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SoutherlyBuster

Round Hill Snowkiting NZ

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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.

Regards,
Norman and Zac.

 

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Hi mate, new to the Christchurch area myself and in searching for snowkiting in the region came across your posts... Never tried snowkiting although have been kiting for a while & done a fair bit of snowboarding.  Would be very grateful for any local knowledge you may be able to share/pass along, and if you guys are gearing up for the 2018 season - would love to tag along sometime if I'm able! Joined this page in hopes of trying to connect - although it's said I've got to post some 10 content items before I'm allowed to flick ya a private message... Hope to get ahold of you somehow... let it snow, and blow!

Cheers, Matthew

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On 4/19/2018 at 11:33 AM, Beiland said:

Hi mate, new to the Christchurch area myself and in searching for snowkiting in the region came across your posts... Never tried snowkiting although have been kiting for a while & done a fair bit of snowboarding.  Would be very grateful for any local knowledge you may be able to share/pass along, and if you guys are gearing up for the 2018 season - would love to tag along sometime if I'm able! Joined this page in hopes of trying to connect - although it's said I've got to post some 10 content items before I'm allowed to flick ya a private message... Hope to get ahold of you somehow... let it snow, and blow!

Cheers, Matthew

Hi Matthew,

Welcome to Christchurch. It’s a great place to live in, wide scope for outdoor activities. We will post on EK in the meets section the next time we go snow kiting. Usually it is a last minute decision and the endless search for new spots. Challenge is road access without neededing a 4WD and the snow terrain being not that steep that avalanche becomes a risk ... and then the tempatation of just snowboarding at Mt Hutt. So far Round Hill is the best for us, 10 minute walk from the car and just the right goldie locks hill gradient. The valley near Mt Somer looks tempting but it’s getting the right weather conditions so the snow line is low enough, otherwise it is a days hike to get to the snow line. Then the topic of a expensive splitboards or snow shoes. So ya, Round Hill is winning so far, biggest bang for your buck, 3 hr drive from Christchurch. Thinking about the moutains inland from Alexandria, but that means an overnighter and have no clue how far I can get along the access road before my 2WD SUV says no.

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On 4/21/2018 at 9:38 AM, SoutherlyBuster said:

Hi Matthew,

Welcome to Christchurch. It’s a great place to live in, wide scope for outdoor activities. We will post on EK in the meets section the next time we go snow kiting. Usually it is a last minute decision and the endless search for new spots. Challenge is road access without neededing a 4WD and the snow terrain being not that steep that avalanche becomes a risk ... and then the tempatation of just snowboarding at Mt Hutt. So far Round Hill is the best for us, 10 minute walk from the car and just the right goldie locks hill gradient. The valley near Mt Somer looks tempting but it’s getting the right weather conditions so the snow line is low enough, otherwise it is a days hike to get to the snow line. Then the topic of a expensive splitboards or snow shoes. So ya, Round Hill is winning so far, biggest bang for your buck, 3 hr drive from Christchurch. Thinking about the moutains inland from Alexandria, but that means an overnighter and have no clue how far I can get along the access road before my 2WD SUV says no.

Awesome, would greatly appreciate the heads up whenever you go.  I did buy a season pass for Mt Hutt as a backup - at least I'll be able to take advantage of the snow one way or another... I have a 4WD SUV would be happy to drive sometime in return for some guidance on the snow-kiting! :) Here's hoping we get some good weather days this season... Hopefully you managed to get out for a kite Saturday while the wind was on! Cheers, Matthew

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