Snowkiting; Possibly One of the Most Extreme Sports Out There

Whew, are we excited! After reading all about our Awesome ExplorerGirl Caroline Onarheim and her adventures in snowkiting, we thought we better take a closer look at the sport, in case your ready to give it a go.

Here is our latest fave action adventure sport for you to try!



Remember when you were a kid and the most fun you could have at the park or the beach was flying a kite? Most of the time you’d almost take off with the wind but Dad would come running to save you?

Well this time theirs no Daddy…it’s all about launching yourself into the air pulling tricks like the best snowboarders with a little help from mother nature to push you along! It’s extreme kite-flying surrounded by snow and it’s awesome!

The Low-down

Snowkiting combines kitesurfing with snowboarding or skiing, meaning you get to ride a board or skis on the snow while propelled by a kite. Snowkiting is different from all other Alpine sports because, when the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can actually travel uphill! In the past foil kites were really popular, but these days more people are turning to the kitesurfing tubekites.

Snowkiting is great fun, but like kitesurfing, it can be pretty dangerous, so you should always practise with a qualified instructor and make sure to snowkite with friends.


Snowkiting is a relatively new sport. In the 1960s people began experimenting with paragliding material and skis, and in the mid 1980s skiing on frozen lakes with rehashed paragliders became popular. Then, ‘foils’ were manufactured with two handles for easy control. People also tried using foils with grass skis to snowkite on grass (hmm, would that be called grasskiting?)

Where it’s at!

Snowkiting can be done wherever there is wind and snow, but it is most popular in Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Iceland, France, Norway and the western United States. Why not make your next holiday a snowkiting adventure.

There are also snowkiting comps all over the world, from the Snowkite Masters at Skyline Summit in Utah to the Italian Snowkite Tour and the Austrian Open. Snowkite comps are also a great chance for novices to scope the scene, chat to more experienced riders and get some great tips on how to accelerate their snowkiting.

North American Events

Equipment Needed

Basically, you’ll need skis or a snowboard, a kite and a few accessories as well as some warm clothing and a helmet. Beginners’ kites can range from 1-3 square metres and cost between $60 and $300. Check out for just about everything you need. Make sure you get a kite that uses a control bar.

Twisted Kiteboards recently released a radical new design of board fully dedicated to snowkiters.

"We have developed a specialized board for the dedicated Snowkiter, designed specifically for the rigors of Snowkiting. This unique design incorporates many new features, which allow the board to ride and feel smoother on the snow.  Delivering a feeling that is closer to Kitesurfing, less fatiguing than a traditional snowboard, and allowing the rider to enjoy the Snowkiting experience even more," says Rob Whittall designer of Ozone snowkites presenting Twisted Kteboards.


Getting Started

When starting out always snowkite with an instructor or experienced buddy. Snowkiting can be dangerous, so it’s best to talk to the pros first. Get a general understanding for weather.  Know the signs of storm brewing and look out for dangerous winds. The producers of Entropy and Something Stronger,, have put together an instructional DVD How to Snowkite to help every beginner snowkiter get started.

Once you learn to work the kite with the wind you can start learning more difficult manoeuvres and getting more big air.

If you’re already into kitesurfing then your half way there!  It’s a great transition sport from kitesurfing and perfect once the warm weather’s gone south.

Check out for another awesome ‘How to Snowkite’ guide and Safety Tips at


The Players

One of our fave female snowkiters is Caroline Onarheim, aka FlowerKite. She rocks out some wicked tricks that have the boys scrambling! See her on video.

Seeing as Snowkiting is still relatively unheard of, it’s one of the few sports around that doesn’t already have a list of 20 pro chicks, so why don’t you hit the slopes and see if you can be the next best chick snowkiter in the world! Snowkiting is waiting for you!

Other female athletes to look out for are Heather Schenek, Monika Masuda and Arla Funk.


More Media

If you're hooked and looking to get your hands on some more snowkiting material check out Drift, Snowkite Magazine. The most recent snowkiting DVD out for sale is Something Stronger...check out the trailer.

 / Gemma Considine, Courtney Crow

Photos:, Flowerkite

Posted on 20 September 2008 - 1:16am
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