Both on the water and snow, kite sports in Alaska have never been bigger, friendlier or more organized.
This amazing growth is due to the nonstop work and dedication of kiters all over the state. These kiters have launched their own festivals, organizations and websites and have collectively created the increasingly well-known Alaska kite scene.
The Anchorage crew have been pushing the snowkite scene with some amazing expeditions to far flung glaciers and valleys brimming with snow, solitude and wind. Meanwhile the Valdez guys are pushing harder than ever and turning out some sick videos showcasing their freestyle prowess. The kiters of Southeast are kicking off their own scenes and we can’t wait to see where they go with it. Down in Homer this last year’s snowkiting season was a little less than ideal but that didn’t stop the local crew. They stayed in the water late last fall and were some of the first in the water with the snow flurries this spring. Elsewhere in Alaska – even in some of the most remote places like Kodiak, Nunivak Island and Unalaska – kiters are somehow getting gear and tearing it up. In short, it’s been a wonderful and eventful season for the Alaska kite scene and we can’t wait to see where we are this time next year!
Here are some current events from the Alaska kite scene:
This March the Thompson Pass Snowkite Festival took over Valdez once again. The event went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time learning from the pros, trying new gear and exploring the area’s amazing terrain. Booze, live music and demo gear rounded out the event nicely. For more information, check out http://alaskakiteadventures.com/Alaska_Kite_Adventures/AKA_Albums/Pages/TPSKF_2010.html
Earlier in the year, Traveler Terpening, of KiteSurf Alaska, launched Desert Wind Kiteboarding where he winters in Flagstaff, Arizona. He taught kitesports all winter and spring and has been selling gear regionally and around the country. Traveler made quick work of his newly acquired PASA (Professional Air Sport Association) instructor certification and took on about 30 new students. His free weekend kite clinic were a big hit and students traveled from around the state to get their first taste of kiting!
Now that the summer is rolling around, Alaskans are once again looking forward to the third annual KiteFest Alaska in Homer. The event will be held June 4-6 and will feature classes and clinics for beginners through intermediate riders. We will also put on competitions such as a 25m kite-pump-up contest and a down wind race. At night we will host a movie night with some of the latest kite videos, BBQs, kiter dinner (at Homer’s own kiter-owned restaurant – Cosmic Kitchen), gear raffles, parties and free food.
KiteFest Alaska is a unique event because it’s organized by a local not for profit kite organization called KiteSurf Alaska. Each year the event is put on by a crew of dedicated volunteers, some of whom are PASA certified instructors. These selfless kite sports advocates work hard all week to teach participants about kiting and promote the sport in Alaska. Perhaps the most unique feature of the event is that every activity, class and competition is free with a donation to KiteSurf Alaska. The spirit of the event has always been one of learning, camaraderie and tearing it up on the water, all without the polluting influence of money. While kites and gear are sold, traded and given away, we feel our event has a special vibe all its own. Participants come ready to learn, share and have fun. Is kiting really about anything else?
Without the gracious support of our sponsors, the event could not happen. Thank’s in particular to F–One Kiteboarding for believing in us from day one and their commitment to kiteboarding in Alaska!