Places to Snowkite:
State Park, Lake Winnipesaukee
Town: Gilford, NH
Best Wind Directions: W NW N NE E
Take 93 N to Rt 3. Laconia and onto Rt 11.
Ellacoya is the undisputed best spot. It is worth the drive
because of the smooth air and endless open space. It takes longer
to freeze over than other spots, but it tends to hold snow while places
further south turn to puddles and slush. Lighter winds are still
kiteable here because the winds are smooth.
Town: Brookfield, MA
Best Wind Directions: NW SW
Take Mass Pike Rt. 90 West. Take Exit 9 onto Rt. 20 East. Follow
to Rt. 49 North. Follow to Rt. 9 West. Go approx. 4
miles, look for "Clam Box" restaurant on left. Take left onto
Street. Go 1 mile and the ramp will be on the right.
Notes: One of
the better spots for the typical NW winds in the winter. Good
ice. Avoid areas near the river inlets in the early
season. Closer than Ellacoya, and there are times when the wind
is blowing at Quaboag when NH is dead.
Town: Wakefield, MA
Best Wind Directions: NW
Take Rt. 128 North of Boston to Wakefield exit for Rt. 129.
easy access off major highway. Closest to Metro Boston.
exit as REI. See Zeroprestige
for previous exploits. Seems to have later ice formation than
other spots. Good for a quick session close to town.
Town: Worcester, MA
NW, SW, NE
Driving: Right by
the intersection of 290 and 190 in Worcester. Park at the YMCA on the
North side of the lake.
Freezes over very early. It is surrounded by hills and trees so
it is gusty. Worcester is one of the windier places. It always
seems to be blowing up in the vicinity of Indian lake.
Town: Ossipee, NH
Town: Sunapee, NH
Town: Amesbury, MA
Amesbury Rte 150 exit off 495N. Take right off exit ramp onto
Rte. 150. Go through the intersection of Rte. 150 and
110. At blinking yellow light, take a left onto Highland
Street. At T-intersection, take a left onto Lions Mouth
Road. Continue on Lions Mouth Road for 1 mile and the site will
be on your right. Turn off the road at the Lion statue and park
in the back. Walk west to the open area. Kiting on the
hilly side south of the road is also possible if there are no sledders.
hilly terrain area that I know of.
Town: West Roxbury,
A man made hill, so it is good for many directions.
Rt. 95 in West Roxbury, MA. Take Exit 16A off 95 onto Rt. 109
East. Turn left at lights onto VFW Parkway North. Go a
short distance and you will see a left turn into Millenium Park.
for the green sign.
area, but good for an early winter session before the lakes are
frozen. I wouldn't be too comfortable with larger kites
here. There are some trees and fences and light poles to watch
for. The trees will only get bigger as they were recently planted.
Town: Amesbury, MA
495 in Amesbury, MA.
Town: Rochester, MA
RT.495.Take Exit 3 onto RT.28 South. Go 1.5 miles. Where RT.28
left go straight onto Spruce Street. Go 3.6 miles and turn left onto
Neck Road. Go 3/4 miles and there is a small dirt lot on the right.
Went there once in N winds and it was gusty. I would suggest S.
Watuppa lake instead. There is more rain than snow down near the
shore so this place tends to be ice when other places are snow.
The SE part of the state gets winds when the rest of the state is dead,
that is another reason to consider this place.
Frequently Asked Questions:
should I snowkite?
It will leave you smiling for weeks/years/a lifetime after
a good session. Once you have a kite the wind is free.
There are no crowds, no traffic, no lift-lines, endless powder, and the
sensation of lifting off and gliding under your own power...
Actually, on second thought, I'll save that for you to discover.
What is the snowkite season in the Northeast US?
Since there are not many large open fields in our area, the snowkite
season is set by the ice conditions. We are very lucky to have so
many great snowkiting lakes here. These lakes are really an
untapped wintertime playground. Only a few fishermen and sled
drivers have figured this out. January through March make up
three months of prime snowkiting here in New England. The
best conditions tend to be late February to early March up at Lake
Winnipesaukee. If you are visiting the area, that is the best bet.
What makes a good site for
The bigger the better. Look for a place with smooth winds with no
trees or other turbulence inducing obstructions. Smaller sites
can be good, but you will have less fun in turbulent air. Kites
will fall out of the air and get tangled and you will be a grumpy
kiter. A nice solid snow base over solid ice is ideal. Ice
can be fun with a small kite and sharp edges.
What equipment is best?
Skis work better on icy or windblown mixed ice/snow
surface. Snowboards are better in powder. Both are great on
packed powder. Use what you are familiar with. It all
works. I kited a whole winter season with a Slingshot Wasp 3m
ram-air foil kite for high winds, and a Ozone Frenzy 10m ram-air foil
kite for regular winds. A 3m foil kite will cost $200-$300
new. The 10m Frenzy was $1000 new. My Dakine Tabu harness
cost $100 new.
Is snowkiting similar to
The skills from snowkiting directly transfer to kite-surfing.
on snow is easier than on water. Winters are windier here than
summers. You can snow-kite if you can feel a breeze, unlike
kite-surfing where you need huge kites and enough power to water-start
Is it safe?
Yes. Is it completely safe? No. Have people
died snowkiting? Yes. Have people died downhill
skiing? Yes. It is all about the decisions you make.
Live to kite another day. Don't let the excitement cloud your
judgement. If you look back on something you did and consider it
stupid, rework your routine so that you don't do it again.
General tips: Look out for each other. Don't kite
alone. Wear a helmet and padding appropriate for the
conditions. Wait for the snowmobilers to test the ice before you
head out. Always carry ice-picks for clawing your way out of a
hole in the ice. Do not jump over ice. Do not jump higher
than you are willing to fall. Gusts and squalls are extremely
dangerous. Don't go out if there are storms in the area or
gusty conditions are predicted.
do I learn how to snowkite?
Learn to fly two-line stunt kites. Buy a 3m ram-air
foil and learn to fly that. Take a lesson to get experience with
handling larger kites.
Snowkiting: Contact kansky "at" jeklink.net