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Old 04-14-2010, 07:04 AM
spleeft's Avatar
spleeft spleeft is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 48
Default Utah snowkite report w/ vid

I realize there probably aren't many snowkiters in Florida, but I spent so much time putting this together for my East Coast fellow kiters, I thonght I 'd post here for any interested , check the video link at the end!
Well, I know its late, but after the winter we just had, and the taste of snowkiting everyone got the past few months, I'm sure there are a few interested in my trip details.
Out of 17 days out west, 7 in Feb, and 10 in March, I/we snowkited 12 days , rested/traveled 2 and hiked or hit a resort the other 3 days. Yes, that one day at Brighton it snowed 20" over night was pretty fun, but the following 3 days at Skyline were EPIC by comparison !
Skyline , Utah is located about 100 miles south of Salt Lake City , just outside of Fairview, at an elevation of almost 10,000'. Take I-15 south to Spanish Fork and go East, a very nice and peaceful drive once you get off rt-15.
Let me tell you, driving around Utah is more than a pleasure. You definitely want to try and time your road trips during the daylight hours if possible.

The hours I spent researching and making contacts for this trip was well worth it. I must have spent half my down time in Puerto Rico, following weather patterns and testing my forecasting skills. Kinda sick , dont ya think!!
The one thing about forecasting is, there is almost always wind, its the snow conditions that you want to pay extra attention too. The wind direction is important also, it kinda dictates where to go. Its not as easy as looking at the noaa forecast for the Chesapeake , the mountains are just an entire different animal.
Skyline works in any direction, but in my opinion, SE is the best. It opens the far ridge and tons of hills, cornices, gliding areas, and since it is rare direction, there is almost always miles of untracked powdery love! This pic is my bro, Hatters local, Tree, and I standing near the parking lot with the far ridge behind us. Check out the valley that goes off to left, you can ride all of that with the wind coming straight out from it! Watch out for the giant sink holes!!

Bosco Hill,( below ) is the main riding area, and works on the prevailing winds, mostly with west in it. Most of the videos and pics you find on the web are of this area

In these two pics,I'm sitting at the top of Bosco , looking across the valley at the "far ridge". Note my board is buried in the deep lovely-ness!!!!

This area is featured in the first part of the video, and where I am holding the camera for all the POV shots. It gets tracked out ,but only after a few days with no snow, and post of the time, tracks are filled back it by blowing snow. And we did score a rare day there with a good foot of new snow overnight, see the first clip in the vid where we're pulling into the parking lot. I only say rare, because ever time I've been up there, it kinda wind blown and hard pack on top, but not this day!
We stayed down in Mt Pleasant for a few nights at the Horseshoe Inn, and got drunk at the Triangle Bar. The Triangle Bar is the only bar in the entire county and is owned by Heather and Brian Schenck. They are also the ones who pretty much pioneered snowkiting at Skyline and are the US Ozone reps, and run Winzup kite school. Check them out!

After a few days of riding Skyline the High pressure came in and I was advised to check out Ririe Idaho. The only spot that has wind during this weather pattern. Its amazing , the cold air rushes down out of the Snake River Canyon and creates kind of a reverse thermal. They said it would be windy, and it was. Just like clock work, it starts blowin around midnight, and blows till about noon or one the next day.
Ririe it located halfway between Idaho Falls and Victor, Idaho on Rt-26 in the Swan Valley, again, beautiful country. Its about a 4 hour drive from Salt Lake,

You just pull off the road and go! Its about 2 miles to the river and mountains with multiple natural half pipes and hills to slash and glide from.

After the wind shut down I decided to head to Jackson Hole, about an hour and a half away, I never made it.......! On my way over the Teton Pass, I stopped to check out a scenic view and noticed lots of people hiking up the mountain side so I went for it. Its a 3000' hike straight up and there are multiple routes back down. Mt Glory is a very well known peak to the locals. Look it up for more info. I wont go into it, because this is a snowkiting report, but it was a nice way to kill some time till the next morning when I hit Ririe again!

I stayed at the Cowboy Roadhouse in Victor, Idaho and went a really cool bar/restaurant called The Knotty Pine
Another fun place to snowkite is at the Powder Mountain ski resort near Ogden Utah. I've boarded there probably 10 times over the years and the last few , I actually saw some snowkiters, but I just hadn't quite got the bug yet! Well this year I went for it. The weather kind of dictated so I drove up there only to find white out conditions. I also had to track down the people to pay the $20 dollar fee I had heard about. My advise, dont even bother if you go! I finally made it to the kiting area, and was rewarded with 3 hours of fluffy bliss. The weather just cleared enough to kite, and at times , was following my own tracks just to keep my bearings, but it was fun. I can see this place getting crowded really quick, but I was all alone ( a common theme for me most of the trip!) so I just ripped it up!! Its also a very convenient place to go if you have non kiters in your party. And if your a newb, ya kind of feel safe being so close to humans. These other places, I felt like I was the person on the planet and was ecstatic when some else would show up!!! Sorry no pics of Pow Mnt.

Next stop... Strawberry Reservoir, Utah . My friends, its pretty much indescribable!! Ya just have to see it for yourself. Its HUGE!! Basically its a giant reservoir at around 8000' with about 60 miles of shoreline, dont quote me on that, surrounded by miles and miles of giant hills and mountains.

The pic below (pov with me flying my kite ) is from on top of one of the many mountain tops, check out my bro Tree waaaay down at the bottom!

There are many riding areas and places to park at Strwbs. You can literally do 10 to 15 miles down winders here, having to cross a road or two.

During my researching on this place, I was overwhelmed by the amount of info I found. It really is the mac daddy of snowkiting destinations. I would advise going mid winter. We were there on a mid March day, it had warmed up to around 50 degrees, it froze over night, and the next day , with about 3 inches of new snow, we were riding dust on crust. Still an epic fun day exploring for miles! But the stories the locals told really blew my mind!!
Strawbs is high on my hit list for next winter!!!!
Here are some clips I put together. I didnt do much shooting though. I'd arrive in a parking lot , see all the sick untracked pow, loose my mind, rig and go!!! I did however get some descent footage, so here ya go!!!! All footage was shot on a small hand held Vado HD camera with a lens the size of a dime! Enjoy !
PS I should have this in high res up on my web site in a day or two!

Last edited by spleeft; 05-17-2010 at 08:51 AM.
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