Midwest Snowkiting

Kitesurfing or snowkiting...if the wind's blowin'...where you goin?

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Midwest Snowkiting

Postby kitekid21 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:39 pm

Seeing as there is currently snow falling in Chicago, it seems only fitting that snowkiting start to be discussed.


First and foremost, I would like to offer the use of a very large soccer complex near my house in Naperville. I would very much like to see more kiters than myself riding there. In addition, on weekends or if the conditions are rough, people are more than welcome to spend the night at my house. The field is located directly behind (south) of Neuqua Valley high school. Its extremely large, and has essentially no Wind shadow anywhere, so the wind is very smooth.

I am also extremely interested in setting up rideshares to wherever there is snow and wind... Which will most likely be Wisconsin. I'll try to post whenever I'm riding on the forum

Any snow info from the Madison/Milwaukee guys? It should be windy this week!!!
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby ironben » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:39 pm

good stuff
I may come over check out the place,
we'll be in touch :D
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby grimace » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:43 pm

Mt Bohemia is going to be open this weekend. If you don't mind the drive, hereis the snow that can be yours (taken this afternoon):
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby mbieweng » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:40 am

Does anyone know what the current ice situation is on Grass Lake?

I'm hoping it will have decent ice thickness and snow cover by the weekend.

Also, I've been wanting to try out the field here: http://goo.gl/maps/4eKAG and here: http://goo.gl/maps/BUqgG but they'll need more snow.
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby dewsy » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:01 pm

I'm wondering the same thing about grass lake.. May make the trip out there this weekend to try out my new 19..

-dewsy
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby ilivni » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:22 pm

Any. Suggestions where to snowkite tomorrow? I have some time off ... Flew at Cricket Hill the last couple of days. Sketchy. Promptly left when the sledders arrived
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby ens137 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:02 am

kitekid---sent you a pm
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby Bob » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:42 pm

Madison's season is off to a great start. Fields will be so so around the region due to light snow. However, our lakes have frozen over early and the recent snow is sticking well. The first day of riding was really slick on the ice since the snow was so light, but it's settled better now and has decent grip.

If anyone is coming this way, give me a heads up and I'll let you know the best places to ride.

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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby maly » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:50 pm

kitekid21 wrote: The field is located directly behind (south) of Neuqua Valley high school. Its extremely large, and has essentially no Wind shadow anywhere, so the wind is very smooth.


And there are huge HIGH VOLTAGE lines !!!! at the end of the field , perfect opportunity to get "warmed up" a little on those cold winter days.
Seriously, please reconsider this option, those lines are much closer than you think when you add the length of your kite lines. And please don't tell me it's not going to happen .... it took me only 15 minutes , VERY SCARY. It was a long time ago and I've not been there since.
So please learn from my stupid mistake.
Kitekid , you are better than that , please don't invite people to places like that , what if a newbie shows up and you not there ?!!
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby dewsy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:29 pm

So, to grass lake it is on Saturday..

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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby kitekid21 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:58 am

I stand by the Neuqua location. The lines are far enough away. I've never had any issues with it whatsoever. It's such a huge field!!! If your kite is dragging you uncontrollably towards power lines that are that far, you probably shouldn't have a kite that big... or learn better kite control! I've got a bunch of spots posted in brown on the google map... and blue, once they're frozen are all lakes that are suitable.

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewe ... _StJIWwAWM

None of the nearby spots even compare in terms of wind shadow and smooth terrain. If you are competent with kite control, safety releases, and set up on the other side of the field AWAY from the power lines, you've got a TON of space before you even get close.

We've got snow coming and good wind. I'll be out as often as possible. I don't think we'll have enough wind this weekend. Maybe I'll throw the 17m up anyway.

Edit: For the record, I'm not responsible for newbies unless I know they're showing up... then I'll help as much as possible. It's an open public field. If you aren't sure that you're competent then you aren't. Pretty much if you can ride on water, then you can ride on snow. Common sense is to stay away from power lines.... and if you had 15 minutes to get away from the lines, what happened?! If it was that dangerous, and you had 15 WHOLE minutes, why was that not enough?

Edit to the edit: I've kited here for two years and never had a problem or even seen a problem with the power lines. There's so much room.
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby jet » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:01 am

Has anyone been to Busse woods (right by Woodfield Mall) to snowkite?
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby Dutchkiteboarder » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:04 pm

jet wrote:Has anyone been to Busse woods (right by Woodfield Mall) to snowkite?


Don't do it, its not allowed. There is a thread somewhere here on the board about it. Some guy went mountain boarding there got a ticket.
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby kitekid21 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:03 pm

Have the rules for Busse changed? I think it might have been changed to allow for kiteboarders... But there are other places to kite too.
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby West » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:50 am

Keith, we are a very close kiting community that looks after the safety of other kiters, especially those learning and beginning to progress. Mario was relating an experience he had at that location and the dangers that exist...his concern is the safety of other kiters, who may be unaware of the power lines at that field.

Accidents are called accidents for a reason; when kiting they can become "kitemares" rather quickly...even the most proficient kiter can "find" themselves in a tragic situation...do not dismiss that so adamantly, it can happen to anyone!!

If you choose to kite there due to the proximity to your residence, great, you accept the hazards involved. Peronally, I stopped kiting there years ago because I felt uneasy about those power lines, and found fields that although farther away, they were "wide open".

...one of the most skilled kiters I know, Sam Reynolds, was kiting a "slick" down in Corpus. It was a flat water spot several hundred yards upwind of some power lines. He was practicing some unhooked moves, a mishap caused him to have to release his kite which ended up in the power lines...luckily he was not injured, but the power was knocked out, and he was given a several thousand dollar fine for the repair. The kiting spot is now "off limits"....another kiter Peter Nordby, also in Corpus, who at the time was one of the best in the world, got knocked out while kiting, and was drug onshore and wrapped up in some power lines; his best friend witnessed his tragic death...

Do not be so quick to dismiss inherent dangers when kiting...Safety First!!! Thanks for relating your experience Mario... West
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby Bryce FLK » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:42 pm

As I design transmission lines for a living I thought I should put in my two cents....and maybe this is more of a general reminder than specific to this thread

Stay away from them. If your kite ends up connecting two phases of a transmission circuit it can create a fault and then possibly an outage. Depending on the voltage, a few thousand dollars wouldn't even come close to the financial repercussions of an outage, not to mention your kite being crispy.

I get scared every time I ride at wolf lake for this reason, even with the wind direction blowing away from the lines.

This is relatively low voltage wolf lake is larger:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FsRZ-I9_F0
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby kitekid21 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:42 pm

I know what you're saying west, but you can't say a spot is dangerous because of the inherent risks at that spot. I'm not dismissing safety/caution but we wouldn't say Keegs is too dangerous because of the piers there. Or casino any worse because of the partially submerged pipes to the South. Even beginner spots have their own dangers... So what are we supposed to do? Stop kiting because there are risks in our sport? Granted as Bryce said, it's a costly experience, but there are approximately 4 soccer fields width BEFORE you get to the power lines... On a north wind... Which would bring you into the lines at the south.. It takes just as much awareness to avoid piers where we kite as it does power lines. I've kited there in N winds, and though I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for everyone, the spot is great for beginners for literally every other direction. I'm all for safety,/caution/reducing risks , but I think it's also important for kiters to know their limits and safety equipment before we dismiss a spot as "dangerous," because kitemares happen to excellent riders in ideal conditions too.

I watched my friend in Indonesia get launched 50ft through the air into a brick wall and crumple limp and fortunately with only a moderate concussion. But that doesn't mean we stopped kiting the spot. We must always allow room for user error, no matter the skill level... Which is what my friend didn't do.
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby Bob » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:42 pm

Yea...but the big difference with the friend who hit the rocks and others who have done the same is that they are usually endangering only themselves. Powerlines just seem way to dangerous to ride near in my opinion. OBX (hatteras) has docks that riders will jump near, on and over and yet they just made signage at Kite point to make sure riders stay 300 feet from the power lines. There's probably more risk riding near docks and rocks and trees, but reality is usually the only person who is in danger is the rider. Powerlines can create a huge problem in my opinion.
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby kitekid21 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:52 am

The only difference, Bob, is that the powerlines are SUPER far away. MUCH more than 300ft away.
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Re: Midwest Snowkiting

Postby Bob » Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:31 pm

Even though I'm a dealer and I have been told by friends that I may loose current and future customers when I post comments that can be construed as argumentative, etc., that's a choice I'm willing to take. This sport is awesome we're here to try to give accurate info. The big picture here Keith is that your safety and others safety and keeping riders ALIVE is something that we all take very seriously. I'm sure you do also, but you might want to reconsider this location.

Here's my take:

1) Listen to West.
2) Listen to Bryce.
3) Listen to Mario.
4) That field is SMALL (Tiny). Not huge at all. Sorry, but I've been riding for 13 years and it's the size of a pond. We don't typically ride ponds due to gusty winds and close obstacles. Can it be done? Yes, but the risks are great with power lines so close.
5) According to Google maps, the only direction that looks decent is straight south. However, across the road are 2 story houses and trees that are even higher, so the winds will be gusty even in this direction.
6) Any other wind direction is going to bring the lines into play quickly especially on snow. Snow conditions and texture change daily. Last week we had light snow on top of harder snow. It was fast. Then, it got warm and the top surface has a crusty layer that begs to be ridden really fast in order to break through the layer. In the winter, riding speeds are faster than the water so we cover greater distances in a shorter time frame. This just makes that field even smaller yet.
7) Do you have prior approval to ride there? Every field needs to have approval for riding or you are playing with fire. If not, you'll want to contact the school and they can give you the proper contacts for riding there. Whoever owns the park will be the contact person.
8) See #7 above.
9) Good luck riding and it's worth the effort to travel a little further to find safer locations.

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