Update Written by Justin Libby, local Anchorage kiter. Week of 3/1/14
I recently (with my wife and dad) made the drive to Thompson Pass, AK. Our plan was fairly flexible even down to where we would be staying. We towed a trailer that would become our home for the next 3 days while exploring the backcountry of Valdez proper and Thompson Pass.
We parked and staged out of the Odyssey Lake pull out. The snow conditions were “healing” as the early Jan/Feb thaw affected nearly the entire Chugach. There had just been 10-12 inches of new snow in the last 48 hrs before we got there. Some friends of ours operate the H20 heli-guides operation and we spent one night down in town drawing on their local knowledge of what to be looking for and what to be looking out for!
Ice skate kiting in the Matanuska Valley is pretty epic at the moment. The current snow surface on Lake Lucille, Alaska is about 3ft thick of shear Ice. A smooth ice surface makes great kiting conditions. There is a little bit of dust on the lake, so get your skates sharpened. If you have a long session you may have to get a new edge sharpened before the next time on ice. If you play hockey like most of our students, don’t play hockey after ice kiting! (dull edges) Especially if you are a goalie! (230 lb goalies cannot do splits.) Snowpack is minimal currently. Grab your skates, pads, and girdle and come out and ice kite with us! Experts tip. Watch for skating over kite lines. You can sever a 600 lb test line accidentally and with little effort.
Wings over Valdez and Alaska Kite Adventures is proud to announce its partnership with VSHelicopters (Vertical Solutions). VSHelicopters will provide the shuttle service from Valdez to the top of Town Mtn or Mile High Mtn for the Paraglider pilots and the Speed Glider pilots during the March 29th 2014 Wings over Valdez free-flight exhibition. (read below for details) VSHelicopters specializes in flight tours, charter flights, equipment hauling and much more! Visiting paragliding pilots, speed riders and snowkiters can hire VSH for a day of helicopter access mountain flying! For more info click the VSHelicopter link.
As part of the Thompson Pass Snowkite and Airsports Festival, World class pilots and Alaska Kite Adventures will bring our flying talent and display of wings to the City of Valdez, Alaska. March 29. The free-flying community- Paragliders, Speedriders, Wingsuit, and Base Jumpers will put on an aerial exhibition of colorful wings and acrobatic maneuvers for everyone in town to see. Check this video out of World Champion Marvin Ogger flying and tumbling over Valdez and Thompson pass. Filmed by Nico Chibac
This is the first year for an Airsports show for Valdez. We will be featuring several different flying aspects of our sport. VSHelicopters will whisk pilots to the top of Town Mountain 5000ft or Mile High Mtn 5200ft. Paragliders will lose elevation over the city performing synchronized acrobatic spirals, tumbles and wingovers. Speedriders will launch and proximity fly over Town Mountain or Mile High Mtn. Look out for Base Jumpers and Wingsuit flyers! Also, Paramotorists will be performing an exhibition for Snowfest. Every spring, The Thompson Pass Snowkite Festival and the Tailgate Alaska events bring in hundreds if not thousands of snowsports and extreme sports enthusiasts from around the world. These events take place in Thompson Pass 30 miles east of Valdez. For the interested spectator or local living in Valdez, it is not very accessible for most people to watch the world class events and athletes in Thompson Pass.
Alaska Kite Adventures idea was to bring the big airshow to the skies over Valdez. Now everyone can witness and participate interactively with the spring energy that brings people from all over the world to Valdez. If weather cooporates, we will be coordinating with the Valdez Snowfest – A snowmachine Big Air Freestyle event and Party. Valdez Snowfest will be held in the cannery parking lot on the south-side of the Valdez Marina, the old Sea Otter. We are planning on starting the air-show around 2pm and performing until 6pm just before the start of the snowmachine Big Air Freestyle. Our landing area will be in the middle of Snowfest! At the conclusion of events the Valdez Convention and Visitors Bureau will be hosting a beer garden, bonfire, party and music! If the weather does not cooperate on the 29th of March we have 10 days to reschedule Wings over Valdez for the next open weather window. If you would like to participate or if you are a vendor or have any general questions. Please give Tom a call (907)947-4775
Every Winter, Alaskan Kiteboarders migrate South to Baja California, Mexico. They recoup the loss of Vitamin D during the long winters in AK. Alaskans migrate to La Ventana or Los Barriles the Kiteboarding capitols of Baja Mexico. We are pleased that local Kiteboarder and Snowkiter Dan Young will be representing Alaska at the Lord of the Wind event in Los Barriles January 22-26 2014.
Dan will head down to compete in the big distance race. Kitesurfers vs Windsurfers. This is one of the main events featured at L.O.W. The event is put on by the Rotary club of Los Barriles, Mexico. This Organization helps with diabetes testing, building infrastructure in the city and works on programs like purchasing and building a computer lab at the middle school. For more info on the event go to http://www.lordofthewindbaja.com/ or Check out the Face Book page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lord-of-the-Wind-Showdown/142026572492055
Mountain Sky Hotel Valdez will be partnering with the AKA and the Thompson Pass Snowkite and Airsports Festival March 28-April 6. We have negotiated an incredible festival rate for Double Occupancy rooms. Mention the Alaska Kite Adventures/Thompson pass Snowkite Festival rate. Call Mountain Sky Hotel to book reservations now. Our event is coinciding with Tailgate Alaska event, so get your room now before a Tailgater snakes your line! Call 1 800 478-4445 or go to http://www.mountainskyhotel.com to book reservations.
After setting up the AKA ramp, and hitting it a couple times, Rob from the local paper showed up and snapped off a few shots before sunset. This picture made it on the front page of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper on 1/7/14. It was beautiful day to practice freestyle Snowkiting. Lake Lucille in the Matanuska Valley delivers consistent East and North East winds. Watch out for the notorious gusty storm winds that can blow down the Matanuska Valley. Look for winds to be blowing 6-15mph out of E/NE at the Wasilla Airport guage. Click here for wind and weather link http://w1.weather.gov/obhistory/PAWS.html
Have you ever wanted to learn to fly like an Eagle? Skydance Paragliding can take you there and teach you. Our friends Scott and Steve Amy are a couple of the best flight instructors in Alaska. Lessons are available year round. Paragliding, Speedriding and Tandem instruction available.
If you ever wondered what the possibilities of Snowkiting were, here is a good place to start. This video is filmed in the French alps by our fellow French Ozone riders. This Video is confirmation why we only use the best products. Ozone Kites
AKA freestyle coach Tom, demonstrating backflip transitions for the camera. Tom offers custom freestyle lessons for the snowkiter wanting to make the next JUMP in their freestyle snowkiting progression. Contact us at AKA for more info.
Thompson Pass Snowkite and Airsports festival. Dates March 28-April 6. This year will be the 6th annual TPSFK! We are all very excited for this spring’s Snowkite and Airsports festival. This will be the first year that we are going to officially include Speedriding and Paragliding as part of the event. This means no down days. Every day brings different weather to Thompson pass near Valdez, Alaska. Some days are windy some days are calm. On the no wind and light wind days we will be Speedriding and Paragliding off the 5000ft+ mountains surrounding Thompson pass. Speedriding and Acrobatic demonstrations/competitions will be a spectator must see! Athletes from around the world will be attending our event plus the TailgateAlaska.com freeride festival just 1 mile down the road from us. Stay tuned for more information about festival details.
Check out this Speedriding mini video in Thompson Pass, featuring Joe Shimek’s quad-copter cam
Windy Island on the West side of Big Lake has a nice base snowpack of about 18 inches. As of 12/23/13.Over the last couple of weeks, the local snowkiters have been kiting and working overtime building and grooming the first series of jumps at the Kite Park. Look for features such as the road gap, quarter pipe, pyramids and a series of booster jumps. Find the Plowed parking area just downwind of Windy Island on right side of ice road. Look for winds to blowing out of the NW 6mph at Burkeshore Marina for good wind for the Kite Park. Check out the Burkeshore Marina Wind and Weather website for current report. http://www.wunderground.com/weather-forecast/US/AK/Big_Lake.html
Last winter, The Bighorn Snowkite summit meeting took place. Read Article here- http://www.flyozone.com/snowkites/en/news/archive/2013/07/22664/ A group of the leading Snowkite experts gathered in the wilderness of the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming and discussed the possibly of adopting a new snowkiting wind and terrain rating difficulty system. We would have to agree about a new universal rating system. The problem is, up here in the Final Frontier, we have what we call the Alaska factor. This means adding a higher element of exposure to the proposed rating system. For example, sub zero temperatures, crevasse navigation, ice thickness and Avalance mitigation to name only a few of the Alaska factors…Enjoy!
Snowkite Jam 2013 exceeded everyone’s expectations! Here is a short video of last years Snowkite jam highlights. Enjoy!
“Winter is Coming a Kitesurfers guide to Snowkiting.” This is an article written by our Jackson Hole brothers in Iksurf.mag.com. Check out this great article about the amazing sport we all love. http://www.iksurfmag.com/issue42/?page=43
Temperatures in Alaska have been warmer than normal over the past week. Previous storms left 6 inches of snow to consolidate to a firm, frozen edge-able base. This means a dependable snowkiting surface will bond to the normally slick ice. A handful of Snowkiting locals have been priming up their early season snowkiting skills. Due to calm winds and slick roads our refresher clinic will be moved to Saturday December 14
Join Alaska Kite Adventures for Winter Snowkite clinics starting December 7 on Big Lake. Join us for a 3hr refresher snowkiting course. All abilities are welcome! Our focus will be on flying basics, set up, self launching and self landing. Emergency release practice and much more. Price will be 99.00. Contact Tom for more details
Testimonial from a Snowkite Jammer after his trip with us:
“Going to Alaska was like a dream. It exceeded all of my expectations and everyone was so AWESOME! That’s what I liked the most. I felt at home. This is probably the most important aspect of any trip for anyone. Conditions are important, but having people that are better than you, willing to provide tips and with a positive attitude is what made my trip.”
-Juan Carlos from Puerto Rico
www.snowkitejam.com for more info…
This first group of Alaskan Snowkiters have been doing some early season riding on several frozen lakes and coastal areas. We are all patiently waiting for the white gold to accumulate. In the meantime here is a snowkite video filmed at Turnagain Pass, Portage Lake and Big Lake over the last two years. Enjoy!
Alaska Kite Adventures is clearing all of its current inventory and getting ready to stock new Ozone kites for 2014! Check out our list of new and used Ozone kites selling for blowout prices!
In the fall of 2000 James Fredericks suffered a broken neck resulting in partial Quadriplegia. The impact came from diving into dark shallow water off the rocky coast of San Diego. Over 13 years later, James still amazes people every day. He is one of the managers at Tumalo Creek river supply in Bend, OR. His condition does not stop James from having fun and living his life to the fullest! He is an accomplished disabled river kayaker, flat water kayaker, Hobie Island sail boat specialist and RC airplane instructor. For some reason James has not had a chance to try proper Kite buggying. A Kite buggy is a three wheeled adult trike that is foot steered. A normal kite and harness is needed to complete a kite buggy set up.
The story this day was upon James’ insisting to have both his hands duct taped to the delta stunt kites handles. After some reassuring from James, his friends reluctantly taped his hands to the kite controls. Apparently James was having so much fun and producing lots of kite power, his buddies eventually were worn out trying to hold him on the ground! Stay tuned for the next James update when he tries kite buggying next!
Alaska Kite Adventures Snowkite Ambassador Ken Lucas, representing our sport in Powder Magazine online! Snow is starting to fly in the Mountains here in AK. We cannot wait to get our first tracks Snowkiting in the Alaskan backcountry!
This year AlaskaKiteAdventures.com and KitesurfAlaska.com will be hosting the 6th annual Homer Kitesurf Festival! Come out to Mariner park at the base of the Homer spit the weekend of June 14,15 and 16th. The idea behind the first Homer Kitesurf Festival was to promote the sport of Kitesurfing/Kiteboarding to the public in Alaska. We wanted to provide cheap access to kites and insturction, kiteboarding education, gear swap, raffle, and a BBQ. Not much has changed since that first year. To sum it up the Homer Kitesurf Festival is the annual beginning of the year kite gathering where new people get a chance to fly small kites for their first time. For the seasoned veteran kiters, it is more like a family reunion and a chance to camp and catch up with good friends. Plan on Bringing your Wetsuit/Drysuit, Helmet, Booties and PFD. This year we will charge an entry fee of 20.00. This will give you access to trainer kites all weekend, demo water kites from Ozone, raffle ticket, access to Kiteboarding/Safety clinics. Most people plan on camping at Mariner Park right at our event site! Some will tent camp, others will drive their RV’s and others will stay at Hotels. Every night we will have a bonfire and usually a BBQ set up. Plan on BYOB and BBQ items! Photo credit below thanks to- Tehben Dean Photography
The Kiteboarding season is here! Actually the hardcore locals of the Turnagain arm have been Kiteboarding on water since March! For most of the mortals out there, the season is on! The Turnagain Hardcore Crew have been riding every windy low tide session at McHugh point. Also the first of the downwinder runs from Upper Potters Marsh to Carr-Gottstien park (5mi) have been logged. There was a crew of locals that rode from Girdwood to Anchorage on a low tide and passed right over the Bore tide that fills in the Turnagain Arm. A 20 or so mile downwinder!
If you have dreamed of learning to Kiteboard in Alaska, this is the summer to learn! The sandbars at McHugh point are in perfect condition for learning. Shallow water and strong clean consistent wind are the keys to success. Of course, world class instruction through AKA will jump start your Kiteboarding career. Please call or email us for details about getting started.
Photo Credit: Albert Circosta (local shredder)
Our official press release for the Snowkite Festival…
Alaska Kite Adventures will be hosting the 5th annual 2013 Thompson Pass Snowkite festival. April 5,6 and 7. The location of the Festival is mile 27 of the Richardson Hwy. 27 miles outside of the city of Valdez, Alaska. The festival parking area is on Odyssey Lake under where the Power lines cross the Highway near the DOT station buildings. Overflow parking is 300 meters North of main parking area on the opposite side of the Hwy. Driving from Anchorage to Thompson pass takes about 5 hours +/-. There are several ways to get to Thompson Pass. Rent an RV, Drive your own car, Fly into Valdez, or take the Ferry from several ports around Alaska. People will be camping in RV’s or tents in the pass at our parking area. Other people will drive the 30 minutes to Valdez and stay in a Hotel. Almost all restaurants close by 9 or 10pm in Valdez, so get to town early if you want hot food.
This years festival will focus on Freeriding, Instruction, Competitions TBA and Friday and Saturday night parties. There will be a raffle, T-shirts for sale and a lot of Stoke!
During the Day, we will freeride at several snowkiting locations around camp. Individual and group Lessons will be offered for those new and interested in the sport. Over the last couple of years we have had some interesting competitions. It will all depend on the wind conditions, snow conditions and weather for the day. This will help us determine the type of competition and location for the event.
The Friday night festival kick off party will be at the historical Tsaina lodge bar. An Iconic Thompson Pass bar that has been renovated along with their A+ accommodations at the Tsaina Lodge. Bring your thirst and appetite. There will be food available at the bar for the Festival Attendees. Most likely we will have a BBQ and keg beer on the deck. Inside there will be a gourmet appetizer menu, Live music, pool table and plenty to drink.
The Saturday eve party will be at the festival parking lot. We plan on having a “Tent Crawl” theme party. Attendees are planning on bringing Arctic oven heated tents with wood stoves and having theme tents. For example the Swiss party will have Fondue and Swiss beer. The German tent will have German beer and bratwurst. The AKA tent/RV will have a Thai theme. Green Curry and Thai beer! Think about your theme and get ready to have fun! RV’s will serve as warming places and social gatherings for attendees too. Also, warm up with our famous Bonfire and listen to Alaskan tales about high adventure in the 49th state.
A lot of the terrain we ride in, are in avalanche prone areas. We will have a daily avalanche report to keep everyone informed and safe. That said, anyone kiting on the slopes in avalanche areas needs to use an avalanche beacon. Be safe, stay informed, and practice beacon searches with friends.
Plan on bringing snowkite gear, plenty of Alaskan warm weather gear, extra gloves, socks, goggles, under layers and lots of food for the days. For additional information Call Tom at 907 947-4775
Here is a short video filmed off Victor Rd in Anchorage. The Cook Inlet flats have been providing enough snow coverage to have a few sessions right in town. Several people have been taking advantage of South, SE, NW, North and NE winds that make it possible to kite on these beaches. South and NW winds are the most stable and consistent winds. SE, and NE winds tend to get a bit gusty. In this video, here is an example about keeping the kite loaded in underpowered wind conditions. Wind speed was about 10-12mph using a 9m Ozone C-4 kite. In light winds, by keeping the kite constantly moving, this keeps loaded tension on the kite lines. Notice the narrow gap of a 60ft hill and the tight corridor of trees. Having knowledge of ridge lift from wind on the hill and keeping the kite loaded and moving allows the Snowkiter to maneuver in tight spots and remain in control. A great day riding the backside of a strong Low pressure storm. Filmed and Edited by Dan Young.
Snowkiting and Kiteboarding sports are akin to becoming a pilot. You cannot expect to become a pilot in a matter of a couple of days. These are sports that take time and dedication. Learning about Wind can be a six hour lesson in as itself. Prepare to reeducate yourself and learn to look at the outside elements differently. Are the trees moving? What direction is the wind coming from? What is the snowpack condition? Is the Ice thickness safe? Will I be in Avalanche terrain? Is the wind going to die off today? What time is high and low tide? Is there a storm front approaching? What is the gust differential? Am I launching in a wind shadow? What is the wind speed? Do I have a rescue contingency plan? Am I wearing an avalanche beacon? Am I kiting on private property? Do I have the proper training? Will my actions and decisions endanger myself and/or others? These are some of the questions that we must ask ourselves on a daily basis. Snowkiting is not you being on autopilot and expecting a free ride. Just in case you were thinking, “I can do that”. Is snowkiting safe? Well, it depends if you are a competent pilot or driver. This takes time provided you have had the proper training. For me, I feel like I am a good kite pilot when flying my kite. I also feel like I am a good driver. Is driving a car dangerous? Depends on who is driving. Actually yes it is dangerous, but we minimize risks by using good judgement. Knowing your driving abilities, road surface conditions, traffic patterns, and driving defensively. We can mitigate risks by driving responsibly and making good decisions. Same can be said about Kiting. Minimize risks by making safe and informed decisions. This comes through time, professional instruction, experience and having a supportive kiting community.
Snowkiting in Alaska is getting significant exposure this winter… This article for NY Times online was written By Ethan T. and His sister Tara. Check out the entertaining article (which focus’ on snowkiting, ice climbing and fat tire snow biking). Also, watch the short video associated with the read. We had a great time with lessons in December at 20mile flats. Conditions were challenging on this particular day. The location is across the road from Turnagain arm near 20mile river mouth, just south of Girdwood 10 minutes. 20mile can be a great place for snowkiting when the wind and snow surface is good. Look for winds out of the Northwest 10-25mph for this snowkiting area to be in. Watch out for trains, the Seward Hwy, obstacles and possibly overflow under the snow pack.
Even though it is still winter in Alaska, Think about upcoming plans for summertime kiteboarding fun! This video, a guided trip by our friend Scott Dickerson of SurfAlaska.net shows off the majestic beauty and the kiteboarding possibilities of Alaska.
Alaska Kite Adventures gets down to the basics in Outside Magazines’ Ask the Experts column. AKA was interviewed about what it takes to start snowkiting. Our answers in short were: Go out and buy a 3m (meter) trainer kite, practice, then take a lesson when you are ready to take a little more risk and experience the power of the 4 line kite with professional instruction. Whether you are 10 years old or 60 years old, there is something for everyone in snowkiting, regardless of ability.
Portage Lake Update: Febuary 23 2013. Well, it’s frozen again for the time being. There is about 6 inches of snow on top of 8″ of slushy overflow over frozen ice. Ice thickness report is not in at this point. There were 6 snowkiters that tested conditions on Saturday the 23rd. The reports were ok. Heavy snow on top of overflow. Let’s hope temperatures keep dropping to keep lake conditions good for March and April. Be cautious and safe out there!
2/4/13 We received word that Portage Lake is not snowkiteable or safe for travel at this time. The first photo was taken in the first week of February 2013. In November and early December we had cold enough temperatures to freeze Portage Lake completely. Local Snowkiters were able to squeak out a few sessions. Since Christmas holiday, we have had warmer temperatures hanging around the 30-32 degree Fahrenheit range on average. With spring approaching and longer warmer days, Mother Nature will have her work cut to get the lake to freeze up solid again this year… For Portage Lake to be safe enough to travel on, we need weeks of temperatures of 10 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Although the surface of Portage may look snow covered, remember the ice thickness underneath is thin and fragile. Average depth of Portage Lake is 600ft…It is a long ways down. Please use good judgement when around questionable lake surfaces. Having an Ice screw is a good way to measure Ice thickness. A 6″ Ice screw works well. Portage Lake is one of the last lakes to freeze up in South Central Alaska. Although Portage may or may not be done for the year, Turnagain Pass, Summit Lake, and 20 mile are great alternative snowkite spots.
Snowkite Jam Alaska 2013. March 28-31
Amateurs and professional snowkiters will be joining forces to enjoy world class conditions with an emphasis on becoming better kiters while having fun no matter what their level is with snowkiting. Featuring advanced technique clinics from the pros, guided snowkiting with snowmobile support, top of the line gear demos, awesome parties, delicious food, luxurious accommodations, tons of alternative activities, and the best memories of your life!
Alaska Kite Adventures will provide, Guided services, local knowledge, and Snowmachine support. Join us and Snowkite Jam for an all inclusive experience of a lifetime!
For more information check out:
A great way to spend a Saturday, snowkiting on Lake Lucille! A nice easterly wind hit us at 10-20mph. A few days ago, the storm added 4″ of coverage then some freezing rain locked in the snowpack. This winter Lake Lucille has formed 3ft of Ice thickness.
AKA had seven clients and friends come out and tear up the smooth carve-able surface and nice drifts which we used for kickers. A lot of snowkiting progress was made by several people. Overall it was considered a rock star day for everyone. The smiles and stoke on everyones faces said it all.
February is a great time to start snowkiting in Alaska. Usually the snow has had a chance to pile up and build a good base.
Also, as the season moves toward March, daylight will be getting longer and longer. By the time April rolls around, it will be getting dark around 9:30pm. Soon, Alaska Kite Adventures will be setting our sights to higher elevations. Turnagain Pass, Thompson Pass, Lost Lake, and Mt Baldy near Talkeetna to name a few.
Snowkiting in higher elavations means having maximum daylight is essential. More light and warmer temps keeps everyone safer!
Lake Lucille and Wasilla Lake are known for strong gusty winds as a result of low pressure systems in the Cook Inlet Region which force wind to blow out of the glacier areas in upper Matanuska Valley. About 1/4 of the time the winds are safe enough for the novice kiter. This was one of those days!
The 5th Annual Thompson Pass Snowkite Festival April 5,6, and 7. The TPSKF event will fall on the same dates as the Tailgate Alaska/World Freeride Championships. Two world class events happening during the same week, just 2 miles from each other in Thompson Pass. TPSKF base camp and riding arena are located at approx. Mile 27 on the Richardson Hwy, about 30 miles outside Valdez Alaska. Our riding arena is called the Odyssey Valley just below Odyssey peak near the DOT station. This years event will feature Snowkite Clinics, Private Instruction, Demo kites from Ozone, Snowkite races, Freestyle exhibition and Capture the flag Mountain climb.
Last years Thompson Pass Snowkite Festival featured a very unique event. The Rusty round up. Contestant snowkiters lined up at the starting line with kites in the air. The objective was to kite up to Rusty and pull one of the orange ribbons from his harness. This proved to be quite a challenge since Rusty knew it was a game of chase and was happily eluding the snatching hands of the snowkiters. Each of the ribbons had a written prize from Alaska Kite Adventures and Ozone kites. To our surprise, and humor the event went off ridiculously well! Thanks to Tom Chaplin Rusty’s humane handler!
Aerial Photo of the Thompson Pass Snowkite Festival Arena. Photo Steve Carr
Brad Gordon of Idaho free styling for the Ladies during the freestyle exhibition
JD firing off the Starting round of the Endurance race.
A great Snowkite Cross race. Winds were blowing around 20mph. Bryce Johnson of Minnesota won the race. Jennie Milton of Australia came in a close Second!
A beautiful and chilly day of Snowkiting on Big Lake. Temperatures finally dropped with an arctic high pressure bringing single digit weather to South Central Alaska. Winds were 10-15mph from the NW. We have been waiting for some good wind on Big Lake for some time. 2″ of cold snow on top of glare ice made kiting challenging and delicate. Today was a day to work on smooth kite control and using the power of the kite to translate into butter smooth riding technique. After 4 hours of riding and probably 30-40 miles of tacking under our belt, Dan Young and I (Tom) felt completely satisfied.
A short Snowkiting teaser film, from AKA, Obadiah, Sebastian and Phillip. Filmed and Edited by Nico Chibac. The content of this film was shot in March, April and May 2012 in Various location around Alaska, Including Lake Illiamna, Thompson Pass and Mt Marcus Baker. Alaska Kite Adventures was a proud partner of the Ataraxia project, an Alaskan Snowkite, Speedfly and Mountaineering Expedition.
AKA provided Local logistical support, Equipment, Base staging facilities, and knowledge of Alaskan Backcountry. Special Thanks to Guide Obadiah Jenkins for keeping the expedition safe and sound.
Tim Wallace of Azhiaziam clothing company and Caution kites put this little video together. The video Highlights our community efforts to promote snowkiting in South Central Alaska. The Saturday of the event was our wind day. The wind picked up to around 10-12mph for most of the day. We were able to host a Kitercross race with 12-15 competitors, mass start. Bryce Johnson of Minnesota won the event. Local Palmer girl Nylene Wicks Warner came in a close second. Nylene proves to us that kiting is not really a guys sport but that ladies can be just as aggressive! We had a raffle, BBQ, tunes, competitions, freestyle exhibition and a bonfire party to round off the festivities.
The Big Lake Snowkite Round up will be postponed this year. Our efforts will go into putting together a great Thompson Pass Snowkite Festival near Valdez, Alaska April 5,6,7 2013. Updates on event soon.
Our friends at Ozone are outdoing themselves every year with innovative designs. This years kites are no exception!
Snowkiting Lessons on the frozen Kuskokwim river in Western Alaska prove to be a great learning environment! Western Alaska, or what Alaskan’s refer to as the ‘Bush’ proves its self as snowkiting Heaven. For successful snowkiting conditions the equation is simple. Snow + Wind = Snowkiting. The wind in western Alaska never quits in the winter time. Literally. It will die down only to switch directions! Add snow and wind and you will have an endless playground all winter. We are hoping to inspire people about something that has driven our lives over the past decade. In that time, snowkiting has proven its self as something here to stay, improve and liberate peoples lives.
What if early man put this equation together? Think about it. How would this activity called snowkiting change the lives of our earlier ancestors? Would there be traditions of snowkite hunting and transportation passed down through the generations? In the next month AKA is going to explore viable ways to use snowkiting as a means of subsistence. We will not know this definition yet, as we will be defining it ourselves. Video and Blog reports will follow.
Student Jeremy Hoeldt of Aniak, (with instruction of AKA coach Steve Carr) practices flying Ozone foil kites the first day of a new life shifting activity. We will try to keep track of Jeremy’s progress as he will become a role model for people living in Western Alaska.
Latest Update: Big Lake as of February 20, 2013. The snowkiting conditions on Big Lake are Awesome! Things can change on a daily basis but at the moment, we have had a great week of snowkiting with nice NW wind out of the Susitna Valley.
After a moist Holiday break, South Central Alaska was hit by a warming trend the entire Christmas through New Years week. Forty degrees temperatures warmed and melted a bit of the snowpack at sea levels. While Turnagain arm, Girdwood and Seward experienced rain and minor flooding, Big Lake retained a good amount of snowpack. As of New Year’s eve, Big Lake has 6-10″ of consolidated firm sugar like snowpack. It is now a fast and soft Snowkiteable surface.
Our Go To spot on Big Lake is a place known in the Snowkite world as Windy Island. The snowkiting location is on the west end of Big Lake. Here we usually find steady winds coming out of the Susitna Valley. This is a place that has open space, no obstructions and clean wind. It is a choice spot for beginner snowkiters to learn the sport. Access to the west end of Big Lake is Via the ice road. (Ice road Season Dec-April). The Easiest access to the lake is the South shore Boat ramp. Drive to the town of Big Lake from Parks Hwy approx. 5-6 miles. Pass through town then Pass Big Lake Airport. The Boat ramp access is about 1/4 mile past Big Lake Airport on Right. Drive on Lake approx. 3mi to Burnt Point. Take Left at Log House with Dock near road. Drive 1/2 mi. Take first Right. Then Drive 1/2 mile to Windy Island. For current wind speed and web cam photo Check: http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KAKBIGLA7 This has real time wind reading and a web cam on right side of page.
We had a great day snowkiting at Turnagain pass last Saturday. Successful lessons, good friends and a snow storm! Turnagain Pass is about an 1 hour and 15 minute drive from Anchorage, AK. Tpass as the locals call it, lays in a NE/SW wind direction. Any wind that is a dominant North East wind 10mph+ will be snowkiteable in the Pass. The most dependable wind is actually South East storm winds, blowing from Portage lake to Anchorage down the Turnagain arm. Often times, strong SE frontal storm winds will be too gusty, strong and dangerous to snowkite on Portage Lake or 20mile on the inland side of road. 30% of These SE winds in the Turnagain Arm bank up into Turnagain pass creating dependable and stable snowkiting conditions. Look for winds to blow between 6 to 20mph. A 12-17m Inflatable and a 10m-15m Foil are usually the go to kites for Tpass.
Thanks to Dionis and Dan for providing evening light for a photo shoot. More snow on the way this week! Photo by Dionis
Directions: From Turnagain Arm, drive 7-10 miles to the crest of pass. The Snowmachine parking area with restroom will be on your right. Drive 1/4mi past snowmachine area, then on your Left will be Center Ridge parking area. Park here. Be careful and walk across Seward highway and set up in the snowfield.
Hazards: Avalanche Danger below steep slopes(use avalanche beacon,shovel and probe), Creek near base of slopes, Seward Hwy Traffic, Snowmachiners. Please wind up lines to kites while resting on snow. Snowmachines will get kite lines tangles in their track! Please respect this area, as it is a snowmachine play area. There is lots of room for snowmachines and they generally venture into other suitable terrain, leaving the kiting area fairly clear. A Chugach National Forest permit is always a good Idea to have while playing within park boundaries.
Alaska Kite Adventures PRO SHOP now open! We are open for clients by appointment for the time being. Most days we are in the field teaching, usually from 11am to Dark.
We can schedule appointments accordingly. We proudly stock Ozone Foil and Inflatable Kites and all accessories any Alaskan kiter will need.
Our line of apparel just gets better, like our new AKA hoodies! Soon will arrive our AKA long sleeve shirts and female styled shirts.
New arrivals from Ozone are the Summit snowkite (foil). The Summit is designed for high performance
and replaces the Manta III. We have a 12 meter available for demo.
We had a session on it the other day in light winds. It performed very well, considering the wind was
only 6 to 10 mph. The most notable thing was the power, which turned on very smooth. The next thing
was the kite is well behaved as it did not require any special attention. More testing reports on the way…
Another new arrival is the Nutshell Helmet designed specifically for the snowkiter. The ear protection is
looking real good for keeping ears warm while still retaining hearing ability.
Stay tuned for more new products and reviews!