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Somewhere in Ireland, torrential rain pounds the tin can roof of an economy rental car as Lukas Pitsch hugs the grassy left edge of a small two-lane rural road. A technical bag tightly packed with an arsenal of Nikon equipment sits shotgun, but conspicuously missing from this working photo trip is his faithful bag of kite gear. At that very moment, 1200 miles to the south, Lukas’ friends apply climbing skins to the bottom of their skis in Switzerland’s Bernina Pass. Exchanging encouragement in staccato Swiss German, they begin trekking into the upper basin, traversing the steep snowy terrain in switchback routes that gain altitude quickly. When they finally reach a steady mountain breeze, they run their lines, pack their skins and launch into the first day of the Swiss snowkite season.

Silvaplana is one of Europe’s remote kite scenes known for its iconic milky blue glacial waters sandwiched between rolling green hills and monolithic granite peaks that are blessed with reliable summertime thermals and endless snowkiting terrain in the winter. Its stunning backdrops allow for backcountry access to some of the most diverse and pristine snowkite spots in Europe. This is home for Lukas Pitsch, but having recently committed full time to a career in freelance photography, he was finishing up a two-week assignment in Ireland for an international sports company while his friends were scoring the first kite-assisted climbs of the season. Snowkiting season in Switzerland had started and Lukas Pitsch was officially missing out… To read the rest of the article, become a subscriber of Tkb Magazine.

Tkb’s Vol. 16, No. 4 winter 2019 digital issue is available now. The print issue will be landing in mailboxes soon!