Total days en route

32


Distance covered:

580 km

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Kiting

Snow kiting is an outdoor winter sport that combines the airfoil techniques used in kite surfing with the footgear and gliding surface used in snowboarding. Snowboards, alpine skis or Telemark skis can be used when snow kiting. In the early days of snow kiting, foil kites were the most common type; nowadays some kite surfers use their water gear for snow kiting, and it is also not uncommon to see tube kites. Snow kiting differs from other alpine sports as it is possible to travel uphill with ease when the wind is blowing in the right direction. The wind can also cause minor accidents; it is therefore important to extensively train and practise using kites.

Kite skiing began in the mid 1980s after some alpine skiers used a rebridled square parachute to ski upwind on a frozen bay in Erie, Pennsylvania. However, in 1888 the wind was already an important part in the successful expedition led by Fridtjof Nansen.

project Inland Ice - kiting

Exercise 1. Location: IJmuiden beach

It was not a perfect day to learn kiting as it was raining and the wind blew strongly with force 6. Lucky Henk-jan brought a small 0.5m kite, which is a perfect beginner kite in these difficult conditions. Jeffrey had no experience and was impressed with the force of the kite. While he learned to use the small kite the rest used the bigger Peter Lynn Arc 460 and Wipika 5m tube kites. This last kite is a surf kite. These large kites had to be handled with two persons in these conditions. After a couple of hours in the rain and with the wind picking up more force we packed the kites and went to a beach restaurant. The lesson we learned this day is that we need to practise more if we want to use kites on Greenland.

Exercise 2. Location: Soesterberg

Henk-Jan, Raimo and Edwer tested a huge Peter Lynn Bomba 15m kite which we borrowed from Vliegerop. This type of kite is very quit and easy to fly with. It allows you to make a few mistakes without causing serious problems. We also had a 5m Nasa Wing with us. This is very light kite but it produces an enormous amount of power.The wind was perfect; in de morning the wind force was 2, building up to 4 later that day. Both kites had enough power to drag you through the sand.

project Inland Ice - kiting

Exercise 3. Location: Sweden

After almost 11 days without any wind or with wind blowing from the wrong direction, we arrived on a high plateau where the wind was finally blowing in the right direction. We quickly unpacked our 3 huge kites. It was not easy to set up a kite on the soft snow, but after 20 minutes, the first kite was launched and soon the other 2 were also in the air. Only the 3 most experienced persons were kiting while the rest was sitting on the back of the sleds. Slowly we picked up some speed. After a few small crashes we all moved with a speed of 30km/h over the Sweden snow pack. It was a fantastic experience. Its amazing that one kite produces so much traction that it is still capable of dragging almost 250kg through the snow. The fun came to an end when the wind was dropping and Henk-Jan lost his kite. It remains a mystery why this happened, but we found the kite a few kilometres further where, fortunately for us, the ropes got tangled around a big stone.

The next few days we had stormy weather and rough terrain which were not ideal conditions for kiting. On the last day we had a wind force 6 in our back. We were standing on a huge frozen lake and decided to attempt crossing the lake using the Nasa wing. We connected the 5m Nasa wing to the ski poles and we also connected the sledges together. In the beginning it was heavy but we quickly picked up speed and the weight became lighter and easier to handle. In a couple of minutes we reached the other side of the lake. This experience taught us that when the conditions are right these kites can be of real use.

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