My very first time kiteboarding, if you could callÂ it that, was with a snowboard, a rock climbingÂ harness and a 3m trainer kite in a park by myÂ childhood home in Wyoming, Michigan. The kiteÂ came with handles, so I hacked together my ownÂ control bar out of a one-inch aluminum tube andÂ some nuts and bolts, wrapping it all together withÂ hockey tape. The experiment ended up far fromÂ a success, with my kite wrapped around a soccerÂ goalpost. Iâ€™m sure the wind was terrible, and the snowÂ was crusted with ice, but despite the failure, it wasÂ enough to keep my curiosity for power kites alive.
If snowkiting was the gateway fix that got meÂ obsessed with kiteboarding, in the two-decade loveÂ affair that has followed, Iâ€™d be hard-pressed to countÂ the number of epic snowkiting days Iâ€™ve had on moreÂ than one hand.Â In all my years of chasing snow withÂ a kite around the Rockies, Wasatch, the Cascades,Â the Sierras and Canada including my time on
Â theÂ North American Snowkite Tour (yes, we had aÂ snowkite tour), I still have very few sessions of â€˜epicâ€™Â status to report.
If my prognosis of snowkiting seems gloomy, itâ€™s aÂ necessary preamble to offset the glorious weekendÂ trip I am about to describe. When snowkiting isÂ good or even epic, its three-dimensional terrain,Â endless options for exploration and the insane feelÂ of carving fresh tracks make you forget the boredomÂ of waiting for wind, failed attempts and insufferable,Â crappy conditions of sessions past. Earlier this winter,Â when my fiancÃ© Sensi Graves mentioned that sheÂ was co-hosting a womenâ€™s snowkiting camp withÂ Australian Jennie Milton in Island Park, Idaho, itÂ perked my curiosity. Jennie is a backcountry skiingÂ and snowkiting bad-ass, wired with the passion andÂ drive for snowkiting like no other. She has spent mostÂ of her adult life in pursuit of the perfect yet elusiveÂ snowkiting session and loves sharing her knowledgeÂ by organizing and educating riders about the worldÂ of snowkiting through her â€˜AdrenaJenâ€™ clinics. So,Â when it was time for Sensi to load up the car andÂ drive 10 hours east towards Island Park, it was allÂ too easy for me to hop in and tag along. Similarly,Â our good friend and neighbor Colleen Carroll didÂ the same at a momentâ€™s notice, and we all headedÂ towards winter wonderland… To read the rest of Winning in Wydaho subscribe to Tkb Magazine.