The Snowkite Summit held at Skyline Drive in Utah represents a sort of opening to the snowkite season and is a chance for riders and key industry participants to ride together and exchange ideas and visions regarding the sport of snowkiting. Skyline drive is about an hour and a half south east of Salt Lake City and sits at 10,000 feet along hwy 31 where the road crosses the wide open high plateau where snow is plentiful and the wind is pervasive. Skyline Drive has become the number one snowkiting destination in the US and continues to grow in popularity year after year. Historically, Heather and Brian Schenk of Windzup, the Ozone Kites distributor for America, have pulled this event together and worked on behalf of the love of the sport to make it happen. This year they had help from Dave Grossman and James Brown of Drift Snowkite Magazine who helped put together a great weekend. The group would meet during the mornings and evenings to listen to talks, watch videos and slide shows, and to discuss the state of the sport. Present were people from as far as Quebec Canada and and Northern Europe and as close as Fairview the local town.
It is always interesting to see and hear about the eclectic mix of people around the world whom are snowkiting fanatics and all have their little snowkiting worlds growing. The early adopters in the sport of snowkiting are people with adventorous spirits and will forever stand as the leaders in the sport. The hardest thing about snowkiting is simply getting people to go. Once people get a taste of good snowkiting, another super enthusiast is born. The people at this event were definitely for runners in the sport as well as the spirit of the sport.
On Friday the 5th there was a back country medical safety presentation before heading 15 minutes up the hill to the riding spot. The day was filled with light wind riding on about 6 inches of snow. The snow was sparse revealing many rocks, dirt and bushes but nothing was to hold this group back, they rode! On Friday night, Brian and Heather had a great house party and evidence was enforced that this crew knew how to drink into the wee hours.
Saturday morning was a pancake breakfast and an industry discussion at the town hall and then up the mountain. The wind was light but the day was beautiful and people hung around in the sun and watched the crew hurl themselves off a built kicker onto a big slider being flung by a bungee propulsion system that was pretty cool. Saturday evening consisted of drinking, watching videos, slide shows and having a raffle where everyone won something. After that it was off to the only bar in the county called the Triangle. Generally the smoke at this bar is so thick in this bar that you become a solid smoker upon entry. Don’t plan on wearing the same clothes the next day. Note: smoking will no longer be permitted in Utah bars after Jan 1st, 2009.
Sunday everyone headed up the mountain early and got some great wind and some good riding. It is amazing these days how high and far people can fly in moderate wind. The equipment is getting so good and it seems as though Ozone still has it’s stranglehold on some of the best equipment out there. The rider level is realy climbing as well.
Thanks to Heather and Brian from www.windzup.com and the boys from www.driftsnowkitemag.com along with all the others that came to this event and made it what it was. It is so great to see the enthusiasm for what is one of the best sports on earth. It does not get much more 3D than snowkiting and it is amazing to see what people are doing in the sport in terms of riding quality. It is also interesting to see the number of locations around the globe that are becoming established snowkiting “spots”.
My thought throughout the entire weekend was that this was one of those events that we will look back on and say. “remember when….” Snowkiting is definitely one of the things that a kiteboarder should not pass up, no one should pass it up, the sport is oooooozing with stoke!
Cheers Chip Wasson