Latest news from the Snowkite Freeride
Posted on Dec 13, 2005 by Brian
The Ozone Team loaded into the crew van and headed north for the weekend in search of snow and wind. The plan was to hit as many spots as possible, and so far itís been an amazing trip with Snowkiting in new destinations everyday, and we have found some incredible new terrain along the way. First stop was the Montana Round-up at Georgetown Lake where the winds were good for Friday and Saturday. While half the team stayed on the lake I joined Noah and Matt for a side trip to the Big Hole backcountry. We found wind blowing thru a canyon and directed straight up the face of a totally snow-covered hill. We hiked in above the sagebrush, unrolled our kites and began looping them up to the top of the hill. Even tho the wind was the same as on the lake and we were riding 10-14 meter kites, due to the slope we were able to take long floaty jumps, just hovering in the hills up-draft. We kited until sunset and then boarded down to the truck. Sunday saw our team of 3 girls accompanied by designer, Rob W and myself heading up to Macdonald Pass outside of Helena, Montana.
The winds atop the pass were too strong, so we went down a 1000 feet to a lower parking area. From there we had to hike up 200 yards to an open area where we could lay out the kites. !0 and 12 meter Frenzyís took to the sky and everyone chose their own playground. Rob would work upslope, only to turn back down on a speed run for big air. The girls chose to chase eachother on speed runs across the bowl, while I broke out and headed for the summit. A series of loops to the right followed by loops to the left became the mantra as I worked my way around exposed boulder fields on my way to the main ridge line. As I made it higher and closer to the ridge, the wind picked up and the kiteloops turned into slow S turns uphill and into the wind as I made steady speed towards the peak.
A set of radio towers marks the very top, but high winds had blown the snow off, and as the grinding sound of Ptex overtook the sounds of my headphones, I decided to turn back, just short of goal. The sun was setting anyway, and the ride down was one of the coolest views Iíve witnessed in a long time. Monday morning the van was loaded and the crew was southbound for Idaho and Island Park. As we drove thru there wasnít an ounce of wind as blue skies and high pressure had set in across the region, but everything was in our favor. We pulled into the snowmo parking area across from miles of untracked powder fields. The wind was just kicking on at midday and we pulled out our 12 and 14 meter kites. During the next 3 hour session the wind picked up steadily and the 5 of us cruised all over. Rob and I found a half mile long 30 foot high gully-ridge, that was a perfect quarter pipe for kiteloop jumps. As the wind dropped off along with the temps, we hopped back in the van and continued our journey to Wyoming and Jackson Hole.
Tahoe Postponed - Freeride Tour update!
Posted on Dec 09, 2005 by Brian
This is an urgent message regarding the Lake Tahoe Ozone Snowkite Freeride event scheduled for this weekend, December 10th and 11th. Unfortunately, due to lack of snow and un-ride-able conditions we have determined it to be unsafe to host the Snowkite Freeride and product demo this weekend. Members of the Ozone team will be available Saturday and Sunday morning at Kirkwood to answer questions about Snowkiting and Ozoneís latest winter products, so come on up and visit the guys and hit the lifts for a day of downhilling before racking up the night at the UN party!. Again, we will not be flying kites at Kirkwood, or in the backcountry this weekend because of limited snow coverage. The Ozone Snowkite Freeride Tour is only postponed and will return to Tahoe at a later date this winter when snow conditions have improved. Stay tuned to www.ozonesnowkites.com for current details throughout the season.
The Snowkite Freeride will be taking a detour and joining the Montana crew this weekend at Georgetown Lake. So anyone stoked to Snowkite should head North this weekend.
Skyline - Ozone Snowkite Freeride
Posted on Dec 08, 2005 by Brian
The Snow was deep, the wind was up and the visibility was down. This past weekend turned out some of the harshest winter weather Skyline has ever seen, but that didnít stop over a hundred registered Snowkiters from assaulting the hills and throwing down in the madness. I want to send a huge Thank You to everyone that came out to support this years Snowkite Freeride Tour kickoff at Skyline, you are the ones that are making this sport happen! Each person that participated and went out riding despite the intense weather, collectively Ďstepped-upí the level of Snowkiting across the board. They proved that Snowkiters are HARD CORE and can handle anything.
The RecapÖÖ.Good riding was found all over Skyline with plenty of snow on the ground and in the air. Many riders had their first uphill runs and even their biggest hillside airs, enjoying the soft powder landings. White out conditions prevailed during the days and many riders found themselves lost in the soup, unable to find their way back to base camp. Thankfully Jake Walker (as seen in Kiteboarding mag on his sled) ran a safety patrol on his snowmo and rescued many downed riders, becoming the hero of the weekend. Saturday night was spent at the Triangle Lounge in Mt Pleasant, where the friendly locals showed the visiting kiters a good time. The RBVís were flowing and Chip Wasson hosted the prize give away, where many Snowkiters went home stoked with new gear like Zeal goggles, UN Kite jackets, Ozone kites and schwag from all of the tour sponsors. Sunday ushered in even stronger winds and more snow with a high temp of 10 degrees, but for those that held out all weekend, the clouds would lift and the sun would pop out for an epic afternoon session. Finally we could see all of the Pow that had been piling up and everyone took full advantage of the conditions. Some of the Montana and Utah crew hooked up for an amazing downwinder right before sunset, realizing once again what Snowkiting is all about. By Monday morning the crowds were heading home while the skies turned blue, and the mountain rewarded those that withstood its wintry onslaught with the sweetest rides ever.
A huge Thanks goes out to all of the Snowkite Freeride Tour sponsors that have made this event possible, Dakine, Zeal Optics, Ultra Nectar, Ozone Snowkites, Anti-Gravity Boards, APO snowboards, Ska Brewing, GS Photography, Rossignol and The Kiteboarder magazine. Most importantly, props go out to all of the riders that brought a positive Vibe to this event. Over 17 states and 3 countries were represented by Snowkiters that came together to Freeride and push the sport to the next level, Thank you for believing!
Beartooth Pass Snowkite Adventure: High Winds, High Mountains and The Man
Posted on Oct 10, 2005 by Brian
Yesterday was my second day of snowkiting for this winter. It was all over the news that the Beartooth Highway was going to open on Friday, October 7th at ten in the morning after a summer of serious road repairs due to rockslides. With Montanaís recent snow and a tight isobars forecast I was sure that I would get a session at 10,000 feet.
Lots of dignitaries were going to be there to cut the ribbon and say their words. Because it was blowing so hard, these politicos would be off the mountain ASAP. As I drove up from Red Lodge, sure enough, down came a long procession of government types.
Getting get up to the top of the Beartooth Plateau, I was psyched! The immense view says one thing to me: snowkite heaven. Snow and wind is everywhere. Itís blowing 35 to 45 and thereís plenty of fresh powder. Itís blowing so hard that the plow truck keeps making passes just to keep the road open.
My first session is with my 7 Frenzy and Iím seriously overpowered in the gusts. After ten minutes, I drop down to a 5 and find that itís perfect as the gusts are hitting 50+. I know that there is no option for screw-ups in this environment, thereís conspicuous grey mounds under the snow: granite. These boulders are easy to steer around, but I definitely donít want to t-bone one.
The kiting was superb. Super lit on my 5, I could climb with ease. The descents were scary fast. With the kite just off neutral, the wing would build huge amounts of apparent wind, propelling me down slope faster and faster. I would rip into the bottom of the basin and crank carving high speed jibes. I was possessed. Powering back up the slope, laying hard into my edge, Iíd boost lazy, floaty air. Over and over. Iím shredding smooth wind-laid powder, dodging rocks, boosting on the lulls and finessing the gusts. Itís my personal snowkite nirvana.
After a while, I kite back up to the truck, take a break, eat some food and chat with the snow plow guy. He says that it sure looks like Iím having fun out there. I agree. He also tells me that heís going to lock the gate six miles down and that I need to leave by 1:30 p.m. Since Iím fully provisioned, I say, ďIs there any problem with me spending the night up here?Ē He says, ďNo problem.Ē and off he goes, down the mountain, plowing the wind drifts. Later on, he waves. Now, itís just me and the mountains for the night. Ya mon!
So I go out for another session and itís as good as the first, maybe a little better as Iím really getting tuned. Itís such a rush to be up there, no one around for miles, redline snowkiting.
Session three comes around at 3:30 p.m. and I know that this will be my last one of the day, and probably my longest as I want to milk it for all itís worth. The wind seems even stronger as I triple check my lines before pulling the trigger. Itís another first class session. The gusts are dangerously powerful, blowing snow completely obliterating the view of the ground in front of me. I rage throughout the basin, ignoring the occasional core shots. Boosting with the 5 Frenzy is intensely cerebral. Hell, itís just a little bigger then a trainer and Iím flying! Kiting in gusty mountain wind takes a sensitive touch on the bar and an acute awareness to the kite. There is no room for error. Rhythm comes from having done this so many times. Itís not for everyone, but I like it.
After two hours, I cruise downwind towards a small pass and find another ballroom of powder waiting for me. I'm having one of the most extreme high wind sessions of my life and all of a sudden: sirens go off. Literally. I look over towards the road, a half a mile, away, and thereís a Montana Highway Patrol car and a truck from the DOT, too. Their lights are flashing, the sirens whooping and Iím getting the message. Iím thinking, ďThey arenít applauding my kite skills. They probably would like to see me, up close and personal.Ē
So, knowing that the show will be over soon, I take off, out of view. I kite around a small peak, enjoying the last bit of snowkite paradise. I go further around the peak and come up on them from downwind.
Arriving at the MHP car, I drop my kite and am greeted by a big cop who says ďLetís see some I.D.Ē Heís been watching me for at least an hour; heís already run my license plate, so he knows who I am. But, he wants my driverís license anyway.
With no outstanding warrants, he tells me that I have to get off the mountain and that I am to follow the DOT truck down and heíll follow me. My party of one is definitely over.
The DOT guy is in charge of plowing. He tells me that with the high winds and an impending snow storm, the road will probably not open tomorrow. Thereís a chance, but not much. I can camp below the gate, and I do. By nine the next morning, Iím sure: Thereís no kiting for me today. Off I go, back to Bozeman.
Now, the rest of the storyÖ
Iím getting on Interstate 90 by Columbus, MT and a Montana highway patrol car pulls out in front of me. Heís going 80, and I settle in at 75. After about ten miles he starts to slow down, 70, 65, and 60. Heís in the passing land so I nervously pass him in the slow lane. Right away, he pulls in behind me and his lights go on. Heís pulling me over! Now what? So, he gets out of his cruiser, and walks up to my passenger side window holding a brown manila envelope. Now Iím really wondering, ďWhatís upĒ?
ďGood Morning Officer.Ē
He says, ďDo you remember me from yesterday?Ē
Itís the same cop! I say, ďYes.Ē
ďWhen you were out on the mountain I was trying to find out who you were and I got this magazine from the back of your truck. I was going to mail it to you today, so here you go.Ē He then hands me the envelope, addressed to me, with postage, ready to mail.
Apparently The Man had gone into the back of my truck, opened a cargo box and lifted my latest issue of SBC Kiteboard! Not only that, he kept it overnight!
Now Iím wondering if heís gonnaíÖ
See ya out there,
Greenspeed team crosses Greenland in 7 days with Snowkites
Posted on May 31, 2005 by Brian
After a 48hour push, the Greenspeed team arrived safely on the West side of Greenland, setting a new world record for the fastest crossing of the Ice Cap. The team used snowkites to aid their journey and were able to cover an amazing amount of ground in very little time. Here is a dispatch from the expedition.
"The GreenSpeed expedition started from N 65 46 736 W 38 32 869 on Tuesday, May 17 at 13h47 hrs on the east side of the Greenland Ice Cap. We finished the crossing at N 67 09 180 W 50 02 450 on Friday, May 27 at 12h49 hrs. By beating the previous record of 8 days, we have now become the fastest team to cross the Greenland Ice Cap in 7 days (6 days and 23 hours)."
The team will now be heading back East, crossing the Greenland Ice cap once more on their way home. During the return trip the Team is hoping for good winds, so they can break the record for distance traveled by kite during a 24 hour period. Alain Hubert, Belgium, holds the longest kite ski record at 271 kilometers; completed in 1995 on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
Congrats Team, and good luck in Antarctica next!
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