Storm Chasers is sponsored by REAL kiteboarding, Ultranectar, 12, Wipika, Flexifoil, Smith Optics, and The Four Points Sheraton Hotel.
For the full story, photos and more on Storm Chasers, check out the February issue of SBC Kiteboard Magazine.
Cast of Characters
11:00PM MT Time Saturday 12/17/02
Written from the back seat of the REAL Storm Chasers rig while driving down the road heading southeast out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Well, with beautiful blue skies and a strong ridge of high pressure moving in, our wind outlook for Summit County was bleak, Not being the type of group to wait around for conditions to get better, our team was ready to again chase the storm. A quick look at the forecast showed a pacific storm moving east across the west sitting right over Idaho/ Wyoming.
With a quick discussion among the group, we were decided… Jackson Hole! While Llew and Kristy quickly packed up our room at the Four Points Sheraton in Silverthorne, Jason and I took the truck in for the much needed and long overdue washing. In less than an hour we had come up with an idea, made a plan and were out of there!
We headed north up 9 in Summit County, through Steamboat Springs. (An incredible, wide open valley for snowkiting) We made our way into Wyoming just after dark and drove straight into the storm a few hours later. I was asleep in the back when I felt us stop. When I came to, we were pulled over to the side of the highway and Llew was in the road kicking the few inches of snow around, apparently looking for the road. As it was, with Llew’s South African background, he was unfamiliar driving in the snow. Jason relieved him of his position and took us the rest of the way into Jackson.
When we awoke the next morning we were greeted with blowing snow and flags right out of our hotel window. We had the conditions… now it was off to find a spot to ride. Due to our inexperience with the area, we headed out of town north towards the Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. After a few hours of driving around and seeing mostly gated fields, we were unsure as to land rights and who owned what. Our fear of getting shot at (which we had been warned against in town) kept us from riding some of the most incredible spots I have seen yet on this journey.
Not to get skunked, we opted to ride between the road and the first fence line just next to a pull out in the road. Wind was consistent but light. We put up the Flexi Blade 9 and gave it to Kristy first. Kristy took a few passes back and forth by the truck and threw a couple small jumps off of the snow plowed banks. With her “I’ll ride everything unhooked” mindset, it wasn’t long before her arms were spent… so I quickly put the camera down, strapped in and took the kite before anyone else could!!
While the snowcover was light, it was firm and actually quite nice for riding on. Soft enough to edge into, yet firm enough to stay on top of. After a minute or so a forest ranger pulled into the lot. Apparently his suggestion was for us to move to the other side of the road, so as not to be flying the kite over the road. I accommodated his request and crossed thee road with the kite. The session was actually quite good and I was getting nice jumps carving upwind, cruising directly towards the road and then pulling the trigger just as I hit the embankment, floating downwind safely away from the road.
After a few minutes another ranger pulled in and then yet another. As it was, these guys were National Park Rangers, rather than forest rangers. What this meant was one- they had guns and 2- they were supposed to be regulating the area. I rode up to the one ranger and asked him if we were ok and legal where we were. They were very confused and advised us to wrap it up while they tried to figure out what was going on. Basically, from the first moment it seemed as if they were confused as whether to write us a ticket, or book a lesson.
We put the gear away and had a talk with the rangers. I was very up front and friendly, unaware as they were whether we were breaking any laws or not. The rangers decided to take a meeting in their truck to consult both their dispatch office and their rule books. After about 15 minutes they emerged for a chat.
We were informed that Parachuting, paragliding, skateboarding, roller blading, roller skiing and kayaking amongst other things were illegal in the park. Yet at the same time, it was legal to snowboard and there were no regulations on kite flying. With that said, they advised us as to other locations where we could ride and be more “out of site, out of mind”, their worry being that we would distract drivers passing by if we were riding in view of the main road. They thought that was dangerous.
With that said, they changed their tone and began sounding very official and cop-like. Ranger Brad said “What we seem to have a problem with here is the filming you guys are doing”. Not knowing we were breaking any laws, we had made the mistake of being honest and telling them that we were taking film and pictures to update this website. Apparently, commercial filming is illegal in the park without a permit. We were advised of this and told that we would be given an official warning this time that would go on record in the National Park system. Even though I was the one riding, I was dubbed the ring leader and it is in my name that the black mark has been recorded.
With that behind us we headed back to town to take some food and relaxation, connecting with Jason’s school friends Chris and Jenn Waltan. Those guys are amazing people!! They took us all into their home for the night and treated us to an extremely safe and relaxing environment, while sharing their local knowledge of possible spots to ride. By the end of the evening, the plan was to head up to Togety Pass, where they believed we would get some epic conditions.
The next morning took us on the drive up to the pass. The info was correct: the snow was the deepest and lightest we’d seen, in a large open area with rolling terrain. It seemed like the perfect riding conditions… missing only the wind. After a quick meeting at the top of the pass, we decided that we were in the wrong valley for wind and that we should head back towards Jackson and the fields we’d found the day before.
We made our back down from the pass and were able to drive into an old road in Teton Park, which had been recommended by the rangers the day before. Plenty of space, snow and wind made for an enjoyable session. We spent the rest of the afternoon riding until dark. We were also able to get Chris and my friend Joe Hines on some smaller Blades. Joe was powered enough on the 6.4 that he decided to just go for it. He strapped into his board and took off, riding a few reaches on his own before crashing the kite.
That night took us back into Jackson where we took a meal of Margaritas and Mexican before heading back out to Colorado on the red-eye overnight road mission.
10:35 AM MT Time Saturday 12/14/02
Giberson Bay Day Use Area- Lake Dillon
Well this week has seen some developments in Summit County snow kiteboarding which have completely changed how I view Kiteboarding on the snow!!
With Matt and Trip departing early Wednesday morning to head back to Hatteras after a week of riding, shooting and driving to explore the riding possibilities of the area, the road core of Kristy, Jason, Gavere and myself decided to take a day to rest and rekindle our stoke for the road.
After a somewhat lazy morning and slow breakfast at the extremely comfortable, friendly and difficult to leave Four Points Sheraton in Silverthorne, Jason and Kristy decided that they needed to go fast and with the wind forecast light for the day, they decided that meant mountains! We drove them out to Breckenridge for a day of classic style, gravity assisted snowboarding. With The Vans Triple Crown of snowboarding in town for the weekend and the recent snowfall, the Breck parks and trails looked as if they would provide the necessary speed and stoke that our crew needed.
Check out the extreme Ford Superduty we encountered on the way up to the hill! Apparently there is some kind of snow- converted truck show this weekend up here. The guy pulling this beast was lost and looking for a place to turn around when we took advantage to check the thing out. Being from Hatteras, we tend to favor the classic North Carolina monster truck team “Gravedigger”. But make no mistake, when it comes to a truck upgrade, this Ford Superduty is the most bad-ass truck any of us had ever seen!
On our way back from dropping them at the mountain, Dan and I noticed the trees starting to sway. We pulled into the sanitariam spot in Frisco, on the south end of Lake Dillon in time to hook up with Motz and James Brown for a mental session. It was during this session, on this day, that I was blown away by the possibilities of snow kiteboarding!! We had a steady breeze over knee deep Colorado powder. When I say MENTAL, I don’t even think people can comprehend. It was on the same fun level as a Hatteras SW18-20 day at the slick! Fast riding, long high boost jumps, slashing the bank of the highway as if it was a double overhead wave and boosting the cornice into chest deep wind drifts were all highlights of the day. There were definitely some impressions made that afternoon as I continuously worked my 7.8 Flexifoil Blade up and down just feet over the passing cars on the highway above.
That evening saw rejuvenated stoke from the whole crew. Everyone received the necessary adrenaline fix for the day and we came back together with new energies and excitement. Our tales of the day and hopes for continued mental conditions had us tired and asleep early for the night.
The next morning our crew was treated to the most amazing snow kiteboarding conditions I have ever seen!! This is what you dream about when you think of the ideal snow kiting conditions. Wind 15-20NW- COLD. With a few fresh inches of powder on the ground and a full night of wind, our tracks from the previous day were virtually erased from the snow- providing once again, fresh tracks through knee deep powder!!
The locals were out in force with Motz, James Brown, and Aaron Salles pumping their kites as we pulled into the Sanatariam launch zone. This would be a day like no other and it had to be captured on tape, which meant that I had to get out there and get some shots!!! Luckily I had the quickness and ease of the Blade 6.4 to get me out of the truck and riding before the blimps were ready. I had about 20 minutes of hardcore fresh tracks before there was even another kite in the air!!
Soon enough the blimps were up and the session was on. The crew was riding 10’s and 12’s for blimps and they were litt!! I rode out wide and set up some shots of the guys boosting the creek- your ticket into the deepest untracked powder. This was one of my favorite moves, as it was completely opposite of what we do in the summer. In Hatteras we’re always riding water and boosting land masses (islands, the slick, etc), here we found ourselves cruising across the frozen snow-covered land and setting up to jump the creek and other water spots….. interesting!
While the jump out was no problem for anyone, crossing back was a little more difficult as your jump would carry you downwind along the creek, making a clean crossing a bit more difficult. While we all took at least a splash or scrape from the creek at some point in the day, it was Jason Slezak who took the most intimate line, catching an edge and getting flung face first into the classic body drag position down into the creek, across and up the bank on the other side. With a coating of water that was quickly freezing into a solid suit of ice, Jason took off down wind for the truck and a change of clothes.
I hiked out into a fresh field of the pow and motioned for the crew to get some jumps over me for the camera. While I got some good stuff overall, it was Aaron Salles who had the groove to perfectly aim for my head (I was lying half buried in the snow) and pull the trigger, getting us the sickest snow boosting shots ever seen!!
Summit County goes off when it’s good, and it’s apparently not a secret. There were times I looked up and saw as many as 10 kites in the sky, more riders than I even thought were out here. Thanks to all the guys for showing up- it was a killer day to share a mental session!!!
With the second day of perfect conditions behind us, the team was in a state of stoke that was indescribable!! The best part was that it was only a 10 min drive back to our rooms at the Four Points Sheraton, where we could shed our wet gear and charge the extra large hot tub to sooth our worked bodies. With the forecast calling for more wind in the morning, we fell asleep remembering the day and dreaming of the next.
Friday morning found us a bit sore, but eager to get back out there. After a quick breakfast of omeletts and waffles, we packed up and headed out to the Sanatarium, only to find no breeze. We continued to drive around Lake Dillon and though we could see the clouds cruising over the peaks at altitude, we couldn’t find anywhere it was filling in down at ground level. A quick decision was made and we headed up towards Green Mt Reservoir, again, no breeze down low. We decided that if we were going to get the breeze, we were going to have to go up to get it.
With Jason’s local knowledge as our guide, we pointed the truck up Loveland Pass, on the Continental Divide, elevation 11, 990ft. You can be sure that we found some breeze up here! As we prepared to film, Jason blew up his Rhino II 12 and readied himself at the top of the ridge. We were about to see some true alpine kiting.
Just as Jason was preparing to launch, the wind direction shifted a bit, making it blast straight at the ridge and slope we were on. This put Jason’s run’s across the hill, facing up, with his kite just dancing along the ridgeline of the divide. After a couple tacks, Jason rode lower that the peak behind him, creating a wind shadow that sent his kite out of the sky. No problem for the experienced backcountry snowboarder, Jason just rolled up his kite, hiked over a bit and found a line to ride down the west side of the pass a few thousand feet down where he popped right out on the road
Excited about the classis style, gravity-assisted snowboarding, Jason convinced us all to take some runs down the east side of the pass. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area: You can drive up the pass to 11,990ft, where there is room to park at the top. From there you can strap a board on and drop in on either side of the pass, riding the deepest snow in the area (already over 120″ this year!) all the way down and back out to the road. There are both steep tree lines as well as narrow gullies all filled with snow. We took a couple of runs that were the most incredible mountain snowboarding experiences that I have ever had!
Friday night found us heading downhill towards Denver to make a switch of the crew. Our staff photographer Dan Gavere was off to Baja for a couple of weeks. While we dropped Dan off on the upper level, The Dermis- Llew Simmonds was busy trying to limp out to the curb with his bags. Within a few minutes we had made the switch and were headed back to the snow and wind of Summit County.
Saturday morning marked the beginning of the REAL Kiteboarding winter lesson program in Summit County as Jason and Alexis both met lessons this morning at the Four Points Sheraton. They are down below me on the lake right now. It’s a beautiful blue sky day with a light west breeze.
We are dedicated to getting out there on the snow with kites and finding the best conditions available. It seems we have another storm brewing on the Pacific now, so we will keep you informed to all the latest developments!!
12/9/02 9:22pm Mountain Time
Written from the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Silverthorne, Colorado
Sunday and Monday were the best days of the trip so far. We headed out to Green Mountain Reservoir on Sunday morning to be ready for the best winds that normally start around 11am. We nailed the wind and just as it picked up we were ready to go. Big foils and blimps were the call. Flexi 7.8’s and 9’s, North 18’s and Slingshot 17’s got everyone moving around this perfectly sculpted terrain park. Right out of the blocks, Macaj goes for the slide on the 6 ft high cattle fence. He makes it about half the length before the wind slacks and causes him to exit the rail early. He nails the landing and rides away for some more hits further down the hill. Yea, down the hill! This place has rolls and drops everywhere you look and the locals have the place wired with kickers built in the perfect spots. Seth and Nuzzi were out on Flexi 9’s and were hitting the drops and kickers. Kristy put up a 7.8 also and was burning some good turns on the way down the hill. It’s such a weird feeling to be accelerating down the hill, building more speed and building more power in your kite. In no time you’re super lit in no breeze and lining up for the kicker! The session lasted about a hour then the breezae left just as quickly as it had showed, leaving all of the kite motionless on the snow. Park building time!
Shovels came out of the trucks and the kicker up to the rail was built and smoothed to perfection. The gang also built a landing ramp off the drop in front of the cars. Paul got bored and threw a back flip for the crowd off the drop into the snow drift below. Seth took the drop with a pull from his friends, landed on the down ramp and got to take some nice powder turns all the way to the basin of the reservoir. He then hiked the same run and took it four more times, each time savoring the fresh powder on the way down. After everyone had built something to hit, we gathered for lunch behind the trucks, sort of a “tail gate party” for kiteboarders. Nothing like hanging in the Colorado sunshine, taking some snow, sun, food and drink all from the comfort of a lawn chair!
2pm came and went and it became apparent that the wind might not fill back in. We split the group in two, one group heading further up route 9 to check out a new spot called Rabbit Ears Pass and the other staying at GMR in case the wind came back. Slezy , Dan and myself stayed at GMR and rigged a tow rope off the back of our 4×4 Blazer (appropriately named). At the end of the tow rope we attached an Airush two line trick bar and what followed were some of the most fun “dry land” tow ins that I’ve ever been a part of. Exchange the waverunner for a truck, the tow rope for a Thule strap and the surfboard for a snowboard and you begin to get the picture. There were three parts to every run. The winding road that covers the entire park was a foot deep with fresh powder, perfect for slicing up some nice turns behind the pull of the truck. After that it was time for the six foot cattle fence slide. If you landed that it was a bee line straight for the power wip cliff drop! Land everything and you got to link some nice powder turns all the way to the reservoir. Slezy had a killer time sliding the rail , even going for some rotating blind landings. His wipped indy grab off the cliff was classic!
Truck #2 with Tekko, Nuzzi, Seth and Kristy wound up route 9 in search of more terrain and wind. On the way, they came upon a donkey on the side of the road. Kristy, surrounded by nothing but peer pressure, was convinced to approach the donkey and try and get on it. The video footage that we saw later that night was hysterical. Kristy spent a few minutes talking to the donkey and petting him to make him feel secure. After this “courtship” period she went for the mount. “Beasts of burden” always have to be mounted from the left said Seth. Kristy went for a right side mount and got fully denied. We were rolling on the floor crying hysterically! The crew forged on to Rabbit Ears Pass to check out this high level snowfield’s riding potential. What they found was lots of hills, powder and good exposure, but very light winds. The potential was there, we just needed a little more breeze. Maybe tomorrow.
That night we feasted on pasta, salad, bread and Miller High Life 40’s. A genuine meal of champions! Late night activities included a trip to Old Chicagos where Seth cancelled us all with 15 “car bombs”. Two super close games of pool followed the bombings and then it was off to lala land… But wait! Seth wasn’t finished. He pulled out the community guitar at the Alpen Hutte and ripped a few originals he and friend Stephan had crafted. Seth, master of all skills, totally impressive.
Monday morning saw us moving into The Four Points Sheraton in Silverthorne, Colorado. This would be the home of our Colorado Snow Camp for the winter season of 2002/2003. Talk about luxury accommodations! After you couch, cot, roll away, and car sleep a week on the road, the Sheraton was like an oasis in the middle of the dessert! Located right in the middle of town, and attached to Old Chicagos for meals and drinks, this hotel has everything you need. Including a fireplace and hot tub!!!
After we ditched our bags at the Sheraton, we headed up to Rabbit Ears Pass to check the breeze. Today the wind was on and being the last car to arrive, we turned the corner to see six kites already in the air. Rabbit Ears Pass gets its name from two giant rock formations that rise above the highest peak, forming the shape of two rabbit ears. The riding was happening right in front of the parking area. The wind was blowing “sideshore” across the hill allowing riders to ride (and jump) up and down the hill. The jumps going down the hill were the most fun. Get up to full speed and power, then just pull the trigger. Away goes the land and it continues to fall away from you as you travel down the slope. You keep trying to land, but you can’t get there because it keeps falling away from you. Definitely a weird feeling! Kickers were again the distraction of the day. The crew double shoveled two kickers, one near the treeline located on top of a fall away, the other mid slope on the hardpack for max speed. Once the gates were opened on the jumps, it was a field day of riders launching themselves into orbit off the face of the slope. Nuzzi hit the mid slope one first, pulling a flawless aerial handle pass. Paul hit the treeline jump and skied a huge indy grab, floating a long way down the hill. Seth ripped the mid slope jump with a roll to revert pulled so low and hard that he came out of it mid carve into his way back up the hill. Slezy took the treeline jump and grabbed his favorite roast beef sandwich on the way down the hill. James and Kritsy were hitting insane speeds on the straights and launching off of the rolling knolls on the slope. After a good three hours, the sun set, the temperature went through the floor and it was time to pack it up for the day. Rabbit Ears was a find and we’d check out tomorrow if the breeze was from the right direction again…
For more info on Storm Chasers and our upcoming snow events, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Kite Center toll free at 866-REAL-548. We look forward to seeing you on the snow soon!
12/7/02 8:39pm Mountain Time
Written from the Alpen Hutte in Dillon, Colorado
The last two days were long ones. Our plane didn’t arrive in Atlanta until 2 minutes before our next plane was leaving. We sprinted the entire length of the airport. We were coming off the end of the running walks at speeds previously never attained by human beings. I came off one of the walkways and had to jog quick left to avoid running into a wall at full speed. The second I jogged right again, a flight attendant wheeled a wheelchair out of a closet right in front of me. I thought I was going straight over the thing at warp 9. It was ridiculous how fast you could get going with the help of those walkways! We ended up getting to the gate less than a minute after they closed the door. They wouldn’t let us in and the plane was still attached to the tube. After a bunch of “negotiating” including banging on the glass to attract the attention of the pilot and ground crew, we got the attendant to open back up the door and let us on. We were bound for Utah!
When we arrived in Utah our bags were still in Atlanta and would be until the next morning at 11am. We waited around for Seth to arrive at 2am and then hit it towards Dan Gavere’s house to catch some z’s. 8am came all too quickly the next morning and we hurried to assemble all of our gear and get back to the airport to pick up our luggage. We picked up all the boards and headed for Strawberry Mountain Resevior, a good local snow kiteboarding spot recommended to us by Brad Doerr, a Hatteras local who spends his winters in Utah. Strawberry looked like a great place to ride, especially after the water freezes and a good base of snow was built up. But this year, Utah was dry as a bone. Totally brown at ever riding place we checked. Some places had a scattrerred inch on the ground but that was about it. We took a cool 4wd drive up a mountain road and found good snow at higher elevations but there were no open spaces to launch a kite so the drive became more of an amusement of how far we could make it up the mountain in deep snow before we had to turn around and come back down. Let me tell you, the worst part is not knowing when to say when, the worst part is having to turn the car around with no room and no traction! We headed back down to a state park and emptied all of our gear to check it was all in good working order and also to put our boards and bindings together. Around that time a little breeze filled in and we threw up a Windwing 550 snowkite to check out how much we had. The breeze only lasted a minute or two and that helped us make up our minds for the next game plan. Colorado, especially Summit County, had been receiving significantly more snow than Utah, so we decided on a through the night road trip to be in Summit County for the next days riding. This would also be the meeting place for our truck coming from the East Coast (with Tekko, Kristy and Jason) and our rental car from the west (with Matt, Seth and myself.)
We showed up in Frisco, CO the next day to check out some of the local riding venues that Matt, Lucy and Alexis had staked out for us last year during their Snow Camp season. All of the riding areas had more snow now than at the peak of last year! We were stoked b/c the coverage was great and the riding terrain was unbelievable! The reseviors were at an all time low level, meaning their were huge open spaces of rolling terrain everywhere covered with at least a foot or more of snow. Everything I had ridden previously was board flat. This place had rolling terrain everywhere with big lips to hit, ledges to drop, and creeks to clear. All based on flat terrain but with a definite 3d element to it. The riding areas seemed to go on to the horizon, which made riding with our group not crowded at all.
We chose the south end of Lake Dillon as our first session. In all there were 5 of us riding with Dan and Tekko shooting video and pics. The wind was on the light side, still looking great to those who had just spent the last two or three days piled in a truck. Everyone jumped out of the trucks and grabbed their big kites. Flexi 7.8’s and 9’s were the first to hit the snow along with a big Toro of Slezy’s. There was already a kicker built in the middle of the lake courtesy of the local riders. The snow was great with a solid base and a good 6″ or more of powder on top. There wasn’t enough wind to get good jumps but the kicker was a blast when you got the good speed up for it. Seth and Matt were schooling it off the kicker by building plenty of speed across the lake and then just hucking themselves off of it. Back and front rolls and nice raileys were scored off the jump. Remember, we talking about just 5 knots of wind! dan and Kristy both took their first ever snow sessions and were ripping it on their first runs. We rode the Lake until about 3pm and then packed up and headed for Green Mountain Reservoir for the evening session.
I thought Lake Dillon was good. Holy sh#$%T! Green Moutain, and the road leading up to it is mental! This is the stuff that snowkiteboarding dreams are made of. Tons of big terrain annd great snow covering it all! We pulled into GMR and found locals Motz, Munz and Lance finishing up a session . They had built this kicker up onto a six foot high (out of the snow ) metal cattle fence and were sliding it all day. By the time we arrived, the sun was setting and the breeze had gone in the crapper. They hooked us up with a couple of cold Milwaukee’s Best and we watched in awe as the temperature dropped twenty degrees or more once the sun went below the horizon. Slezak took a session on the way out by tieing a tow strap to Tekko’s bumper and then riding his snow board behind the truck all the way to the highway. Not slow! This is definitely the place we wanted to ride on Sunday. We headed back down to town, grabbed dinner, beers and then wallowed in the altitude euphoria known as too much sun, too much fun, too much beer and not enough oxygen! We had found the snow and the next several days were set for some killer riding!
For more info on Storm Chasers and our upcoming snow events, email us at email@example.com or call our Kite Center toll free at 866-REAL-548. We look forward to seeing you on the snow soon!
12/5/02 6:49pm EST
Written from the seat of a Boeing 747 parked at the gate in Norfolk, Virginia…
We’re off to Utah, Colorado and Wyoming! Initially Storm Chasers was scheduled to hit Michigan and NY but with tickets, sunshine and snow being so good in Utah we changed our plans mid November and re-slated the trip to head west. Just our luck ! Utah didn’t get the snow, Michigan and NY did, and then our plane and road trip west were delayed by a day due to a heavy duty east coast snow storm. Tekko and Kristy left REAL kiteboarding lunchtime on December 4th, heading first up to Pennsylvania to pick up Jason Slezak and then westward 30 hours to Salt Lake City where they would meet up with us. Immediately after leaving Hatteras Island they encountered heavy snow, clueless drivers and cars spinning everywhere on the highway. Their 42 hour road trip was beginning to look a lot more like an 84 hour road trip! Matt and myself flew out of Norfolk at 4:20pm on the 5th but our plane wouldn’t leave the gate because it was snowing in New England and we were headed towards Atlanta. What! I still can’t figure that one out. Up North, Seth was flying out of LaGuardia with 10 inches of snow on the ground. His plane left on time! Dan Gavere is patiently awaiting all of us on the other side of the country in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our game plan for the trip is to all meet up in Salt Lake then hit some of the popular riding spots around the Park City area. In snow kiteboarding, “popular” means that somebody has ridden the spot before with success and can tell you when and if the spot will be good for snowkiteboarding. In snow kiteboarding, popular never equates to crowded. At least not yet. After that it would be on to Colorado and Wyoming, exploring some of the dream spots in the heartland of snow country. Packed in our bags are dozens of snowboards, all different lengths, widths, flexes and sidecuts. The biggest board? A 176cm powder gun. The smallest? A 152cm skatestyle jibbing board.