Snowkiting is a relatively new winter sport, but it has quickly grown in popularity. It’s the winter equivalent of kitesurfing, but is much easier to learn and turns kiting into a year round sport. Even better, if you already have skiing or snowboarding experience, the basics will be that much easier to master. All you need is your equipment, a little wind, and wide open spaces. No lift ticket required! Below are 10 great places to go Snowkiting in the U.S. and beyond.
Best Snowkiting Spots Worldwide
There has been a long history of winter recreation in the Big Hole Valley area of Montana, and the locals are always friendly to traveling riders. This 60-mile area offers ample terrain to go around, and you’ll never feel crowded on these slopes. Head to Mount Haggin on the northern tip of the valley or Big Hole Pass in the south for some consistent and well established kiting terrain. The season here lasts from November to May, but the best time to visit is between February and April. The two closest towns are Jackson and Wisdom. Check out the Jackson Hot Springs to warm up after a cold day on the snow, or adventure outside on cross country skis or a snowmobile.
Camas Valley is an outdoor paradise all year round, but the area’s consistent wind and unlimited terrain makes this a perfect place for snowkiting. It’s easy to find spots with no trees, deep snow, and steady wind, all right from your tailgate. Visit between late December and March to take advantage of this epic terrain. If the wind isn’t blowing one day, Soldier Mountain Ski Area is just a quick 10 minute drive from Fairfield, Idaho. Sun Valley, Idaho is just a one hour drive away as well. Head here for more world-class skiing and a fun mountain town to explore.
3. Great Meadow - Klamath Falls, Oregon
Great Meadow (also known as the 140 Flats), is just a quick drive east of Medford, Oregon, and the area is complete with restrooms and plowed parking. It’s also the site of the annual SnowDaze snowkite event, perfect for riders who want to compete or just watch the pros. The best time to snowkite in Oregon is between January and March. When you’re not on the snow, head back to Medford or Ashland. Ashland is a college town, so there’s plenty to do and see, plus a great nightlife.
Lake Dillon, near Frisco, Colorado, offers some of the best snowkiting terrain in Colorado. Frozen lakes offer clean and predictable winds, making it a great place for beginners to learn. The kiting season here runs between January and March. During your down time, be sure to explore Frisco. The old mining town is nestled in the Rocky Mountains and offers some breathtaking views. Take a snowshoeing tour, hit up one of the many nearby ski resorts, or check out the Frisco Adventure Park for tubing and the area’s Nordic center.
Minnesota is a snowkiting paradise, and when all 10,000 lakes freeze over, snowkiters can drive right onto the lakes and take off from their car’s tailgate. Check out xs for a great place to kite, and one lake where you won’t run into too many ice fishers. The area also hosts its fare share of kiteboarding events, so visitors can get close to the action, and experienced riders can test their skills. The best conditions here are between January and March. Minneapolis offers quick and easy access to the 10,000 Lakes area, and has a full range of activities for time off the snow (think Mall of America or the Waterpark of America). If you’re looking for even more outdoor adventure nearby, try playing some hockey, ice climbing, or ice fishing.
The opportunities for snowkiting in Anchorage are nearly endless, and within 2 hours or less, you can easily find great spots for riding. Portage Lake is one great place to start out, and has a great dependable wind flow and consistently high snowfall. Turnagain Pass is another great spot, and the natural features here create a kind of snowkiting terrain park. The best conditions in Alaska last from February to June. If mother nature doesn’t cooperate and you end up with no wind, head to Alyeska Resort for some epic skiing or snowboarding, or take a back country tour with a local tour company.
7. Skyline Drive - Fairview, Utah
Skyline Drive has become a world famous spot for snowkiting in recent years, and the area’s varied terrain is great for riders of any ability level. The kiting area here is great for any wind direction, and is ridable with just a few feet of snow. The season is typically open from December to April, but the conditions are best between January and March. When you’re not on the snow or the wind isn’t blowing, the small town atmosphere makes it the perfect winter vacation destination. Rent snow shoes and hike through the area’s beautiful scenery, or rent a snowmobile to tour the snowy mountains.
8. Simplon Pass – Simplon, Switzerland
Switzerland is the heart of the Alps, so it’s no surprise that this is just one more snowkiting paradise. The high plateau of the Simplon Pass is a perfect spot to experience snowkiting in Switzerland. The area offers both north and south facing slopes, each catering to the wind direction on any given day, and there is always ample snowfall. Brig, a historic Swiss City, sits at the foot of Simplon Pass, and is a beautiful town to explore after you’ve had your fill of riding. It is close to hiking and skiing areas, giving you plenty of other outdoor options, and the town boats its own thermal baths.
9. Langjokull Glacier, Iceland
Snowkiting in Iceland offers an unforgettable back drop of volcanic mountains, and the Langjokull Glacier is the second biggest ice cap in Europe. It is a destination for some of the world’s best riders, but the expansive and varied terrain makes it a great spot for beginners to learn as well. For the best conditions, head to Iceland between February and April. Husafell is one nearby town and is a popular tourist resort. The landscape here is magnificent, and the town offers great services for visitors and beautiful hot springs to warm up after a long day on the glacier.
If you’re looking to skip the lines at the nearby ski resorts, head to the Spray Lakes near Banff. The conditions here are ideal, and there is a strong and consistent wind, thick ice on the lake, and breathtaking scenery. The natural features of the area also create a natural terrain park for some extra play time. The season starts as soon as the lake is amply frozen, and usually lasts from December to March. For time off your board, head to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, snowshoe around the Banff National Park, or take in some local history of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.
This article was written by Alexis Hartmann.