I spent last weekend at a friend’s cabin in Whistler, and from the back porch we spotted a guy kite snowboarding on the frozen lake. I had never seen this done before, but it looks like a lot of fun. Apparently, the proper term is snowkiting, and applies to using skis as well.
Snowkiting is an outdoor winter boardsport, combining similar kites and techniques used in kitesurfing, with the footwear used in snowboarding or skiing. In the early days of snowkiting, foil kites were the most common type; nowadays some kitesurfers use their water gear such as inflatable kites. Snowkiting differs from other alpine sports in that it is possible for the snowkiter to travel uphill when the wind is blowing uphill. Like kitesurfing, snowkiting can be very hazardous and should be learned and practiced with care. Snowkiting is becoming increasingly popular in places often associated with skiing and snowboarding, such as Canada, Iceland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden and the Northern United States. The sport is becoming more diverse as adventurers use kites to travel great distances and sports enthusiasts push the boundaries of freestyle, big air and back country exploration.
Some cool videos I found – The first is good compilation showing some awesome snowkiting on both skis and snowboards. The second video is a good example of how not to approach the sport, by getting 200m of air and hanging on the rope for dear life before crashing to the ground and narrowly missing rocks.