Winter snowkiting topics and locations.
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Allright! so over the last few days we have had good wind and a nice fresh layer of pow.
14m kite showed up at our local in town meadow spot next to the lake. The winds were cranking NE when I got there. A friend was trying to make a 7.3m foil work but it was just a little too sheltered to get anything once you got downwind of the lake. I pumped up my 14m and just as I was getting ready to launch the wind shut down all together. Another friend showed up and immediately bailed. The foil kiter bailed also. I decided since it was a nice day (around 45 degrees and sunny) and the snow would not last another day at the lake level that I would stick it out for a half hour or so. Well, no need. Within 10 minutes the wind turned around to NW which is the best direction for the meadow and I was instantly lit on my 14m (at times over powered). I got a sweet hour long session and left no snow untracked. When I was through with it, the meadow would be unrideable until the next snow.
Not a whole lot of snow left at the lower elevations and with a good prestorm SW forcast, we headed for the ridge. On a SW, the hike only takes about 25 minutes. You park at 9,000 ft and hike to about 10,000 ft. Becuase we had not had snow for a while, the walk along the ridge was in some places dirt, so nice easy hike. We traversed the ridge and climbed to the SW faceing slope. A buddy Chaz was allready riding on his 7.3 foil. I pumped up an inflatable 9m and snowboarded down the hill to my lines. After a pretty hot 5th line, uphill, straight downwind launch, I was off, riding across the hill. If I became under-powered, I would ride down the mountain until I generated enough apparent wind to send the kite and fly 100 or 200 ft. back up the hill, never getting more than 5 feet off the ground. We rode for about an hour before the sun went down. I watched my friend Jeff go straight up an 8 ft peak on a 9m foil and skis. He was looping the kite and navigating through thin snow and rocks going straight up the mountain. He reached the top and went around to the other side so that all we could see was his bright yellow kite against sunset clouds and a sheer peak.
Well as a storm was supposed to be blowing in, we new finding clean wind was going to be tough. We drove all over while it began snowing. We went as far as to hike out about 15 minutes to a meadow we figured would have a little bit better wind than the closer spots. It never reached the threshold of kiteable conditions. It was, however, dumping, so no complaints.
Talk about some scary, Tahoe clearing winds. We went to Grass Lake at the top of Luther Pass (Hwy 89 between SLT and 88 to Kirkwood). The winds were probably 5 - 40, snow was knee deep+. We kited on 9m kites and it was a bit scary. The kind of kiting where your kite is starting to fall out of the sky and then all of a sudden you get yanked 30 feet downwind and then sometimes on to your face for a nice 100 yd. drag. It's a good thing it was powder! We messed around for a good 2 hours and then called it a day.
Oh yeah, E winds 20 - 25mph. We drove to Grass Lake. It was a repeat of yesterday...really windy, really gusty and nice looking snow. We decided that since we got an earlier start, we would check a couple other spots first. Hope valley, not a whole lot of wind. One mile down the road at Blue lakes, we pulled over on the side of the road and discovered steady 20 mph winds and miles of untouched knee deep powder. I was setup in the deep powder faster than I get setup at Sherman Island. We were motivated, it was good and we were going to get it. I flew my 9m for about a half an hour. The wind was perfect for it but the snow was too deep. I wen t and pumped up a 14m and it was on! We rode for about two hours left no powder untracked and left in time to get back to work at a decent hour.
There is lighter wind in the forcast for the next couple days and it is supposed to get warm. The ridges got a couple feet of snow in this last storm and th ewind should be nice and smooth up there for the weekend. It's been a great week in Tahoe but it's not over yet.
I will be uploading some pictures to the KillaHz website after the weekend so check it out. It will blow your mind....
sometimes Gary Bronson...
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Super stylin'! Awesome snow journal. Now, when the season up there is in full swing will you be hosting a snowkite tour for a couple bay area kiters to visit? Hope Valley is sweet, nice meadows and powder there I bet. Lots of folks X-Country ski there, right?
You know it! I am not worried about it getting overcrowded with snow kiters up here, so I have no problem showing people the goods. The thing about snow kitng; the spots up here are not hard to find. Many are right by the side fo the road. All you need is a wide open area and some wind. Now the ridges you would want a guide (and some experience) before heaading up there.
I think I am going to work on setting up a demo up here for Jan.
sometimes Gary Bronson...
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