Speeding across snow and ice, powered by wind and remarkably little effort, I wonder why it has taken me so long to try kite skiing… It is fun and surprisingly easy.
Earlier this year I celebrated a reasonably important birthday and my family set aside $20 per year of life for some sort of activity (I wasn’t allowed to save the money).
I considered another heli-ski adventure (but I would have had to top-up the reserves) or climbing in warmer areas, but honestly, after so much travel this year, I just looked around home.
Surprisingly I had no idea, but right here in Canmore / Banff we have Rocky Mountain Snow Kite. I did not actually know the gentlemen who own the business, but we have many friends in common. I knew I would enjoy the experience regardless, but the quality of instruction, the location, and the equipment exceeded expectations.
We kited from their cabin located on the Spray Lakes, in Kananaskis (our Provincial Park which borders Banff). Typical of ice-fishing shacks it was heated and offered respite from the cold, yet desired wind.
The Spray Valley is my backyard and honestly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I have seen kites (sails) up in the natural wind tunnel but really had not given it much thought.
Now I’ll probably keep renting kites until I improve my skill and decide to buy.
The sport is a mix of skiing (or snowboarding), paragliding (with much practice) and sliding. I did not fall once and would even recommend the activity to non-skiers. I kept my boots very loose.
Winter just technically began Dec. 21, but the winter freeze came hard and fast about three weeks ago. Before the snow we were already playing hockey on the ice, but when the snow arrives we mountain people focus on skiing.
I enjoy skiing in most settings and particularly enjoy ski touring (hiking up and skiing down). By learning to kite I should be able to access high alpine areas more easily.
I do not often write about specific activities, but after this fun experience, I really do want to support the sport and the guys at Rocky Mountain Snow Kite. I also want people who already love our mountains to discover Kananaskis!
During these short winter days, it is so important to go outside and enjoy this magnificent environment.