, getting a 6th place in the Redbull Ragnarok), and the very worst days of my life have been on the snow, skies and snow kiting (the changing weather, conditions on the slopes and flying off a hill backwards, with a 5(!)M kit not knowing where you’re going blizzard through the snow). We all know this stories and we all have survived some, I guess. Don’t keep this things holding you back from some Snowkite adventures, like it did with me in the beginning…. ….
Snow is just frozen water
You can`t drown in the snow. You can, however, break bones. Or snap them. Or shatter them. You can also bury yourself in avalanches, if you get onto the wrong slope. Which isn’t really a lot better than drowning, apparently.
But if you are aware off the dangers in snowkiting you will never experience something like this. Don’t be scared: Choose the right conditions, some light wind and powder to practice tricks and more ice conditions to race. Wearing a helmet, knee pads and back protector can be helpful when not knowing your limits
Mountains & kite-travelling
You have a whole other third dimension of travelling with your kite. Kitesurfing generally means going left and right staying on the same line. All influenced by the wind direction. In the mountains this is a bit different, you have the uphill, downhill effects. And the on top of the mountain and down in the valley elements. Going up wind and uphill might be a losing fight, but the other way around downwind and uphill would work perfect! Don’t expect to go straight on top of the mountain, sometimes you have to make your way around it to get there – depending on the wind and steepness of the hill. Sometimes the steepness of the hill can scare you, just go around and find the more flat spot of the mountain.
Going down is another story, and might be a bit scary. How faster you go how more wind, how more the kite will pull you (up). And how steeper the hill… how more this effect will affect you. Good skiing skills will help you here. And remind there are different ways to go (to kite) off a hill, straight downwind as fastest way. But also more upwind to go slower, yes you won’t go straight down but you will get there with a controllable speed. Once your experienced you can definitely fly! It’s such and amazing feeling, weightless flying off the hill!
Mountains & Wind (direction)
Be also prepared the wind is more (too much) on top off the hill and might be less (or nothing) down in the valley. It can be scary but also frustrating. The wind might be unpredictable on some days – depending on the location. It can cannel through the mountains and get more will some meters to the left or right its less wind or not even enough to go. Also the direction can vary in the mountains some days. This is what I found the most scary on dark cloudy and snowy days. Launching a big foil kite on one spot while some moments later you will be flying away that kite and see people setting up 6m kites.
Just make sure you get to know the local weather, weather forecasts and maybe some local information on days like this. You might be sailing quite happily along a ridgeline, but if you drop into a little valley the wind can evaporate and you’re left with a long steep climb in deep snow dragging your kite and skis back onto the hilltop to relaunch.
It’s really fun. I did it a lot. And It’s actually the story of the Redbull Ragnarok. story here
In addition on the mountains and the wind you can add the whole dimension of backcountry skiing to it. In some cases, depending on snow, weather and surface you can have different snow quality. Sticking snow, ice, frozen ice-cracks, don’t forget avalanche danger! But also different hazards like rocks, cliffs (!), crevasses and grass (if the wind is strong and blows the snow away). Every condition asks for different material if you want to have the perfect experience. If you haven’t , no problem, everything works just fine! Make sure you have visibility to see the cracks, rocks etc. Be aware of deep snow with short skies (save your legs) – its better on a snowboard. Or ice, is hard frozen water and might be better on skies (personal preference ) .
Another big thing is remoteness of the locations where you sometimes play in. makes sure there is a road or an easy reachable lodge. free to entry lodges are all around usually! And jumping of the snowy rocks can be fun to! Or practicing tricks in the powder And setting new speed records on ice!
Kite set -up
You got all of this? Than now it’s time to set up your kite. Some days with deep snow (I mean really deep snow), it can take some effort and time to set up that kite. And when you have to untangle the foil kite lines with minus 24 degrees… that won’t work with your hand gloves. But see it as a good thing, it’s a great work out. And once you’re up and riding it will pay off
While launching a kite on strong winds might be really scary again. It can be hard to control, especially in gusty conditions. And sometimes foil kites have the habit to unfold themselves a bit late. (we all have people seen flying and ending up face planting in the snow). But if you make sure your lines are the right way, launch that kite while sitting in the snow (check the release). And if not hang on, drag through the snow and regain control. Also a lot of fun, you will learn to handle it .
Although usually the weather is mostly predictable, in the mountains it isn’t. Be aware when dark clouds enter. They can mean fun but also…. A case of flying away. Bring the IKEA- bags just in case . Also be aware of closed roads, don’t trap in it and get cached on the wrong side of the road. If its super windy and snowing, there might be a a change the road will close, just on the minute you pass the barrier. If you just turned a little earlier you could have drove back to that Snowkite spot you just assed instead of waiting for hours and hours in the car until the road opens again. A sneaky tip if you really want to cross the road: wait or the moment a big truck is passing and quickly drive behind it. Mostly the trucks are allowed to drive the road longer, and driving behind it will help you cross the road.
Don’t be afraid it’s always worth trying.! This might be the perfect day for trying that foilkite, using the skies, doing some first flights of the mountain. Going uphill might be really hard work, but going down pays off for sure!! And well, even with the lightest kite in the field sometimes you have to walk back, it’s part of the game. (sometimes if you’re more patient than me – a gust will come and take you back to you’re landing place). Or make friend and wait for a tow back or tow up and ski down .
Despite snowkiting is an extreme sport: Snowkiting is also a curious sport and great, if it all comes together If it all works out , its amazing. Like the days we had stable 12 knots of wind, with long runs up the mountains and flying down all day (with foil kites). Or the days with the tube kites and some fresh powder, flying and practicing some tricks. Than there where the reallyyyyy cold ice race days over the lakes. All worth it! No wonder they say: Being a competent snowkiter, mastering all conditions is one of the most rewarding sports out there to master!
Dont forget to have fun at all times!! Gusty wind, light wind or storm, make the most of it, the rest will come to you!
Still not convinced: Why you should learn snowkiting! Also girls
……They Said sky is the limit, so I went to check it out And you know what.. Sky isn’t the limit, you’re mind is! #theskyhasnolimit