6 posts in this topic
It has been an interesting journey to Zac and my first snow kiting session. It all started with those far and few in-between posts from around the global of snow kiting and me thinking I’d like to do that. Back in Oz, it was some thing like a six hour drive just to get there, and to start with apart from the kites we did not have the gear. So lot’s of questions to those on the EK that might know thing about Snow kiting (thanks @clive and @goshen), slowly the picture came together. Then came the big move from Australia to New Zealand - South Island - Christchurch, snow kiting would finally become a reality. First step was to pick whether we were to ski or snow board, since we already have experience on landboards, surfboards and skate boards, it was a natural choice … hm at the time … to pick snow boards. We now have 1.75 years experience behind us snow boarding on the steep slopes of New Zealand, just gravity runs. In the mean time I was scouring over reports/stories of snow kiting in New Zealand, to pick suitable places to go and were reasonably close to where we live, and what dangers to look out for. @outlaw gave us some great tips. More scanning on-line topographic maps. We don’t have any avalanche training, and from reading on the subject, unless you are trained, on off piste trails keep below 30degree inclines. More scanning of topographic maps. Then there was the question of at what altitude does the snow begin, rather a challenge here in New Zealand as most of the mountains with snow on them are really steep. So more keeping an eye on weather maps for snow falls and wind.
Finally the planets aligned, our favourite down hill snowboarding field, Mt Hutt was forecast to be shut (aka Mt Shutt) due to high winds, with the weather forecasts indicating strong to gale conditions. So were we going to bite off more than we could chew? More scanning of the weather maps, must say https://www.windy.com proved to be very useful, thanks @plummet. So it was either a 1.5 hr drive Mt Somer with a 400 metre hike to where the snow might begin and 30 knot winds forecast or a 3hr drive to Round Hill in the south where 15 knot winds were forecast with a hop skip and jump from our car to the kite launch spot. Round Hill has some nice low slope inclines before the steep 30 degree inclines begin, but would the snow line be low enough? Found some web cams at the village next to Lake Tekapo, bonzi — looks like the snow line would be low enough and we had two potential sites around the lake, Round Hill and Mt Joseph. Round Hill was it then. It also had a ski field, so if the wind would not play ball we could hit the ski field.
It was going to be an early morning start, waking up at 5am, no different to our usual weekends to Mt Hutt. Great road trip Round Hill, we arrived at 0900 and we were greeted with plenty of snow with not too steep slopes. The wind was very light but with occasional gusts, and the angry clouds building up North West of us, where the 100 to 120 km winds at Mt Hutt were blowing. Cut a long story short, we made a few trips up and down the hill from the car to the kite launching spot to get it right with kite sizes. Here is a video of our kiting session, sorry no fancy go pro videos, just stills and movies from our mobile phones.
By 1530 we were both totally knackered, called it a day and drove back home. Was a great day out, looking forward to the next session.
Norman and Zac.