Winter snowkiting topics and locations.
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This is terrible news, and things can happen so fast it's incredible. This account brings to mind the ever-present question: will you be able to pull your safety? And when you do will your kite depower sufficiently?
My personal setup includes a spreader bar release (Slingshot) with leash safety, and the bar has two safety's as well. But the question is will I be able to get to it? Perhaps more important than anything else, of course, is to do everything I can to prevent myself from getting into a situation where I will need it.
Sincere condolonces to his family and friends.
Damn, lost another brother. Godspeed friend.
There seems to be a strong correlation between serious injuries/fatalities and kiting in "frontal" versus "thermal' or "trade" conditions. Rick I: is this a pattern you can confirm for our collective safety?
Reposted from: http://www.canada.com/edmonton/edmonton ... 604c446123
Kiteboarder dies in windstorm mishap
Gale slams man into abandoned church
The Edmonton Journal
Monday, December 20, 2004
EDMONTON - A 46-year-old man was killed Sunday afternoon when winds topping 100 kilometres an hour picked up his snow kiteboard and slammed him into an abandoned church in Alberta
The accident happened just after noon on Lac St. Anne, a popular spot for kiteboarding enthusiasts year-round.
Louie St. Laurent didn't see the accident, but he saw the wind that precipitated it.
"I was actually out on the boat launch, overlooking a dark sky," he said.
"All of a sudden, I looked out on the lake, and could see kind of a rolling wall. It looked like water, but it was actually the wind."
At first, St. Laurent saw the kiteboarder moving slowly across the frozen lake, about 60 kilometres west of Edmonton.
"I thought, geez, I wonder if he'll be all right," he said.
St. Laurent and his two children didn't see the accident. They were forced inside for cover. From there, they watched signs, stray shingles and other debris fly past the window.
"It was the weirdest thing I've ever seen," he said.
Winds in Highvale, just west of the lake, reached 107 kilometres an hour around noon, said Chad Thompson, a meteorologist at Environment Can-
Exact details of the accident are still unknown. Witnesses told the RCMP the boarder appeared to lose control of his kite and was blown towards the buildings, which hug the shoreline.
St. Laurent talked to one witness who saw the man sliding on his back, trying to stop himself. She later saw him flying through the air toward the old church.
The man was declared dead at the scene and his body was taken to the Medical Examiners Office.
Andreas Dahle owns Pipeline Surf, a windsurfing and kiteboarding shop in Edmonton. He knew the man who died, and said he was an experienced rider who lived in Alberta Beach.
Dahle was at a loss to explain what happened.
"It was just a freak of nature," he said. "It's kind of like a tornado hitting and getting stuck on a golf course."
Dahle said accidents of this sort are extremely rare.
"The sport as a whole is going to have a good look at this to ensure that it doesn't happen in the future."
Snow kiteboarding, or winter kiting, involves two main pieces of equipment: a snowboard for skimming across the ice and an overhead sail for propulsion.
The sail is attached to the rider by a harness. All newer harnesses have a quick-release system to help prevent accidental fly-aways, but it is not known exactly what type of gear the man was using.
Dahle speculated that perhaps the man, who usually wears a helmet, had somehow been knocked unconscious. That would explain why he was unable to release himself.
Police will not release the man's name until his next of kin are notified.
The key is to actively avoid unstable weather that brings excessively gusty winds.
FACT: We can't always reliably pull the plug on all that kite power at will say if an excessive gust hits.
1. You may not have enough time to become aware, analyze and react properly before impact.
2. You may not be able to find your quick release in time.
3. Your quick release for a variety of reasons, may NOT work properly.
What do you do if you drive off of a cliff? Answer: Not much. The key is to avoid going off of the cliff in the first place.
There is a WHOLE world of weather out there and MANY types that can generate excessively gusty winds. It is up to ALL riders to learn about what unstable weather is like in their area and how to try to avoid falling into it.
I don't have much detailed knowlege about winter weather. Still there seems to be some early indications of a violent frontal system that figured in the Alberta Beach accident. They appear in the thread at:
There is a lot of information there but I hope if outside input is received from folks that ride in the north, to come up with a shorter list of general conclusions and precautions.
Of course seeing nice clean plots online in hindsight can be deceptively easy in analysis. I don't believe that you need a 50 mph gust to be injured in snow kiteboarding and that lessor gusts can also be dangerous. I think weather knowlege, planning and monitoring are just as important to snow kiteboarding as they are in kitesurfing.
Bottom Line, know your weather a lot is riding on it.
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