Snowkite World Cup 2022- Roccaraso, Italy
The final stop of the SnowKite World Tour is going down in the mountains of Italy – Roccaraso. Approximately 1900 km from The Netherlands. It could have been nice if I had decided earlier to go there… because I was literally half way there the week before at the International Snowkite Open on the Reschensee.
So after finishing off the nightshift I picked up the van and drove 12 hours, back on the road to Lago Di Resia, some nice mounatin passes.. with some snowchain driving made it complete. I slept a bit further in a little quiet village.. in the degrees of minus 11: #vanlife this week it is. Apparently I had done a quit good job insulating, without heater it wasn`t cold at all – until I opened that door… The next morning I drove anther 12 hours which made me arrive at Roccaraso – right on time to register for the final stop of the world tour. The winners of this one will be crowned World Champion as well. At least I was awake again after the registration in a cosy, busy, partying bar in the small village Roccaraso – A typical warm Italian Welcome 😊
The first day
Skippers meeting down the slopes at Pizzalto. Being told about the three disciplines: Course race, Long Distance, GPS formula – might be all on one day. GPS? .. I wasn`t really prepared or that one. Just like ging into the skiing lift, the gondola and skiing down with my kites..
Anyway I like adventures so: Taking my complete equipment up to the plateau. Into the ski – lift, skiing down a slope halfway and up into the cable car to the top. I never brought my kite down the slopes and into the cable car and totally not three of them at the same time… Meeting up with some Greek, Slovenian, France, Italian, Ukrainian competitors on the way up and down.
Once up there the view at the plateau into the valley is super nice! As well as the weather, sunny and no wind – unfortunately. I was surprised by the fact how high and steep the mountains to the valley looked like. With the question, can my race kite handle this.. on the short lines I brought… ? No wind – yet so not thinking about that anymore, I will learn along the way – like always
…So we tried out the Italian ski slopes which are connected to the snowkiting spot. Fun to enjoy some skiing again. On the end of the day we got some wind, actually a lot of something like wind. Up on the mountain side, not down in the valley. Late afternoon we got released, it was getting late to set up a course, all get down and .. no wind yet in the valley, just on the steep mountain hill. After one more round of skiing I finally decided to try some snowkiting here as well. It`s not a lie that I was a bit scared of the gusty wind, the relative strong wind up the hill and my race kite with super short lines.
“If I’m scared it makes me excited, I have to do it”
So there we go with the 15m – which was way too big in the end. I did some unexpected flying and spinning, some ski losing, but in the end I had some fun. First time snowkiting on such a steep mountain. Ending after closing time, we were skiing down late (hoping to end up on the right parking lot…), the pistebully`s already came up..
Today we had to do everything, according to the wind forecast- this was and is the best day. Just not the right direction for in the valley – that will make it more gusty. On top of the hill and down in the skiing resort of roccaraso was a looooot of wind. The gear stayed up on the plateau so it was an easy run to the top. I was curious what will be down there.. no wind, a lot, or.. a bit of both. It turned out to be that last one.
12m short lines, seemed a safe option, cause I didn`t had another choice of lines, except for 24m. The starting line was behind some hills, hidden, which was already quit an adventure to get to. Starting is a complete other story, the starting line is in between two mountains. Arrived there.. half of the kites were dead, lying in the middle of the track. After some struggling, we did had some wind to start. I had a hard time keeping my kite in the air on the short lines – the minutes before the starting line – sorry guys. Starting from port it was, to safe a tack and get some help from the mountain to the upwind mark. Finally we started the first race, which gave us wind and sometimes not, some walking, kite relaunching, skiing, tangling. Until just before the upwind mark the wind completely died. My kite twisted and got stuck. One of the girls was super friendly to help untangle it… After some waiting and trying the wind game back, and it really did I nearly missed the upwind mark because of too much wind and blowing away. Don’t ask how but I did finish this race. The second race I had to avoid some tangles, but finished 2nd again after two rounds.
The third and fourth race the wind must have heard me praying, he came back and it was wayyyyy more fun for me, no struggles just going! The laylines became more tight and te rounds quicker and quicker. The only challenge was not to tangle and finish first. And that’s what I did. Staying safe and: finishing 1st and 1st.
After this we started the long distance, well the same course as the course race, a bit longer. And a downwind mark in a ….. hole between two mountains. Before we even started I know what was going to happen in that hole with me, my short lines and the kite…. Prepare for some walking… and kite relaunching.
The first upwind and downwind until 10 meters before the downwind mark were really good and fun. A little wind and no struggles. I made a gap between the others. The last part I tried to reach the downwind mark from the top of the hill, but I started to fly… and the last part … my short lines couldn’t make it happen, my kite just back stalled and I relaunched it.. a 100 times until I got to the mark. Here I lost it all. I think this kite has never rounded a mark this slow, but we managed to anyway. With some slalom through the dead kites. (although the guys were already going for a second lap…. Shameeeee).
Walking upwind until I found some wind again.. and the same process. Downwind mark and lose ground and walk up to the finish line, which I could do riding because of a gust. Finishing third. A bit sad I couldn`t keep my gap, and lost it down in the hole…. but for the equipment and the conditions, and my mountain skills – still a good job – not too many finished this race.
After the Long distance race, we tried to get back to where we started, the wind died and wo got a nice ride back to the slopes from the snow quads. I am already happy it is snow and not water.. an easy self-rescue. Thanks guys – it was fun! We took all our equipment and skied down to pizzalto.
Oow and yeah, about: the GPS competition… the GPS formula discipline was on today as well. I never ever had the time or made the time to get into this. So I used an app and my phone which off course didn`t work. So no data for me. But nothing to blame I came unprepared. (As you know me, I am not s from the data..) So that night I learned more about it and forgot.. I have a watch to use. Well tomorrow… maybe…..
…..It looked for me at least on the forecast the second day would be a no wind day, but the locals said different. The plan is to stay down the mountains and wait for the best wind to come. It can be every direction so we need to be a bit lucky.. I tought I used all of my luck the last races and just making it around the windless downwind mark yesterday. So no expectations.
At least we could park at this spot, which was nice and easy. The field looked a bit rough, with sm e bush sticking out, some grass, some rocks. In the middle of the sun and warm weather.. will be slushy on the end of the day.
But guess what?! The wind came. And pretty strong aswell. Finally some wind for the short lines. Overpowered racing fun with the 15m the first two races! Finally we could really race. The third race the wind went down a little, luckily I was didn`t took the 11m and could easily finish the race. The last race I changed for the 18m, hoping that the wind wouldn`t pick up suddenly and I will be blowing away… Right before the start.. the wind completely disappeared. That`s it for today. Finishing all races first, I made up for the day before.
I clearly needed this day, in racing but also in GPS. Because I didn`t uploaded any files the day before. This day tried it with my watch. And guess what..?! I almost forgot about it, but that worked out. I even managed to upload the GXS files on time (which I never heard of before – shame #2) . GPSFormula is about the speed, the speed coming in, ging out and during tacks and gybes. Actually a nice training program. Where you can compare to different competitors, learn and push each other to the next level. Not only in snowkiting but also in snowkitingand more sports.
Snowkite Stop Roccaraso:
1st Course Race Ski
1st GPS Formula Ski
3rd Long Distance Ski
Over all Snowkite World Tour:
1st Course race Ski – World Champion
3rd Long Distance Ski
After all I had a great time in the mountains, down the valley and on the field. It opened another world of snowkiting and racing. Meeting up and racing together with a lot of different nationalities ; France, Italian, Russia, Ukrainian, Greek, Slovenian (and moreee) made it even more fun. #spreadlove #nowar Thank you all for racing!! And sleeping the whole week in the van again in the snow was perfect!