We hear more and more often about sustainability, ecological and systems to reduce the consumption of electricity or fossil fuels. Snow kiting and snow wing are examples of winter sports activities that only use the power of the wind! In this sense, they are absolutely in line with the demand to be as ecological as possible in all the activities we carry out.
The snowkite is a kite used to pull us into the snow on skis or snowboards on a snowy, flat surface (like a large frozen lake or a snowy meadow) or even to go up hill (if you have very good kite control). Learning this sport takes a few hours, much less than for the similar summer sport (kitesurfing). This is because we are still in contact with solid ground and can run and walk at any time while in the water we are drifting with the current and therefore need to have much better technique. Even though the types of kites used in winter have different characteristics than those used in summer, the control technique is the same. Starting snowkiting in winter is guaranteed fun in a short time, and a prerequisite for kitesurfing in summer if you want to continue practicing this sport in the water.
The Snow Wing is something between a kite and a sail. The wing is also used in summer and is even easier to learn than snowkiting. In a few hours you can be whizzing across the snow on skis or a snowboard. This is also a basis for the same sport in summer, which is a bit more technical and complex, since you have to combine the use of a board with a hydrophoil fin, therefore it is necessary to have good balance and learn sensitivity on the board.
The wing needs more wind than the kite to be a propeller and be able to pull us onto the snow (or into the water). In any case, technology and materials are evolving significantly and winter kites are becoming lighter and lighter, allowing them to fly with very low wind. The ability to perform even when there is little wind allows you to take advantage of almost every day to practice this sport that depends so much on the wind. This property also allows children to approach this sport who, due to their weight, need to be able to use smaller kites and therefore with lighter winds. Until recently this was a difficult combination as low winds require larger kites that develop greater power, which is too much for very light people and children.
In summer the situation is different because the kites have to float in the water and are equipped with an inflatable air chamber and are therefore heavier with more material: to be able to fly properly you have to have at least 12 knots of wind. However, in recent years kites have been developed that are very similar to snowkites but with features that prevent them from filling up with water if they fall in the water.
From around mid-January, the conditions in Engadine (Switzerland) are perfect for these two sports, since the valley is often windy, both for its conformation and for the formation of particular thermal winds. Lake Silvaplana freezes over and after the first snowfalls on the lake, it becomes one of the most famous spots in the world for snowkiting and snowwing. With other wind directions, it is possible to kite on Lago Nero at the Bernina Pass and at the same time enjoy beautiful winter views in the high mountains.In addition to ecological sports such as snowshoe tours, cross-country skiing and ski tours, we can also add snowkiting and snowwing.
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