The Development of Snowkiting

Over the last few years the sport of snowkiting has increased in popularity and is now a regular sight on many of the slopes across the world, such as in Sweden, Canada, Austria, Norway, Russia, France and Iceland. It is very similar to kitesurfing, with the only difference being that snowkiting is done on ice or on the snow. It is a sport that has evolved greatly, with foil kites being used when the sport first made its appearance, as opposed to the inflatable kites that are used today.

Using Otto Lilienthal as his inspiration, Dieter Strasilla and his brother Udo started to experiment with parachute skiing. With their testing in 1972, it began to evolve into kiteskiing, which was perfected into a paragliding kite that enabled skiers to swivel the kite, allowing them to change direction. Frozen lakes and fields were used at first, but Wolf Beringer saw more room for improvement, and began to develop a parawing system in 1982. The Parawing system was used over long distances on expeditions. It did not take long before a foil was designed, making kiteskiing more manageable, as the foils had two handles and were much easier for the skier to control. While lakes were being used to do rails, jumps and trick kite skiing, alpine skiers were taking notice and the industry was set into motion to sustain yet another change.

As the millennium began to approach, the limits and boundaries of snowkiting began to be pushed and explored, leading to more defined technologies being created to allow for freestyle snowkiting. Snowkiters are able to travel up and down terrain with the kite, and even speeds and terrains have changed. With more snowkiters taking to the sport, it is becoming a better documented sport with films being made, showcasing the fun, excitement and skills that snowkiting enthusiasts have been developing. Not only have films and magazines been released in regard to snowkiting, but instructors have been trained to assist aspiring snowkiters in regard to skill and safety. As snowkiters become more comfortable they are able to do cliff jumps, course racing, tricks and endurance.