This “kite” skier floated through the air with the greatest of ease up at Red Mountain on a beautiful sunny day last week. Greater Trail municipalities are reminding residents to stay and play local. Photo: Jim Bailey.

This “kite” skier floated through the air with the greatest of ease up at Red Mountain on a beautiful sunny day last week. Greater Trail municipalities are reminding residents to stay and play local. Photo: Jim Bailey.

Skiing West Kootenay Style

The unique sport of kite skiing is growing rapidly and catching on in the Kootenays

Kite skiing is catching on at West Kootenay ski hills.

Snowkiting or kite skiing is an outdoor winter sport where people use kite power to glide on snow or ice.

The sport is similar to water-based kiteboarding, but with the footwear used in snowboarding or skiing. The principles of using the kite are the same, but in different terrain.

In the early days of snowkiting, foil kites were the most common type; nowadays many kiteboarders use inflatable kites.

Better equipment, safety practices, community know-how and qualified instructors are readily available in many areas, allowing people to learn properly and safely through different means than trial and error.

The sport is currently being enjoyed by kiters of all ages and in a wide variety of activities ranging from mellow jaunts on a lake, to kitercross events, from multi-day expeditions, to flying off mountains, from freestyle jib tricks, to huge cliff jumps as well as endurance and course racing.