Whether you are new to snowkiting or a seasoned veteran of the wind and snow, the anticipation of your first session of the winter is palpable. Getting into your boots, slipping on your harness, feeling the pull of your first wind-power reach across a snow-covered field, and even your first boosts of the winter, brings an excitement that is both child-like and very serious. The child-like excitement is obvious – you’re out there playing in the snow, detached from the worries and concerns of the bigger world. Your first session is also serious, as you want all the elements of wind, snow, equipment and skills to align and come together as seamlessly as possible.
My first session of the winter came together textbook perfectly. A quick hitting storm put down over a foot of fresh power and the local east wind filled in beautifully. I visited a spot close by my home in Bozeman, Montana and scored a sweet first session, properly powered for an afternoon of snowkiting pleasure.
Following that first session, I quickly scanned the online weather sites and saw that the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming were about to get pummeled by the next round of storms. Without hesitation, I called the Wyoming High Country Lodge (WHC) and booked a room for the next five nights. The WHC is North America’s premier snowkite lodge. Situated at 9000 feet elevation in the northern Big Horns, the WHC has progressively supported snowkiting for individuals and groups wanting to get a taste of big mountain terrain combined with comfortable hospitality. Whether you want to ride easy ground or challenge yourself on steeper mountains, both experiences are readily available.
For me, the Big Horns have been a familiar destination for a decade and I have gotten better and better at knowing the local weather patterns and terrain features. This year’s first storm of the winter was particularly unique. Everywhere was plastered white. The storm came in heavy and wet and without wind. Steadily, conditions got colder and the snow lighter, also known as a “right-side up“ snowpack.
For five days I kited the Bald Mountain/Little Bald Mountain complex and took advantage of the Big Horn’s limitless untracked powder. For a couple of those days I enjoyed the company of other Montana and Wyoming kiters – cheering each other on to boost bigger, exploring familiar terrain, and sharing the excitement of a new snowkite season’s arrival.
Repeatedly laying down untracked lines on Baldy’s slopes, not a worry in the world, was my reward for kiting in these wild mountains. I was finding my inner child-like excitement that comes from snowkiting. Part of this excitement was having the opportunity to fly Ozone’s newest kite: The Blizzard.
Feeling the Blizzard’s special combination of performance and manageability was unique. Freeriding, the Blizzard takes from its pedigree of past versions of the Frenzy and Summit, it is a very manageable kite. No surprises here. This kite also clearly blends subtle performance personality from the higher aspect wings, the Chrono and R1. It is fast. The kite loops with controlled power, perfect for climbing. It is a rewarding kite to fly and makes for an extraordinary progression in the world of snow kites.
Without hesitation, I can say that my first few days were strenuous. I just did not have the stamina for for five to six hours of snowkiting. However, by the end of five days, I was digging deeper and finding the efficiency and persistence to allow me to stay with it for most of the day. Having a warm lodge to return to every night, a soak in the hot tub, a scrumptious meal and a good night’s rest allowed for me to recover enabled me to go back out and charge it again the next day.
Thanks for reading and windy regards,