Dig out your skis, boards, kites and goggles, because it is on!
See you there
Dig out your skis, boards, kites and goggles, because it is on!
See you there
Thanks again to everyone that made the 2014 Bighorn Snowkite Summit such a success.
Once again, veteran snow kiter and Ozone rider Noah Portiz has captured the essence of this years event.
The 2nd annual Big Horn Snowkite Summit was a high flying success! Without question, the Jackson Hole Kiters have created the premier snowkite event in the Rocky Mountains. Staged in the backcountry of the northern Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, every type of snowkite enthusiast was present at this year’s Summit: beginners flying trainer kites, novices making their first efforts with full sized kites, intermediates sending it for easy boosts, and seasoned air-sport masters flying off the top of Bald Mountain with huge, ridge soaring glides.
The Summit was also historic: Never before in North America have snowcats been engaged to transport kiters from their backcountry lodging to and from the day’s kite spots. This was a huge accomplishment and significant credit goes to our hosts at the Wyoming High Country Lodge. Managers Cheryl and Howard Jones and their staff made a major commitment and provided careful planning to make this year’s Summit a winning combination of lodging, sumptuous food and comfortable accommodations. Recognizing that there was a need for additional beds to accommodate the 60+ kiters, the lodge added a large Mongolian-built ger (yurt) to handle overflow.
When planning an event, one never knows how the weather will affect success. A much needed storm pummeled the Big Horns just prior to the Summit. This snow gave participants a solid base on which to kite. Added to that was a remarkable 7 out of 7 days of wind. Wind, sunshine and powder: Amazing weather guaranteed a successful event!
Our daily routine at the Summit was very special. We would awake to the lodge’s fire-warmed great room, fill up on a huge breakfast, pack our personal lunch and snacks for the day, load one’s snowmobile or pile into the lodge’s snowcat with our kites and boards and migrate out to one of the day’s predetermined kite spots for a day of snowkiting. Day after day of this routine was magical.
Snowkiting has certainly come a long way in North America. The most striking example of this evolution is the flight skills that the most experienced Summit participants brought to the mountains. These kiters are no longer content with small flights off the snow. Skilled pilots were routinely making minute-long, ridge soaring flights. Some brought speed wings, taking advantage of the mountain’s ridge lift, to further their flight times. Every day was a remarkable showcase of mountain flying. In tandem with the daily exhibition of flight, an evening seminar on this sub-set of kiting was covered. Every aspect was dissected and considered.
For those kiters who prefer to stay closer to the snow, the week was full of great riding and plenty of terrain features to session. Many of Bald Mountain’s gullies provided us with natural pipes to challenge our freestyle skills. Small changes in the prevailing wind direction allowed for different parts of Bald Mountain to be exploited for our kiting pleasure. Everyday brought a superb sunset session that was dramatic. All week we watched as the sun would set and an ever growing moon would rise in the east, culminating with a full moon that week. Also like clockwork, the lodge’s snowcat would arrive at the kite spot and return the crew back to our mountain home and its awaiting hot tub for a well deserved soak. Dinners were particularly festive; it was definitely a kiter’s lodge! The menu changed daily and no one lost even an ounce of weight that week.
With two years of successful Snowkite Summit’s under their belt, the Jackson Hole Kiters and the Wyoming High Country Lodge have put the Big Horns on the map as the number one kite destination in the lower 48 states. Pencil in your December 2015 calendar: People are making plans for next year!
Thanks for Reading and Windy Regards,
We are happy to announce the second annual Big Horn Snowkite Summit. Once again the snowkite tribe will gather early in the winter at the Wyoming High Country Lodge, right next to the legendary Mt. Baldy in northern Wyoming.
This years event will take place Monday, December 1st through Sunday December 7th.
This years “event” is really more of a gathering of like minded individuals. While I am sure there will be discussions in the evening at the Wyoming High Country Lodge, nothing is structured or programmed. After last year’s successful event, (in spite of the consecutive days of 30 below zero) we wanted to focus on snowkiting and having as much fun as we possibly can. Ideas involving the progression of the sport should be hatched over a beverage of choice after a long day of kiting.
Much like last year, we need to stress that you will have to be responsible for your own safety and transportation over snow! Snowmobiles are ideal, but there will be access to snowcoaches to transport kiters to the event site.
When and Where: This years Bighorn Snowkite Summit will be based out of the Wyoming High Country Lodge, December 1st through December 7th.
Lodging on site requires snowmobile or snow coach access and it first come first served.
The lodge will sellout! Our gracious hosts, Howard and Cheryl Jones have made extra efforts to accommodate everyone who wants to stay on site by installing a yurt! There is an all inclusive, per day amount of $75.00 that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Anyone who attended last years event will attest to the fact that the food was incredible and no one went hungry! Just mention you are there for the event. If you are interested, make your reservations now by calling Cheryl and Howard at 307-529-0914!
Additionally, breakfast, lunch & dinner at the Lodge will be available to off-site attendees. An RSVP is required if you are staying off-site & would like to take advantage of meals.
In Lovell, WY –
If you are coming for the weekend or want to stay offsite, here are the closest hotels.
Western Motel , 307-548-2781 HorseshoeBend Motel , 307-548-2221 Econo Inn 307-548-2725
Lovell is approximately 35 miles west of the location of the Bighorn Snowkite Summit. Parking will be available at the Crystal Creek rest area, & over-snow shuttles will be provided to & from the kite site each day. A snowmobile is advantageous, but not necessary.
For all attendees who are staying off-site, gear storage will be available at the High Country Lodge, “basecamp” for the Summit.
See you there!
Jackson Hole Kiters
noun \ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spi-\
: something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone
: a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something
The Bighorn Snowkite Summit was an attempt to not only bring together snowkiters from all over the world, but to discuss the future of the sport. Themes for discussion were site preservation, marketing, safety standards, growing the number of participants and determining just how many snowkiters are out there. Nearly all of these discussions were fueled by Julian’s microbrews, Noah’s moonshine and various other intoxicants.
On the first day, we arrived at the conclusion that Snowkiting could benefit from a formal association that could represent it’s members. In France, there is a Snowkiting Federation that helps deal with the issues we were discussing. We were feeling pretty smug about the idea until it was pointed out that not only did an association already exist, but it had been in place since 2010! Snowkite enthusiasts David Grossman and James Brown had pioneered the idea and the website was already up and running.
In addition to being longtime snowkite enthusiasts, Dave and James are also prolific journalists and authors. Drift Snowkite Magazine was, the country’s first snowkite magazine. I remember being blown away by the quality and content in the first issue. Interviews, features and even gear reviews! Unheard of in the US up until that point. It was an idea that was ahead of it’s time.
It is this level of enthusiasm and involvement that I would love to see us get back to in the US. That is one of the reasons we held the Summit. I think it is time we re-visit the idea of an association. In addition to having bad short term memories, most snowkiters are an independent lot, whom generally don’t like being told what to do. We discussed issues like would the association have dues? How could it help? How could we raise awareness for it and how could we convince people to participate? These are all good questions. Right now, it costs nothing to sign up and maybe we can create a groundswell of support that will help with current issues that could end up affecting where you kite!