Snowkiting is a popular outdoor winter sport that gained its roots in the 1960’s. Since then, it has continued to gain popularity in the 21st century in locations that offer skiing and snowboarding opportunities.
The practice of snowkiting is similar to windsurfing, besides the fact that the user has a snowboard under his or her feet. Foil kites were originally the most used, but now inflatable kites are becoming common. Using the wind, snowkiting allows participants to travel uphill and downhill, thus differing from other alpine sports. The gear is much the same as that used in skiing and snowboarding, making the transition to snowkiting easy for current enthusiasts of snow-related activities.
Russia is one of the countries where the snowkiting culture has really taken off, due to the already installed customer base of snowboarders and dedicated skiing. This year, The World Snowkiting Championships for 2015 made its way to Siberia, Russia, where competitors glided across the ice in an atmosphere that is very familiar to the Winter X games.
The competition specifically took place on the frozen toughness of the Obskoye Water Reserve, a well-known course. The sport itself, as one would expect, is highly dangerous as there is no emergency brake to hit while traveling at incredibly high speeds. Since snowkites aren’t made to go higher than 300 feet, accidents can easily occur. Loss of control, for example, is common. Participants are at risk of failing, can crash into one another, and lose their gear in the process of riding. There is also the possibility of taking a wrong turn and smashing headfirst into an obstacle, rendering the snow kite boarder completely unconscious.
The dangers are clear to all not just in snowkiting, but in all winter sports in general. However, that still doesn’t take away the popularity of the sport, which is quickly becoming a front page news story on a consistent basis. For those willing to take the risks, there is definitely a possibility of a career in snow kiting, complete with sponsors and commercial deals. The only thing missing is snow kite boarding’s very own Lindsey Vonn.