Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Winter snowkiting topics and locations.
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pzorner
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Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by pzorner » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:23 pm

Hey All -
I am looking to go Snow Kiting in a couple of weeks. Mid Feb to Early March.
I have heard that Lake Van Norden is the place to go.
Do I need any permit to Snow Kite there?

Would to get peoples thoughts as I haven't Snow Kited in Tahoe. I normally kitesurf.

-Preston

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Re: Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by bladekite12 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:09 pm

Hi pzorner,
I am based in Reno and have been looking for people to ride with. Plenty of snow in the Tahoe area. I'm not sure if you still need a pass to use that area.

This is posted on sierrasnowkite's site regarding Lake Van Norden:

This consistently windy area is government property that is privately leased by Sugar Bowl and Royal Gorge. As a result accessing this epic spot requires a day use or season pass and a brief safety assessment but is well worth it.

Not sure how your snowskills are but on a S SW red lake ridge is very rewarding and has a crazy amount of snow right now. You will need skins or snowshoes to hike up the ridge- north of the parking lot.
Other easily accessible places are listed here:
https://www.kgbswag.com/snowkiting-locations/

Cheers,
Zach

pzorner
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Re: Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by pzorner » Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:08 pm

Hey Zach -

Thanks for the reply! And the knowledge on the area. I forgot to set the notify button on my post, so a bit of a delay here, glad I checked back.

I'm pretty competent in the snow, have been snowboarding for about 15 years now. I haven't done much if any back country snow adventures, so I don't have any safety equipment for snow and am not sure what would be recommended.

Checked out your link to Red Lake Ridge. They put the level as:
Ability: Advanced-Expert

Reading about the bowl on there makes me think it may be out of my skill range to start. Was hoping to start on some flats. Sounds epic though once I get comfortable.

Snow shoes are a great idea and I'll probably try and rent a pair of those regardless of location.

Given my lack of experience with Ice, I'd like to avoid any lakes that need me to check for ice thickness. Martis Meadows seems like it may be the best spot for my first go around, barbwire fences sound like obstacles I can manage. Don't want to get a ticket/piss people off at Lake VanNorden and ruin a blue bird day.

Any thoughts on Martis Meadows?

Would be pumped to have someone else to Kite with. I'm 99% sure I'll be headed up on 3/23 for the day w/ snow shoeing equipment. I can let you know closer to.

SS$$

-Preston

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Re: Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by Yoda » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:47 pm

pzorner wrote: Checked out your link to Red Lake Ridge. They put the level as:
Ability: Advanced-Expert

Snow shoes are a great idea and I'll probably try and rent a pair of those regardless of location.

Any thoughts on Martis Meadows?
Red Lake is referenced as Advanced/Expert because it's a slope vs flats. Kiting up hill and either riding back down or gliding down takes some skill, so it's best to avoid this place until ready. Also depending on the conditions, you're in avalanche country, so having a beacon, probe, and shovel and knowing how to use them can be crucial to safely kiting there.

Snowshoes will be the BEST investment you can have for snowkiting. I almost always carry them when kiting since I'm on a snowboard. Nothing is worse than having the wind die and then having to hike back out 100+ yards in knee deep snow. Snowshoes will save you a lot of headache!
You don't need the high-end snowshoes with fancy bindings and climbing bars. I prefer MSR's basic Lightning snowshoe since they have a simple binding design that's easy to use with gloves, they're lightweight, and they pack well onto/into a backpack. MSR's plastic ones work well too (Revo & Evo), but they're super noisy and can drive one nuts when hiking. YMMV

Regarding Martis Meadows...
For the last several seasons now the turnouts on the S side of Hwy 267 have been removed and there's no place to park along the highway. In fact I believe parking is now prohibited along that whole section of the highway.
If going to the N side of LT, the only ideal spots imo for beginners are Boca and Prosser Creek reservoirs. Tahoe Meadows (aka Mt Rose Meadows) can also be good for beginners, but the wind there can be fickle and gusty... some days are great, some are sketchy.

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Re: Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by pzorner » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:25 pm

Awesome! Thanks for the tips Yoda.
Boca sounds like it will hopefully be dry, so I think I'll check it out first.

Any tips on checking for water level/frozen?

I wasn't able to get a clear read here:
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecstation2/?sta=BCA

Just check in real life when I go? My assumption is it is all ice given recent weather.

"The Boca area is comprised of Boca, Prosser and Stampede Reservoirs and are best on years when the lake water levels are very low. Often the water levels get lower in the winter, leaving a wide open lake bed ideal for snow kiting. Check the snow depth here before launching, there are rocks underneath the snow."

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Re: Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by Yoda » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:50 pm

pzorner wrote: Any tips on checking for water level/frozen?

Just check in real life when I go? My assumption is it is all ice given recent weather.
I recall Prosser being more accessible and you can kite on the flats nearby when the reservoir is low, so there's no need to get onto the ice portions. I haven't kited at Boca yet, so no experience there.
As far as the lake levels, ice thickness, and exposed rocks... they should all be a non-issue now with the deep snowpack.;)
I don't know of any good websites for reservoir data and ice. Maybe some snowmobile forums?

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Re: Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by pzorner » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:30 pm

Wanted to follow-up for any other snow Beginners that might come to this thread. Just made it out to Tahoe to Snowkite yesterday. Wind was minimal, so just got my kite up but no boarding.

I went to Boca to start, it would be great when there is more snow or if the resiviour is not flowing. I found a spot with about 50 yards of clear snow on the shoreline of the resivour which was very much not frozen. For a true beginner this would be a fine place to test things out if there was wind.

I then drove to some sno-parks. Ended up going to Hope Valley. I didn't get to ride here because of the wind, but will be where I go next time. Expansive amounts of land it looks like you can just get a parking permit and be good. I probably should have come to Hope Valley first, as I liked the spot better for my skill level.

Will report back if I get out to Hope Valley soon. Lots of the snow seems to have melted or rained away in spots despite how much it dumped this year.

If you look for tracks or snowmobile tracks you can make sure that the area is probably safe to walk through with the right gear, I brought snowshoes.

Overall trip made me more comfortable in snow as I typically just head to the resorts to board, and had never been in snow shoes.

-Preston

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Re: Snowkite Lake Van Norden

Post by alexglebov » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:47 pm

Hi Preston,
I just saw your thread about snowkiting. Hope Valley and Grass Lake are two areas I went this last winter. I hope we continue next year.

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