Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lac Saint-Jean

by William Tuthill

19 April on Lac Staint-Jean near Chicoutimi, Quebec - near the site of WISSA 2010. This area has a very different climate from other parts of Quebec such as Montreal and Quebec City. Winters are long, and spring offers lots of sailing in warmer temperatures and steady winds.

This is Kite designer and builder Benoit Tremblay. Notice that the ice goes on and on all the way out over the horizon.

The little ones often go along for the ride. One day they will be kiters too.

Lake Minnewanka in Banff, Alberta

by William Tuthill

This is 18 April on Lake Minnewanka in Banff, Alberta.

24 inches [60 cm] of ice so hard that it is buckled like an alligator's back. There is so much cold stored in this slab that even above freezing temperatures have barely etched the surface. The lake is drained and that causes banked edges. In one place where the ice was trapped between warm air and a concrete ramp, the ice had candled into vertical honeycomb structures. I tried to pick up a handful and carry it to the car a short distance away, but the cold was so intense that it stung my skin. At present, more cold is on its way with some snow mixed in to keep the sun's rays from doing any damage. :-)))
WISSA 2001 organizer Barney Kenney moved to Alberta from Saskatchewan a few years ago, and has sent photos taken in May before. It is one thing to see pictures, and something very different to go there in person. I recommend it to ANYONE!
As we descended the mountains heading towards Calgary, we saw places where open water had re frozen. There will be ice on this, and other high mountain lakes for several more weeks! World class skiing is available throughout May.

This is Barney's new foot steering sled. It carves just like a short board in water.

The custom made skis are capable of sailing in deep snow. The front skis turn and the back ski tracks.

On the one day that we had available to sail, there was almost no wind. The Concept Air Freestyle 5.5 meter was flying, but only if it could be whipped around. The windsurfing rig only got moving a few times. After we left, the wind came up and blew hard for several days. Typical.

This is a VERY fast surface!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009