Snowkite basics for beginners: your path to starting snowkiting

As winter landscapes become the playgrounds for adventure enthusiasts, snowkiting emerges as a thrilling sport that combines the best of snowboarding and kite flying. Snowkiting, a relatively recent winter sport, has been gaining traction with its promise of freedom, speed, and the ability to harness the raw power of the wind. This comprehensive guide will set you on the right path by imparting the foundational knowledge and skills required for a successful snowkiting venture.

Understanding snowkiting

Snowkiting is more than just a winter sport; it’s a dance with the elements. You, the snowkiter, will use a kite to glide across snow or ice, akin to kiteboarding on water. Hence, understanding the principles behind it is essential. Snowkiting can be performed on a variety of surfaces including frozen lakes and open fields, as long as there’s a thick layer of snow or ice and ample wind.

The right equipment

Choosing the right gear is critical for your safety and enjoyment of the sport. Snowkiting equipment includes the kite, harness, lines, control bar, and the rider’s choice of board or skis.


Kites come in different shapes and sizes, designed for various wind conditions and skill levels. Foil kites and inflatable kites are the two main types, with the former being more popular for snowkiting due to their light weight and easy relaunch capabilities on the snow.


The harness connects your body to the kite, allowing you to control it effectively. There are waist and seat harness options, and while each type has its fans, beginners often prefer seat harnesses for their added support and comfort.

Boards and skis

Snowkiters use either snowboards or skis. Your choice will depend on your background and preferences. Skiers may have an easier time starting since they can face forward, while snowboarders have to adjust to the side stance.

Getting started with snowkiting

Learning basic kite control

Kite control is the essence of snowkiting. Begin with a trainer kite on the ground, which is smaller and easier to manage. This will help you get the feel of the kite’s movement and power zones without the complication of being on the snow.

Understanding wind windows

The wind window is a three-dimensional space where you can fly your kite. It is vital to understand this concept as it dictates the kite’s power and movement. It’s the area downwind of the kiter and the basics of snowkiting revolve around being able to navigate this space effectively.

Snowkiting techniques

Launching and landing

Launching and landing your kite are fundamental skills that you must master. Always choose an open area free of obstacles and ensure the wind is at an appropriate strength. Safety is paramount, so practicing these skills until confident is advisable.

Riding and steering

With the kite up and flying, the next step is moving onto the snow. Steering involves pulling the control bar towards you to go in the direction you want. Gradually, you will learn to synchronize your movements with the kite for a smooth ride.

Safety and preparedness

Prioritize safety at all times. Wearing a helmet, using a kite with a safety release system, and undertaking lessons with a certified instructor can minimize risks. Understanding weather conditions and knowing when to kite is also part of being a responsible snowkiter.

Selecting a snowkiting location

The ideal location for snowkiting should have consistent wind, plenty of open space, and good quality snow. Research spots that are popular with experienced snowkiters, as these are likely to be safer and more enjoyable for beginners.

Learning from others

Community engagement is a significant aspect of snowkiting. Joining groups or forums, finding snowkiting buddies, and getting lessons from knowledgeable instructors can greatly enhance your learning curve.

Snowkiting etiquette

Being mindful of others and the environment is indispensable. Respect other snowkiters, skiers, and snowboarders by maintaining a safe distance. Also, leaving no trace and preserving nature ensures the longevity of the snowkiting spots.

Building your skills

As with any sport, practice is crucial in snowkiting. Start with small goals, such as mastering straight-line rides before attempting turns and jumps. Every session on the snow will improve your technique and confidence.

Progressing to advanced techniques

Once the basics are second nature, explore more advanced techniques like jumping and backcountry snowkiting. These require a higher skill level and a deeper understanding of weather patterns and snow conditions.

Maintaining your gear

Proper maintenance extends the life of your equipment. Always dry your gear before storage, check for any damage after each use, and repair promptly to ensure your safety during the next ride.

Snowkiting is an exhilarating way to experience the winter wilderness. It offers the chance to explore untouched areas while providing an amazing adrenaline rush. With the basics mapped out in this guide, you’re well-prepared for beginning your journey into the mesmerizing world of snowkiting. Remember, patience and perseverance are your allies as you embark on this captivating sport. Embrace the wind, respect the snow, and most importantly, enjoy every moment of your snowkiting adventure.