The 2nd Annual Big Horn Snowkite Masters brought together a diverse community of accomplished kiters in a stunning high mountain location. Men and women kiters from all over the US and Canada rendezvoused at the Wyoming High Country Lodge for a six day run of free riding the slopes of Bald Mountain, fast snowkite racing around varied terrain, a poker run, a hide-n-seek for schwag, and even a freestyle expression session. Everyone found the snow and topography in the Big Horns to be a spectacular setting to progress in one’s skills, kite with new friends and to try out a wide variety of foil kites from Ozone.
The Big Horn Mountains have a proven track record of abundant snowfall and reliable wind. This reliability was evident: Every day had wind and even an occasional dusting of new snow. The kiters easily found soft deposition areas from the week’s prior storms to lay lap after lap of tracks with their skis and boards.
Snowkite racing was a fun and competitive diversion from the freeriding. Kiters assembled for a mass start and raced around a tactical course that challenged everyone. Speed around the five flag course was the ultimate decider of victory. Ozone Team Legend Johnny Heineken was the fastest man and Montana kite veteran, Laurel Fullerton, was the fastest female on her Ozone Edge.
While speed decided the race, the poker run was slightly more leisurely, decided by the best hand of cards received at each of the five gates on the course. The hide-n-seek was for schwag donated by generous sponsors and consisted of finding colored ribbons well hidden around the snowy expanses of Bald Mtn. Every participant also received a big bag of additional items donated by sponsors of this unique event.
Evenings at the lodge were full of nightly revelry. Kiters shared stories from the day and evenings gave everyone an opportunity to build friendship and community. Evening was also the time for the Lodge staff to shine in their culinary expertise. Dinners were delicious and catered to everyone’s needs. Noteworthy was the bushels of fresh oysters brought by the Virginia kiters – Delicious!
Ozone made sure a varied selection of demo kites was available for use. From the high aspect Chrono v3 to the Subzero to the Access and single skin Explore and even a couple of Hyperlinks were flown daily and enjoyed by the Master’s participants. One of Ozone’s newest kites, the Pure v1, made its début as well.
The only regret was leaving the Big Horns. After six days of kiting with friends, new and old, the wind was ceaseless. Fresh snow the night before blanketed Bald Mountain and our last session of the week was a joyful expression of speed, boldness and beauty.
Thanks for reading and see you in the Bighorns next year!
Next up is the Montana Snowkite Rodeo 16-17 Feb, the16th edition held annually. This is the longest running kite event in the Rockies and one of the longest in the US