Snow Kiteboarding Turns Kitesurfing
Into a Year-Round Passion

Snow kiteboarding, better known as snowkiting, is said to be the best thing that happened to kitesurfing. Now kiting addicts can feed their passion year-round by heading for the snowy hills, frozen lakes or open spaces with snowboards or skis and a kite! Skip the ski hill crowds and find places all to yourself.

Snow kiteboarding is a versatile sport because it can be done in many locations where there is snow and in lighter wind. Snow kiters can take advantage of lighter winds than kitesurfers because there is much less resistance to the wind without the drag of water. Harder packed snow will have even less drag than deep powder; and the great variety of snowkiting spots and new types of terrain to choose from, add exciting possibilities!

Snow Kiting Tips

Snowkiting the Prairies - endless possibilities - giving new meaning to the flat life!

You would typically use smaller kites than in the same wind speed in the water.

Snow kiteboarding generally follows the the basics of kitesurfing. You need to ensure that there are very few obstacles around (powerlines, people, trees, things sticking out of the ground) and if on a frozen lake that the ice is at least 6 or more inches thick. With lakes and any open area ensure there is enough of a snow base that you are not hitting the ice or unforeseen objects below.

Here's a great introduction to those new to snowkiting.

When scoping out a new snow kiting location you want to look for consistent and steady wind. Winter wind can be very gusty and change direction dangerously. This is especially true in steeper locations. Look for more open spaces and flatter terrain when just getting started out in this sport.
Click here for links to:
Snowkiting Tips
Ontario Snowkiting & kiteboarding
Whistler Snowkiting

Check out these snowkiters from Colorado kiting on the local fields after an early snow fall...they show just how accessible snowkiting can out for trees though!!

There are two main types of kites used for snow kiteboarding: leading edge inflatables (LEIs) that are commonly used in the water; and, foil kites (sometimes used in water).

There are advantages to both but the best type of kite for land is the foil kite. The are quicker to set-up and pack away - no pumping. They handle lighter wind because they are lighter. They lie flat on the ground so won't get blown away like your regular LEI will.They are powerful kites and sizes of foils are generally smaller than LEIs for the same amount of wind. Foils can act erratically in very gusty conditions turning inside out - buy a tested brand if you are thinking of getting one.There are a lot of lines coming out of them - be sure to keep them organized.

The main advantage of using an LEI is probably the fact that you already have a few of them from kitesurfing. They are also designed with more depower from sheeting out. The downside to these kites is that they are more difficult to relaunch on land than water. This is more true when using the C shape kites. Todays SLEs (Supported Leading Edge) Inflatable kites are much easier to launch - sometimes too easy and they launch pretty hot on snow (ie too downwind and do not on the side of the wind window). Using an inflatable also means that you need to carry around a pump and use it in VERY cold weather. And more fiddling around with attachment points while your fingers freeze.

A new type of "sheetable foil" kite is coming onto the market that combines the sheetability (depower) of an inflatable with the benefits of using a foil kite. These kites are considerably more expensive but with greater range you will hopefully own less kites for snow kiting.

Kiteskiing in Whistler BC with a sheetable foil kite.

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