Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

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Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby biba » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:52 am

Ok, now that we're coming to end of season here in the Bay, i'm getting ready to take it up to the mountains of Lake Tahoe. So, i've read a LOT about Foil vs LEI. I know a lot of kiters use their water LEIs for snow, however, i'm interested in the kite flying aspect of it. A lot of info was old, pre 2010 and we know much R&D was done against both LEI and Foils ever since, in the area of de-power and stability.

The debate of pump the LEI vs fold in the lulls of foils are known, but all else, what i'm concerned is:

- safety, de-power, launch
- flying aspect, yes a foil does better in light wind, a LEI much nicer with gusts however, what's your take
- destroying your $1,500 LEI if you dunk it on the snow/icy surface

I'm about to get a 9m to augment my 12m Switchblade, so I'm really torn between getting a matching 9m SB that i can use in the water as well or a 7m Ozone Access Foil to go snowkiting like a boss(?)

PS: if you snowkite, where do you go around the Bay Area? I was targeting the Martis area right by Truckee airport/Northstar back country stuff.

Insights much appreciated.
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Re: Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby jjm » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:40 pm

I've snowkited in North Lake Tahoe area (as a weekend warrior not as a local) and was never really that satisfied with the results. I scored a session or two where there was reasonably steady winds but usually spent more time relaunching than flying or survival kiting getting tea-bagged.

I had 05 Ozone Frenzys but ended up selling them as they weren't getting that much use. (I think I flew the 7m more locally with a skateboard than on snow). I haven't been following recent R&D regarding foils but the packup/takedown/relaunch/keep kite in the air with almost 0 wind was definitely nice. I think the more memorable sessions were on LEI kites but I think that has more to do with conditions/spot rather than the benefits of foil vrs LEI.

Personally, I think you should build out your LEI quiver rather than buying a dedicated snow kite. Maybe buy used/old clearance rather than spending $1500? I guarantee you'll see a lot more use from it. Chuck it in the car when you head up the hill. Make sure to have alternate plans (resort, casino, whatever) and if you're lucky you can score a kite session.

Has Martis had enough snow lately? The last couple seasons it looked kind of bare, but hopefully we get some proper snow this season. I had luck at Prosser Reservoir but I usually stay near by so it is convenient.

Also check out http://www.sierrasnowkite.com/, I visited last season and it was nice, especially if you're new as there are more likely to be other people around!
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Re: Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby biba » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:59 pm

Thanks for the good info. Yeah i looked at SierraSnowKite.com but i feel really BAD to pay yet another extra season pass on top of my Tahoe pass that takes me at 3x spots.

Not sure why the guys at SierraSnowKite.com charge as much as a resort with lifts and stuff... sad.. as they point on their website you must buy a tix then you walk for 10min to the launch area where you rig and go... so... not sure, what's the tix for?

"Once parked, you must visit the Royal Gorge/ Sierra Snowkite ticket booth. Here you can pay for tickets, and fill out snowkite waivers. Remember to bring out Cash/Card for Safety assessment fee. Once completed, grab a snowkite cargo sled, throw your kites/ gear(Helmet) in, and make the short (10 min.) walk out the groomed snowkite access trail to the launch site. Please make sure to stay on the well marked access trail. "
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Re: Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby etxxz » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:15 pm

sierrasnowkite was meh to OK for that first session in snow just to get acquainted with the change. The problem is their fields are right inside a valley and the wind there STINKS! yeah plus you have to pay cause you're in resort territory.

there's much better and FREE places within a half hour of there... but then you have to deal more with terrain.


oh yeah its a 20+min walk from the parking lot..(not 10, and not many sleds so you may have to carry your gear) at sierrasnowkite. next. It was hella fun though i will go to other places this year.
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Re: Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby biba » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:29 pm

Found this list on KGB's website. Anyone can comment on those locations?

http://www.kgbswag.com/snowkiting-locations/
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Re: Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby Aloha » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:37 pm

Snowkiting especially up in Tahoe I heard is pretty gusty?

Is there a spot(s) that tend to be consistently smoother given XYZ wind directions? I'd think that is the way to put together the formula for where to go & when
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Re: Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby Frappes » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:30 pm

I would like to try snowkiting this year (and maybe a freezer session on the lake). Is a transition lesson really necessary? What exactly is different other than falling will hurt a lot more?
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Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby keithdkd » Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:07 am

Tahoe sucks for snowkiting. I'm 0 for 3 there, always got skunked. Go to Utah instead.

Having said that, im certain I'll try Tahoe again this year at least once anyway...
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Snowkiting: Foil or LEI, yes old debate

Postby keithdkd » Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:16 am

As for what's different:

- snowkiting is more strenuous and tiring than the water

- your LEI will work fine, but do some googling and you'll see foils are generally considered better for snowkiting. I have only used LEI on snow.

- the edge of your board is sharp; keep your taut lines off it when launching.

- bring snowshoes
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