Alternatives to downhill winter sports #6

<A snow kiting fanatic at the Col des Aravis, in La Clusaz, France>Okay okay, I’m in denial about the ski season ending, with fresh snow in the Alps this week and much more than a metre just melting away at the top. I’m not quite as motivated as some others who are out there with skins on the skis, climbing up to ski down in slushy snow. For those who don’t think it’s worth it but still want to slide around on snow, there’s snow kiting.

Snow kiting can be done on skis or a snowboard. Pictured is my friend Simon, using his sea kite and his lovely fat skis at the Col des Aravis after the lifts in La Clusaz had closed. Although land kites are more suitable, kite surfers such as Simon with their sea kites can start their summer season early, presuming they have a snowboard or skis and access to snow.

The beauty of this sport is that you can slide on the flat snowy surfaces that nobody else bothers with, and you’re not reliant on a lift system. You are, however, reliant on wind. On top of that, the wind has to be a good wind — something stable and strong enough to keep the kite in the air, but not gale force either. But back to the beauty of this sport. You can do it while the sun is setting with glorious mountains reflecting pink sunlight before day turns to night. If I were able to control a kite that large, I’d definitely be trying this sport. Will kite flying practice help?

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I’m a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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5 comments on “Alternatives to downhill winter sports #6
  1. Timo says:

    So this is in a way an alternative to plane winter sports… The cooler but also lazier version of “Ski de Fond” 😉

  2. Wendy says:

    Indeed! Far more fun than the spaghetti stick skis! :O)

  3. Steph says:

    That looks fun! Tempted to try it chez nous when the lakes are frozen, although we probably need a bigger kite …

  4. I must confess that I am not a skier, but this looks totally like some good time fun! I would definitely try this 🙂
    Ashley (backyardprovence)

  5. Wendy says:

    Steph, maybe not! If the snow is light, the kite won’t need to be as big as the one shown (apparently!).

    Ashley, I’m just a bit scared I’ll get carried away in the air. Probably totally unfounded fear there, and I’m thinking of flying a big kite this summer to test my co-ordination.

About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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