By Aaron Sales/Kiteboarding Mag
When it comes to snowkiting, rarely does Montana disappoint those willing to make the voyage to the cold distant land. And for riders who attended the first stop on the North American Snowkite tour at Georgetown lake, Montana, they all left with their fair share of wind and sessions.
Snowkiters from Montana, Utah, Oregon, Washington and California came together Jan 7-9 for the Georgetown Lake Open to compete in freestyle, freeride and race disciplines. Competitors began showing up on Friday for a freeride day on the lake while others scored sessions at nearby Mt Hagin where the snow was thick and deep.
Saturday was the day of the main event where riders were welcomed by steady winds averaging 20 knots with temperatures in the teens. Two days prior, the lake went through a warming and freezing cycle making for hard conditions which was fast for racing but potentially ass breaking for freestyle. It was decided to run the freestyle event in a marina half the size of a football field with snowy banks which made nice quarter pipes and ramps and allowed the event staff to set up the two railslides in front of the spectators.
Although it was still early season and hard pack conditions, several riders still threw down their best but it was Wainman Hawaii team rider, Matt Thames who stood out above the rest with flat 3 handle-passes off the kickers some solid handle passes over the rails in addition to riding with style throughout the entire 15 minute heat.
An hour later the races began with a Triangular course set up across the entire width of G-town lake and was estimated to be 4 miles long. Cabrinha Rider, Ken Lucas took the hole shot at the start line and never looked back. The secret to getting around this course was not only being fast but pinching upwind whenever possible to hit the first mark with as few tacks as possible. Racers described the course as “long fast and leg burning.” The start was packed with many kites on the line and field stayed tight even though the course was long which made for some technical racing.
The NAST tour also introduced a freeride category for all riders who entered the event which was judged based on overall impression through the day. Standouts included a few up and comers like 12 year Frances Cronin who charged all day and ended up winning her race heat and Joshua Smith who proved throughout the day he was worth of the tour. But in the end it was Best Kiteboarding’s Jacob Buzianis that won the judges over with his aggressive riding all day long.
All events were completed on Saturday and an awards ceremony was held in the old ski town of Philipsburg at the base of Discovery Basin ski resort. Freestyle winner, Matt Thames joined the band with his bass guitar and the rest of the crew celebrated with the usual party antics that goes with snowkite events in Montana. Since all results were tallied on Saturday, that left Sunday for freeriding where everyone went off and found there own session in the unmatched terrain of Montana.
Thanks to Cole Russell of Underground Kite Sports who organized the event and to all who attended. See you at the next stop in Dillon, Colorado February 10th -13th. Check out event results and dates on snowkitetour.com.