Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WISSA 2008: Report from the Spot

Subject: WISSA 2008

The club house. Race committee HQ and possible gear storage/ waxing station. This is on the lake.

The main lodging. Maybe the architect liked Howard Johnson's ?

But check out the back yard! The WHOLE resort is OURS for the week!

Lost on the lake? Head for the twin steeples.

This is where meals, ceremonies, the Trade Mission, and many other activities take place. It is on the lake near the clubhouse. Everything is close. The main lodging at the mountain is connected by free shuttle bus.

Welcome to the land where the mountains meet the sea. Fresh shellfish, lobsters, and all manner of fruits de la Mer can be enjoyed with upland game, Maple syrup, and a rich array of locally farmed produce. Local dairy products are excellent as are the many items produced using the region's copious raspberries and blueberries.

The Gaspe is truly majestic. The geography and culture are special and unique to North America.

Its position down wind and up from the generally ice free gulf of St Lawrence makes it a catch basin for beaucoup de poudre and the winds are always cranking.

One whole side of Lac Matapedia is undeveloped wilderness. There are 3 towns on the lake and it is possible to sail from one to the next.

10-17 Feb.
This is a first installment. PLEASE plan on coming

p.s. Bon Noel

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kite Yukon

By Michael Meandering

I know many people who disdain winter, and I've noticed that these people tend to live in parts of Canada where there is little, if any, snow, or where getting out of the city to enjoy the snow consumes the better part of the day. I feel very sorry for those people.

/Original is here./

We've been having a dearth of snow in Whitehorse, which has made the winter a little less enjoyable but, over the last two days, that unfortunate situation has rectified itself.

It got even better last night, when I read in the paper that there were going to be free snow kiting demos and lessons at Schwatka Lake today. Fawn and I registered as soon as we saw the ad. We both wanted to give it a try.

This morning, Fawn, Jade and I bundled up and went down to the lake. It was a beautiful day for those who dressed properly. There was fresh snow on the ground and the wind was steady - not too weak and not too strong - perfect for learning how to kite ski.

The event was hosted by Up North Adventures and a new business, Kite Yukon. Jim Welsh of Kite Yukon gave us instruction on how to use the 3m learning kites. I have to say, he did a great job. Everything was clear and understandable and within minutes we were zipping the learner kites back and forth across the sky. I was amazed at how much power could come from the little kite. When I zipped it low across the horizon, I had to dig my feet in or get dragged across the snow and ice. Sometimes I got dragged anyway.

Unfortunately, Fawn had to leave early so Jade could have her lunch and a nap, which meant that she didn't get to try the bigger kites. The bigger kites have a lot of power and require the use of a harness. I had a little more difficulty using the larger kites, but it was still a lot of fun. And I mean a lot of fun. This time, no matter how hard I tried to dig my feet in, the kite would pull me forward fifteen or twenty feet at a time. It was incredible to feel how much power could come from a sheet of lightweight fabric and a light breeze. I was having a blast!

I went and got my skis and then waited for another large kite so I could try zipping back and forth across the lake. There are a lot of similarities between kite skiing and sailing and, if you know what you're doing, it's even possible to sail into the wind. In fact, it's even possible to sail up mountains! The crew from Kite Yukon use their kites as chair lifts when they go into the mountains, kite skiing up and then skiing back down.

I tried to take pictures while I waited for a kite, but my camera batteries died in the cold. After warming them up, I managed to get a few shots before they died again.

Schwatka Lake was full of colourful kites, from little training kites to massive foils.

Zooming along on skis...

My favourite picture of the day - Practising on a big kite with Grey Mountain in the background.

I finally got a big kite and got to feel what it's like to zip across the lake powered by nothing but the wind. It was awesome. While I didn't quite master using the larger kite with the skis, I did enough of it to know that I want to do it again.

I hear that they'll be doing demonstrations and lessons again on January 5th. Woohoo!

Some pictures from Kajaani

2X world Champion [Open Class] Juha Mannermaa did his first session on Oulujarvi [Lake Oulu]. The lake is HUGE! With a surface area of 930 square kilometers and a location at 64 degrees north ICE is not the problem-but daylight? That can be troublesome at this time of year. Cheers to Juha for getting his daughter Lotta involved.

View Larger Map

William Tuthill

See more...

Not exactly kiting...

... but definitely skiing!