Snow kiting uses a traction kite to pull you along the snow on either skis or a snowboard in the same way that you can use one for kite buggying or kite boarding etc.
Snowkiting in Australia
People have been taking 'traction' kites up to the snow for several years, and the potential of most mountains has been explored to at least some extent. Australian Conditions however are often gusty, and getting the right conditions on any one weekend is not easy.
Australian Mountains known to be suitable for snowkiting:
- Falls Creek: Top of Eagle Chair, flatter areas to the West, and the hills behind Ruined Castle. Potential for big backcountry tours for more experienced snowkiters.
- Mt. Hotham: Mt Loch / The Orchard, or try the Summit.
- Mt. Stirling (Summit Only)
- Perisher Blue - besides the carpark. Whilst this location is the most accessible it is strongly discouraged due to proximity to other users and a childrens toboggan area.
- Charlotte Pass - using oversnow transport. Kite location is between the bottom end of south perisher and charlottes pass village.
- Thredbo - take a lift to the top, then hike up the valley behind until you reach the plateau.
In 2003, Mike Walker was the first person to snow-kite to the top of Mt Kosciusko - an awesome effort.
Snowkiting around the World
Snowkiting is as big a sport in Europe as Kiteboarding is throughout the rest of the world. Snow and space abounds; there are huge competitions sponsored by Corona, Red Bull, etc. Do a search on Google Video for some amazing stuff.
What type of kite?
Toy Kites These are NOT suitable for 'traction kiting'. "I have seen and attempted to fly one.... absolute rubbish. 30 mins of stuffing about just to try and keep it in the air. Then got my little Ozone Imp out to prove a point to the owners. They were totally amazed at how well the Imp flew in the same conditions since theirs wouldn't even stay in the air and these kites were the same size!
$10 or 10c.... I would rather spend it on a cheap bottle of wine.... both will give you a headache, but one is gone the next day!" Pete, from Canberra.
Trainer Kites Essential for anyone who has little or no kiting experience. Will pull a board or skiis in Strong Wind (0ver 20 knots); but you won't cover much ground, or get up hills, and often don't have any 'brakes'. Price: $150 - $250 (1.5- 2m)
Small foils The best suited kite to the recreational back country skiier. If your aim is only to get out a kite on-occasion, and you're not going snowkiting as an activity in it's own right, then a small 4-LINE FOIL* (2-4m) will have the power and safety you need. They also packup extremely small. If you opt for a small foil, you can often skip the trainer kite step with these kites, as they are just a bigger version. Price: $300 - $700 (2 - 4m)
Large foils Peter Lynn Arcs / Ozone Frenzy / Flysurfer kites (and some other models) are essential for dedicated snow-kiting use. If you want to go large distances and get big airs, you need one of these kites. However they are expensive and are not as compact as small foils. Don't skip the prior experience or trainer kite requirement if you choose to use one of these kites; you will need several weeks of practice before venturing onto the snow; and get a lesson! Price: $800 - $1,500 (4 - 13m)
Inflatable Kites Designed for the water, these kites do work on snow, but they are not recommended for our gusty mountain conditions. Usually only those who own them already for water use would take them to the snow. Lessons essential. Price: $1,300 - $2,000 (7 - 16m)
Information taken from Kitepower/news