The Positive energy and Freeride vibe that emerged at this years Snowkite Masters reminded me of exactly why we gather together to celebrate Snowkiting.(all photos credited Pascal Bouglakow & Brian Schenck) It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by so many quality people, all sharing in the alpine kiting experience. The participants at this winters SKM brought out a higher level of riding than ever before witnessed, charging hard in every way. I was impressed constantly by the advanced level exhibited, with so many Snowkiters climbing terrain, flying high, busting sick moves and exploring more of the mountain than ever before. Here’s to you Mountain Kiters!!! Thank you to everyone that attended the Snowkite Masters, and to all of the brands that supported the event in so many ways, the event is nothing without you.
The Weekend Report:
Over 75 riders attended the 7th annual mountain top gathering at Skyline, enjoying fresh Utah powder and strong wind. A storm brought a foot of new snow Thursday before the SKM officially kicked off, followed by mostly clear skies and wind in the upper to mid teens. Somehow the wind gods smiled on the 2011 SKM and provided the key ingredients for a perfect weekend of Snowkiting. The after parties and presenting Sponsor (Ska Brewing) ensured that any downtime was thoroughly enjoyed. On Friday dozens of kites took to the skies, chasing the northwest flow for hours.
Late afternoon brought a break in the wind, as it made the switch to SW, before kicking out a final hour session ahead of sunset. By the end of the day Chasta had logged 6 hours under his kite, and had covered more ground in one day than he ever had previously at Skyline. Saturday continued the wind fest with a more southerly push, opening up the West Ridge for adventurous racing. Over a dozen racers in each category, ski and snowboard, took to the hills on the 2 mile long course. The first leg was an upwind & uphill push, followed by a high speed tack down the ridge. A turn point at the end of the ridge brought riders back on an open course to the finish line.
Friday and Saturday evening offered après kite parties at the Triangle Bar (aka Skyline Yacht Club) with bands Minor Consideration and the Utah County Swillers. Slawek Krauze hosted his new Snowkite Film, Winderland, after the awards ceremony in the Windzup warehouse. The Kiter Brewers from SKA were on hand to share their love and fine nectar.
To challenge all Snowkiters, and encourage everyone to explore more of the mountain, a new format of Freeride competition was created…. The Kite N’ Seek! There were 2 parts to this years Freeride Scavenger Hunt, ensuring all riders an opportunity to win prizes from the events Sponsors. First was a race to find 3 hidden marks, each had a bucket with a colored coin inside. The first rider to return with all 3 coins won first pick at the prize pool. The first several Freeride Racers returned within a half hour, covering over a mile distance in between marks. The second part of the Kite N’ Seek, was to find hidden prizes, that Chasta had littered across the mountain. These were the highly sought after prizes including Zeal Goggles, Mystic Snowkite Harness, Ultra Nectar Snowkite Jacket and a 6m Gin Yeti Snowkite.
The US Open Race course adapted lessons learned from previous years, creating a long distance course over challenging terrain. Many riders pushed themselves to ride farther out than they normally would. The long upwind leg spread many riders out, while the strong wind on the downwind leg put the fastest riders up front. Coming back to the finish, riders took many different lines, some coming direct and through a deep gully while others took higher routes. The West Ridge has proven to be a solid track for uality racing that offers a variety of terrain and obstacles.(pictured below middle Chasta with Mellisa Cronin and Jennie Milton)
Congratulations to all of the winners at this years Snowkite Masters, we hope everyone went home with that feeling! Here are the Race Results from the US Open:
1. Brad Gordon (Oregon)
2. Jon McCabe (Hawaii)
3. Tom Reynolds (Utah)
1. Guillaume Chasta Chastagnol (France)
2. Ryan Allen (Utah)
3. Matt Thames (Oregon)
1. Mellisa Cronin (Montana)
2. Jennie Milton (Montana)
3. Monica Basssett (Oregon)
1. Julie (Germany)
A Huge Feeling of Gratitude goes out to all of the supporting sponsors who have continued to make the US Open Snowkite Masters a success. Every Rider that registered for the SKM received a Dakine Backpack loaded with goodies from Ozone, Gin Kiteboarding and a SKA pint glass. And every rider had an opportunity to take home many other great prizes during the Freeride Kite N’ Seek.
Ska Brewing our presenting sponsor made this event possible, Thanks Matt!
Zeal Optics provided Goggles and Sun Glasses, Thanks MJ!
Dakine provided Back Packs, Snowboard accessories & life style items, Thanks Bill!
Kiteworld Magazine provided a full page advert for the event, Thanks Brian and Jim!
Ozone Provided wallets and beanies for participants, Thanks Matt!
Rhodes Bake N Serve provided coupons for free product, Thanks Kenny!
Airush Kiteboarding was a strong sponsor, bringing positive vibes and powerful riders to the event, Thank you Fall Line Crew!
Ultra Nectar provided clothing items and a new Snowkite Jacket, Thanks Chip!
Mystic provided a Blazer Snowkite Harness for the Kite N’ Seek, Thanks Evan!
Gin Kiteboarding provided a 6m Snowkite, Trainer kites and key chains, Thanks Markus!
Thank you Sanpete County for their contiued support.
Kite Sites.com film crew was on hand capturing the many great moments of the SKM, Thank you Darrel and Jay!
Big River Outdoors provided a sleeping bag and cozies, Thanks Ryan!
Snowkite Cinema showcased their new film stoking everyone up, Thanks Slawek!
Trailhead Interactive for our wonderful www.snowkitemasters.com website, Thanks Chris!
Several Kite Companies came out to support the event with professional riders and a kick-ass attitude for mountain kiting. Thank you for coming out to ride with us and putting more kites in the sky…Tekko, Brian and Slezak with Liquid Force (glad you got a sick powder session)… Matt Thames with Wainman Hawaii… Nick with Naish… Jake with Best Kiteboarding (you kicked ass on the course, catching up to 4th after hitting the start line way late)… Billy with North Kites (Hope to see you feeling better and back on the course next year)… Jon,Wayne, Brett & Chris, Jake, Chasta, Bougy and Tom representing the Ozone/Windzup team.
On a final note, thank you to the bartenders of the Triangle Bar and all the volunteers that do the dirty work… and to Heather Schenck, the primary organizer that keeps the Snowkite Masters moving forward.
Written by Brian Schenck